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The Magazine for Alumni and Friends of


We Live at the Castle The Kasteel Well study-abroad program in the Netherlands has been expanding students’ horizons for 25 years

Acting Out Student actors performed in an array of Emerson Stage productions, including Man of La Mancha (background), this past year.

Background photo by Aja Neahring ’14

S u m m e r 2 0 11

The Magazine for Alumni and Friends of


6 14 22 24 Departments



A Storied Past


Community News

The Emerson-based award-winning literary journal Ploughshares marks 40 years


Talk A Q&A with the new president of Emerson College, Lee Pelton


Commencement 2011 New graduates, honorary degrees, and much pomp and circumstance



We Live at the Castle



The Kasteel Well study-abroad program in the Netherlands marks its 25th year


This and That


Healing Brains


Alumni News


Class Notes

Linden Wolbert ’03 is a professional mermaid—Believe it or not!

Communication Sciences and Disorder Department Chair Daniel Kempler weighs in on Congresswoman Giffords’s recovery and other communication disorders news

Executive Editor Andy Tiedemann Editor Rhea Becker Bringing Innovation to Communication and the Arts

Office of Communications and Marketing 617-824-8540 Fax: 617-824-8916

Copyright © 2011 Emerson College 120 Boylston Street Boston, MA 02116-4624

Office of Alumni Relations 617-824-8535 Fax: 617-824-7807

Cover photo by Gerlo Beernink


Design Director Charles Dunham Copy Editor Nancy Howell Production Coordinator Liliana Ballesteros Editorial Assistant Allison Teixeira

Expression is published three times a year for alumni and friends of Emerson College by the Office of Communications and Marketing (Andy Tiedemann, vice president) in conjunction with the Office of Institutional Advancement and the Office of Alumni Relations (Barbara Rutberg ’68, associate vice president; director).

community news Many green initiatives implemented at Emerson Emerson’s Colonial residence hall has achieved a much-sought-after designation: LEED Gold certification. The LEED rating system is an internationally recognized green building certification system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED offers four certification levels for new construction and major renovation projects—Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum—that correspond to the number of credits accrued in five green design categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality. Piano Row, one of the first College buildings to become recognized by LEED, has a Certified rating. The LEED Gold Certification recognizes the environmentally conscious practices that were used during the construction phase of the Colonial building and that continue to be used to sustain it. For example, material used to renovate the building came from within 150 miles of Emerson, which cut down on travel and emissions. Many of the materials used for the interior space are made from recycled products. Some of the ongoing environmentally friendly practices in the building include a rainwater recovery system that uses water collected on the roof to flush toilets and also takes runoff water out of the city system; a recycling room on every floor; a steam heating system; and green products and processes used to clean the building. “This certification means that we’re concerned about the environment and that we’ve taken steps to practice strong sustainable and environmental processes,” said Neal Lespasio, Emerson’s director of facilities management. “We committed to creating a LEED-certified building and that’s what we did.” In other green news, Emerson has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as the 2010–2011 Individual Conference Champion for using more

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green power than any other school in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference. Emerson beat its conference rivals by purchasing 12 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power, representing almost 100 percent of the school’s annual electricity usage. Emerson purchases renewable energy certificates from Community Energy, which helps to reduce the environmental impact associated with the campus’s electricity use. Finally, the dining hall at Emerson has also instituted several environmentally sound practices: serving cage-free raw whole and liquid eggs, and implementing trayless dining. Across the country, concern about eggs from traditional commercial farms in which hens are kept in “batteries” has been rising over the past year. Farms that keep egg-producing hens in coops—and not stacked upon one another—are considered to be more humane, sustainable, and may help reduce the risk of salmonella exposure. With the involvement of the Student Government Association, Emerson’s Dining Services began offering cage-free eggs to students who requested them in the fall term. This enabled the College the time it needed to review the impact that switching to cagefree raw whole eggs would have on Emerson’s existing operational and contractual obligations. Based on the review’s findings, Dining Services determined that the switch could be made. Cage-free liquid eggs soon followed. Certain pre-packaged and processed foods served in the Dining Hall, such as hard-boiled eggs, may not be cage-free, but Emerson’s Business Services Department continues to identify vendors that can reliably supply cage-free egg-based products. The dining hall went “trayless” during Earth Week (April), joining the growing number of college campuses that have introduced trayless dining halls, said Marc Hamilton, associate vice president for property management, who chairs the President’s

A trayless dining hall was implemented on campus in the spring. Going trayless saves food, water, and electricity, according to an Aramark study.

Committee on Sustainability. “The goal is to conserve energy, food, and water,” he said. A national study conducted by Aramark, the College’s food service provider, found that 79 percent of the 92,000 students surveyed supported trayless dining as a way to reduce campus waste. Colleges and universities that have gone trayless include Boston University, Tufts, Princeton, Brown, Williams, New York University, Georgetown, and Skidmore. Students waste less food—about 30 percent less—when they go trayless, according to the Aramark study. Washing trays requires one-third to one-half gallon of water per tray, as well as electricity. “Going trayless is one more way the Emerson community can support the College’s initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint,” said Hamilton. The President’s Committee on Sustainability joined with student group Earth Emerson to support and implement trayless dining.

Young filmmaker dies in accidental fall

Justin Amorratanasuchad, a junior studying film production, accidentally stepped off the roof of a multi-story building in Boston while filming a school project and fell to his death. The 21-year-old died April 17. A memorial service was held on campus in April at which hundreds of friends, family members, faculty, and administrators fondly remembered Amorratanasuchad. Donations may be made to “Alliance for Education” and sent to Matt Lawrence, Video Production Program, Ballard High School, 1418 NW 65th St., Seattle, WA 98117.

Forensics team sweeps N.E. regional championship The Emerson Forensics Team took first place by more than 100 points at the New England Regional Championship, which took place this past academic year. Not only did Emerson sweep the competition, but the College also hosted the annual event, which drew competitors from Suffolk University, St. Anselm

College, Ithaca College, Bridgewater State College, Plymouth State, the University of Maine, and Lafayette College. “I’m very, very proud of our students,” said Heather Erickson, director of Forensics and lecturer in the Department of Communication Studies. “They did an amazing job. Their hard work and talent really came through.”

Angela Davis speaks on activism and justice

Activist, author, and former Black Panther Angela Davis challenged students to find causes they are passionate about and to become “disturbers of the peace” during her keynote speech for Emerson College’s African American History Month celebration at the Semel Theater in February. Davis retired as a professor at University of California, Santa Cruz in 2008. Her books include Are Prisons Obsolete? and Abolition Democracy.

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Basketball stars Olivia DiNucci ’13 (left), Tom Messinger ’11, and Kathy Andrade ’11 were selected to the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) 2010–2011 first-team All-Conference team.

Scholarship fund, theater named in Liebergott’s honor The Paramount Center’s Black Box Theatre was renamed the Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre during a gala dinner in Boston in March. Liebergott stepped down from the Emerson presidency on June 30, 2011. Philanthropist and Board of Trustees Chair Emeritus Ted Cutler ’51 unveiled a plaque listing the names of colleagues, friends, and business associates who have contributed more than $1.5 million to date in support of the newly established Jacqueline Liebergott Scholarship Fund and other academic initiatives. “The Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre in the Paramount Center is a wonderful and much-deserved tribute,” said Cutler. “Jackie has been such an enthusiastic supporter of the arts, and her unwavering guidance and fortitude over the last 18 years has further established the College as a leader in communication and the arts. She has been the heart and soul of Emerson College.”

Steve Samuels (left), Kevin Bright ’76, Jacqueline Liebergott, Vin Di Bona ’66, Max Mutchnick ’87, and Ted Cutler ’51 at a gala dinner celebrating the newly named Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre and the creation of a scholarship in Liebergott’s name.

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Lions basketball players receive GNAC honors The Boston gala recognized the legacy that Liebergott leaves Emerson College and the City of Boston. During her nearly two decades at the helm, Liebergott led the initiative to move the campus from the residential area of the Back Bay to the Theatre District— a move that transformed the College and re-energized a historic neighborhood. Among those who attended to wish her well: co-creator of TV’s Friends, ExecutiveArtist-in-Residence and Trustee Kevin Bright ’76; creator and executive producer of Will & Grace and Trustee Max Mutchnick ’87; thenBoard of Trustees Chair Peter Meade ’70; public relations entrepreneur and Board Vice Chair Larry Rasky ’78; documentarian and Trustee Gary Grossman ’70; Trustee Linda Schwartz ’67; Alumni Board Member Sandi Goldfarb ’78; director of Ford’s Theatre Paul Tetreault ’84; and Trustees Judy Huret ’69, Steven Samuels, Al Jaffe ’67, Eric Alexander ’78, Doug Holloway ’76, and Marillyn Zacharis.

Former Emerson College Vice President for Administration and Finance Rob Silverman, who was a key advisor in the design and construction of the Paramount Center, unveiled a portrait of Liebergott, commissioned by the College to celebrate her legacy. The oil painting, created by Warren and Lucia Prosperi, will be displayed in the Iwasaki Library.

Emerson College women’s basketball forwards Kathy Andrade ’11 (Hull, MA) and Olivia DiNucci ’13 (Pittsburgh, PA) were selected to the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) 2010–2011 first-team All-Conference team. On the men’s side, guard Tom Messinger ’11 (Florence, MA) was a third-team selection by a vote of the Conference coaches. Each woman received her second consecutive All-GNAC honor, as Andrade was a third-team selection last season, and DiNucci was a second-team pick as well as the GNAC Women’s Basketball Rookie of the Year. Andrade, who finished her career as the second leading point scorer (1,182) and rebounder (761) in the NCAA history of the Emerson program, averaged 12.8 points and 9 rebounds per game. In Conference games, she averaged a double-double at 15.1 points and 11.4 rebounds. DiNucci was the leading three-point shooter in the GNAC. She made 79 threepoint shots during the regular season, which was 15 more than her nearest competitor. She averaged 15.9 points and 5.8 rebounds in GNAC play, hitting 46 percent of her longrange attempts. A four-year starter and 2010–2011 sole team captain, Messinger finished his career with the GNAC record for career three-point field goal percentage. One of the purest shooters in GNAC history, Messinger hit 43.9 percent of his shots from behind the arc, edging out former Emerson two-time All-American Rob Hennigan ’04, who hit 43.2 percent of his attempts. Messinger also finished second to Hennigan in both Emerson and GNAC history with 255 three-point shots made. Messinger scored 902 points in his Emerson career despite playing in only 12 games his freshman year due to injury. Through his four years, 252 of his 296 made field goals (86 percent) were from threepoint range.

Greenhawt elected chair of Board of Trustees; Walker elected Trustee Jeffrey Greenhawt ’68 has been elected chair of Emerson College’s Board of Trustees. He succeeds Peter Meade ’70, who recently became director of the Boston Redevelopment Authority and is stepping down to avoid any potential conflict of interest. Meade had been chair since May 2007. Greenhawt was first appointed to the Emerson Board of Trustees in December 1995. Before that, he had served as chair of Emerson College’s Board of Overseers. He is vice president and a managing partner of Sunshine Wireless Company. Sunshine owns and operates media companies, which has included radio stations, radio networks, broadcast transmission towers, and Studio Center, which operates audio-video production facilities across the country. A resident of Boca Raton, Florida, Greenhawt is married to Jan Jacobs Greenhawt ’69, who is a former chair of the Emerson Board of Overseers, and an active member of the College’s Alumni Association. In other news, Ronald L. Walker II, president and founding partner of Next Street, has been elected a Trustee. Walker has more than 17 years of experience in a wide variety of settings, including commercial and retail banking, as well as business development and stakeholder management in Boston and nationally. He is very active in community service, engaging in a range of civic and professional organizations. He serves as chair of the board of the Roxbury Comprehensive Health Center and as vice chair of the Crispus Attucks Children’s Center in Roxbury.

Jeffrey Greenhawt

Actor F. Murray Abraham named 2011 Waldman Chair Academy Award-winning actor F. Murray Abraham served this spring as the Waldman Professor in Theater Arts. Among many other achievements, he is known for his role as Antonio Salieri in Amadeus (1984), for which he won an Academy Award for Best Actor. Abraham taught master classes and held forums on campus during the spring semester. He returned to Boston to play Shylock in the ArtsEmerson production of The Merchant of Venice. Established in 2005, The Waldman Professorship in Theater Arts in the Department of Performing Arts is funded by Honey Waldman ’46 and her sister, Gladys Waldman Brownstein, in honor of their parents,


The Waldman Professorship in Theater Arts, established in 2005 by Honey Waldman ’46 and her sister, Gladys Waldman Brownstein, was omitted from a timeline of important achievements during President Liebergott’s term (Winter 2011 Expression).

Harry Waldman and Dora Winiker. The position is filled annually by “a distinguished and broadly recognized figure in theater arts.” Past Waldman Chairs include internationally acclaimed musical theater and opera composer Adam Guettel, director Peter Sellars, and actor Marian Seldes, recipient of a Tony Award for lifetime achievement. Ms. Waldman majored in English at Emerson, with a minor in speech and drama. After graduation, she performed on stage and in films. In 1958, Waldman personally oversaw the renovation of the former Broadway Theater in Nyack, New York, and renamed it the Tappan Zee Playhouse.

O’Brien named basketball coach Jim O’Brien has been named Emerson College’s men’s basketball coach. O’Brien, who was a three-year Boston College letterman during his own undergraduate years while playing for Bob Cousy and Chuck Daly, has previously held head coaching positions at St. Bonaventure University, Boston College, and Ohio State University. “We are extremely excited to have attracted someone with Jim’s talent and experience to Emerson,” said Director of Athletics Kristin Parnell. “He will help the basketball program build on its many past successes,” she said. During the past 12 seasons, the Emerson College men’s basketball team has won two Great Northeast Athletic Conference titles (1998 and 1999) and competed in the championship game on six other occasions.

The Lions have appeared in the championship three times in the past five years, most recently in 2010. Albertus Magnus College defeated Emerson in the 2010 game, and advanced in the NCAA tournament to the round of 32.

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talk Emerson President Lee Pelton Lee Pelton took office July 1 as the 12th president of Emerson College. He has spent the past 13 years as president of Willamette University in Oregon. Previously, he had been a dean at both Colgate University and Dartmouth College. He holds a PhD in English from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree in English and psychology from Wichita State University. His area of academic focus is 19th-century British prose and poetry. He has served as an Overseer of Harvard and is the parent of an Emerson undergraduate. We asked President Pelton to share his initial thoughts as he joins the Emerson community.

What attracted you to the presidency of Emerson College?

As I see it, Emerson’s mission is to educate the people who will solve problems and change the world through engaged leadership in communication and the arts. It is a mission informed by liberal learning, recognizing that the world is still in want of clear-headed citizens, tempered by historical perspective, disciplined by rational thinking and moral compass, who speak well and write plainly. I was impressed by Emerson’s fulfillment of this mission and the very special and distinguished place that it occupies in higher education. Jackie [Liebergott]’s inspired leadership equally impressed me, especially the way in which it has transformed Emerson and, most recently, substantively revitalized Boston arts and culture through the creation of a new campus. She has left a remarkable legacy and wonderful platform from which the College can move forward.

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Of your many past accomplishments, which gives you the most satisfaction?

It is important to acknowledge that whatever contributions I was able to make during my 13 years at Willamette reflect the considerable efforts and goodwill of a great many people—faculty, staff, students, trustees, alumni, and others—working toward a common purpose. Willamette has irrevocably claimed its standing as one of the nation’s leading liberal arts colleges. We were able to do this by making strategic investments in Willamette’s academic mission, especially in the faculty, enhancing their capacity to teach well, to support student learning, and develop scholarship that both advances human knowledge and strengthens classroom instruction. I am pleased that Willamette is a more diverse community in several dimensions— racial, ethnic, economic, and global. More

than one in four of its undergraduates comes from multicultural and international backgrounds, a two-fold increase over the course of a decade. There has been an increase in economic diversity and first-generation students. More than half of Willamette undergraduates study abroad. More than 40 percent of the College of Liberal Arts faculty teaching today were hired in the last six years, of which almost of a third are from underrepresented groups. What are the three most important lessons about being a university president that you learned while at Willamette?

I learned the value of listening to gain a sympathetic understanding of different perspectives. I learned to trust in the intellectual resources represented in our faculty, students, and staff, recognizing that doing so has always produced better outcomes than if I tried to solve a problem, address an issue, or develop a new idea in isolation. I learned that there is no substitute for investing in the core mission or activities of a college or university. If I may, I would like to add a fourth: I learned patience and humility. In your acceptance speech, you said: “Emerson is a student-centered place of learning, and rightly so, but the faculty represent the heart of this academic enterprise.” Could you elaborate on the importance of faculty?

Students and administrators are transient— we come and go—whereas the life of the faculty, taken as a whole, span several generations. Faculty shape what we teach and how we teach it. They create the academic and intellectual activities that give shape and life to our educational purposes. As such, among the many investments that we make in a college and university, it is

vitally important that we invest in faculty so that they might teach well, develop research that advances knowledge, engage in meaningful scholarship that fortifies student learning, and attend to the highimpact practices that contribute to students’ academic and intellectual engagement. In doing so, I believe that we will have the best chance of transforming a college or university in ways that strengthen the educational experience of our students. In that same speech, you said: “Emerson occupies a prominent position in the middle of the technocultural revolution taking place around us.” How do you see that techno-cultural revolution influencing how and what we teach the next generation of leaders?

What I propose is that Emerson become the thought leader in helping the nation, and indeed the world, to comprehend and put to good use the technological revolution that is transforming human society. I believe that we can do this not only in our curriculum, but with an abundance of public intellectual and academic activity that makes it impossible for any knowledgeable person to consider these issues without reference to Emerson College. How do you plan to spend your time during the first semester?

Learn as much as I possibly can about the hopes and aspirations of Emerson faculty, students, staff, and alumni. Most presidents fail not because they lack ability but because they misunderstand or misread critical aspects of their environment, they don’t use or understand the significant informal networks of communication available to

them, they fail to develop trust among important parts of the community. In other words, they fail to adapt successfully to their new environment. What are you currently reading?

Like many academics, I am almost always reading several books at once. I am reading with great pleasure back issues of Ploughshares. I am currently obsessed with anything written by Kazuo Ishiguro and am making my way through all of his novels. I also have what I call “comfort books” that I read again and again for pleasure and perspective, most recently Eliot’s Middlemarch and Dickens’s Our Mutual Friend, the latter, which I am afraid I have picked up and put down a half a dozen times during the last six months. Finally, I am re-reading the stories of Eudora Welty, the great but underappreciated American writer. Is there anything you would like to say directly to Emerson’s alumni and parents of current students, who represent the majority of our 30,000 readers?

I am eager to be your president. I can’t wait to get to work so that—building on Jackie’s enormous legacy—we might, together, begin to see reflected in Emerson College the endless possibilities of what it might truly be at its very best, the endless possibilities of excellence and greatness. This is work that I cannot do alone, but only with your help, wise counsel, and generosity of spirit and resources.

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A Storied Past Award-winning literary journal Ploughshares marks years



By Katherine Gibson

ore Pushcart Prizes and more short stories reprinted in the annual Best American Short Stories than any other literary journal in the country. An impressive roster of distinguished guest editors. An international reputation for publishing diverse, high-quality work from new and established voices. Not bad for a publication whose editor changes as often as its cover design. To be sure, the title of editor-in-chief at Ploughshares, the literary journal founded in 1971 and based at Emerson since 1989, has belonged to just three people: DeWitt Henry (an Emerson professor), Don Lee, and current editor-in-chief Ladette Randolph. However, since the journal’s early days, the staff has named a different guest editor for each of its tri-quarterly issues. This year’s guest editors include novelist Colm Tóibín (who visited Emerson in the springtime for a reading), bestselling novelist and short story writer Alice Hoffman, and DeWitt Henry, who will reflect on the journal’s history as he edits the Fall 2011 issue. As the journal marks its 40th anniversary, Hoffman and her husband have endowed the new Alice Hoffman Prize for Fiction, which will award $1,000 annually for a story published the previous year in Ploughshares.

Looking back In 1971, a Cambridge bar called the Plough & Stars was home to recurring conversations—and arguments—among a motley crew of regulars, which included graduate students from several Boston universities, alumni of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, experimental Black Mountain poets, and a few Irish expatriates who missed the literary pubs of their homeland. They met up at the Plough & Stars to argue about art, literature, and politics. In fact, says Randolph, “the one thing they agreed on was how much they couldn’t agree.” But instead of separating in a huff over their differences, the group took the unusual step of founding a literary journal. Peter O’Malley, co-owner of the Plough & Stars, and DeWitt Henry, a recent graduate of Harvard’s PhD program in English, took on the main editorial responsibilities. Although at first, the entire group reviewed (and, presumably, argued over) submissions to the journal. While editing by committee reflected the staff’s collaborative spirit, it didn’t last long. Soon, the position of editor became a rotating one. DeWitt Henry explains: “With each new issue, a different individual was given free reign to assemble a body of work by writers who explored a common theme or represented a particular school or style of writing. The result was a progressive literary journal that fostered a literary community that was inclusive rather than exclusive.” The spirit of inclusion, diversity, collaboration, and surprise has continued through the 40 years of the journal’s history. Each issue offers work by award-winning authors, alongside work from new and emerging voices. The spring and winter issues are always mixed—poetry and prose—and the fall issue is always prose only. While each incarnation of Ploughshares has a unique flavor, the staff works hard to uphold the journal’s high standards.

Although publishing itself is undergoing major changes, Randolph has high hopes for the future. The Ploughshares website, redesigned two years ago, now includes archived video footage of guest editors visiting the Emerson campus, as well as a blog offering thoughtful posts on the craft of writing, and links to the journal’s Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts. In addition to Randolph, the current Ploughshares staff includes managing editor Andrea Drygas, poetry editor (and Emerson Professor and poet) John Skoyles, and fiction editor (and Emerson Distinguished Writer-in-Residence and fiction writer) Margot Livesey. Randolph adds, “There have been so many assistant editors, volunteer readers, and student interns, and many others whose work has gone unheralded on the masthead, but who have nonetheless provided essential support.” Part of that support involves holding true to the journal’s principles, chief among them the idea that good writing should be given a voice and celebrated. “The founders [of Ploughshares] were steeped in the counterculture of that era and believed passionately that writing matters,” Randolph says. “We still believe writing matters, that literature is a vital record of human experience, that it’s a form of truth-telling about what it means to be alive in a particular place and time. These values are still at the core of our mission in providing a platform for as many diverse voices as possible.” Ploughshares recently added another feather to its cap when it was named the #2 literary magazine (just after The New Yorker) by Every Writer’s Resource. To learn more, browse past issues, or read the blog, visit E

Ploughshares Editorin-Chief Ladette Randolph (right) with Managing Editor Andrea Drygas in the publication’s office

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Commencement B r i n g s

N e w

B e g i n n i n g s

By Allison Teixeira


ore than 1,300 degrees were conferred at Emerson’s 131st Commencement exercises, held May 16 at the Citi Performing Arts Center’s Wang Theatre in Boston. Oscar-nominated screenwriter Richard LaGravenese delivered the 2011 undergraduate Commencement address during the morning ceremony, at which nearly 950 bachelor’s degrees were awarded. LaGravenese, a member of Emerson College’s Class of 1980, has written numerous acclaimed screenplays, including The Fisher King, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award in 1992, The Ref

Screenwriter Richard LaGravenese, (top) a member of Emerson’s Class of 1980, gave the undergraduate Commencement address; media and communications expert Clifford Christians (above) gave the graduate address.

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(written with Emerson classmate Denis Leary ’79), The Bridges of Madison County, The Mirror Has Two Faces, The Horse Whisperer, and Beloved. He has also written and directed several films, including Living Out Loud, Freedom Writers, and P.S. I Love You. He wrote the screenplay for the current hit movie Water for Elephants. During his speech, LaGravenese offered advice to the graduates. He stressed the importance of originality. “Don’t follow; set trends; lead us,” he said. “A culture needs creative people to tell our stories.” He also talked about taking risks. “You cannot succeed at anything you’re not willing to fail at,” he said. “It sounds like a greeting card, but it’s true!” The morning ceremony was filled with hearty ovations for outgoing president Jacqueline Liebergott.

Receiving honorary degrees at the ceremony were LaGravenese; faculty member and Trustee Kevin Bright ’76; journalist, playwright, and activist Janet Langhart Cohen; President Liebergott; and philanthropist and Trustee Marillyn Zacharis. During his valedictory address, Journalism graduate Alex Spanko spoke about the significance of the liberal arts foundation at Emerson and encouraged his classmates not to lose sight of the world outside their specialties. He relayed the advice one of his teachers gave him: “Learn a little bit about a lot of things.” At the afternoon ceremony, Clifford Christians, professor emeritus in the College of Media at the

University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign and the former director of the Institute of Communications Research and chair of the doctoral program in communications at the University, addressed the 370 master’s degree candidates. Christians spoke of “a moral order” and the importance of using communication tools and art forms to explain and exemplify our moral values. “Since our public life is not merely functional, but knit together by social values,” he said, “moral literacy ought to be privileged as the media’s mission. Communications in all its professional forms should stimulate the moral imagination.” Christians, along with broadcast news reporter Janet Yuen-Mei Wu, received honorary degrees at the afternoon ceremony. Wu is an award-

winning political and investigative reporter at WCVB-TV in Boston. Tamika LeRay, a graduate student in Communication Sciences and Disorders, delivered the student address. Emeritus status was conferred on Cynthia Bartlett, retiring associate professor of communication sciences and disorders, at the graduate ceremony. Receptions for students and their families were held after both ceremonies. E

President Jacqueline Liebergott (center), at the last Commencement over which she will preside, presents a diploma to a new graduate. Future journalist Alex Spanko (top) delivered the undergraduate student address; Communication Sciences and Disorders graduate student Tamika LeRay (above) gave the graduate student address.

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Above: New Board of Trustees Chair Jeffrey Greenhawt ’68 takes part in Commencement in his official capacity. Honorary degrees for 2011 were presented to (facing page, far left): Janet Langhart Cohen, activist and broadcaster; Kevin Bright ’76, television producer (Friends) and Emerson faculty member and Trustee; Marillyn Zacharis, philanthropist and College Trustee; and Janet Yuen-Mei Wu, broadcast news reporter. Left: President Liebergott shares a moment with Ted Cutler ’51, former chair of the Board of Trustees.

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We Live at the Castle

study-abroad program marks 25 years of expanding

By Rhea Becker

students’ All photos by Gerlo Beernink unless otherwise noted

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Darian Harvin

Kasteel Well


n Ha



storybook setting. A 14thcentury castle. A majestic home away from home. The College’s study-abroad program based in the Netherlands— Kasteel Well—is all of these things and much more. Described by various alumni as “magical,” “life changing,” “eye opening,” and “phenomenal,” the castle has proved to be an unmatched setting for academic and personal growth and exploration that has been making an extraordinary impact on Emerson students for the past 25 years. “It’s unique; not many colleges can say they own a castle,” said David Griffin ’85, MA ’93, director of international study and external programs for the College. From the very first time Emerson students cross the castle’s moat, they join a special group of castle alumni. To mark the 25th anniversary of the program, Expression contacted several former castle dwellers, and found that many still wax poetic when recalling their days in Europe: “It’s difficult to really get at the essence of what it’s like to be there,” said Tim Douglas ’96, who, even 15 years later, speaks in awe of his days at Kasteel Well. “The bond is fantastic.” Among the very first Emerson students to spend a semester at the castle, Patty Lund ’88, a professional pianist from Long Beach, California, recalled arriving at the castle “and giggling for an hour” from sheer joy. Lund and her cohort of castle dwellers—the 1986 class—maintain a Facebook page to keep in touch. The castle program has grown from 23 students in 1986 to today’s 85 students per semester, hosting more than 3,300 students since the mid-1980s.

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In their own words A sojourn at Kasteel Well is a growing experience for many students, and, as is true of all such experiences, life at the castle can be exciting, challenging, or both. For Douglas, who is Emerson’s assistant director of graduate admission, the castle experience “taught me how to plan, how to be realistic about things. I felt a constant challenge to take advantage of the opportunities in front of me. It was staggering when I looked at the list of possibilities. It was sometimes overwhelming.” In the end, he said his castle experience “became the most exponentially full experience that I had during college.” In Europe for the first time, Tori Weston ’98, MFA ’04, took full advantage of the continent’s cultural treasures. In Spain, for instance, Weston saw her “first Dali paintings, and we got to see Goya,

Top: Glass art in Barcelona (courtesy of Darian Harvin); Above: The Fall 1989 Kasteel Well class

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too. Wherever we visited, we made sure to see a museum. We wouldn’t have appreciated the art as much if we had just been in a classroom.” Weston, who works in Emerson’s Department of Professional Studies and Special Programs overseeing summer programs for high schoolers, said she “always tells students that if you’re going to take art history, take it at the castle. You get to see in real life the paintings you’re studying.” Valerie Molina ’11, a Marketing Communication major, said she learned to be self-sufficient and responsible: “It allowed me to mature, learning how to manage my finances and my time.” Being barely 20 years old and trying to navigate Europe was daunting for

How to buy a castle Weston. But having a director like Kasteel Well’s beloved Dulcia Meijers “is amazing. She cares so much and she’s so resourceful. Every group trip you went on you wanted to be near Dulcia. She knew everything. You can view her as a friend and as an authority figure.” Many castle alumni echo Weston’s enthusiasm. “Both Dulcia Meijers and Rob Dückers are two people I will never forget,” said Molina, “because they had such a zest for life and a passion for art that I had never witnessed before.” Lund, too, was going abroad for the first time, and recalled using a Europass to travel to a long list of countries, including Switzerland, Belgium, and Germany. She also remembered the noisy resident peacocks, and how her studies of expatriate literature were illuminated by “exploring the actual places we read about.”

So how did a mid-sized college of communication and the arts located in Boston, Massachusetts, come to own a medieval castle in the far-off Netherlands? Then-Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts John Barbetta recalled the origins of the program: “I did a lot of interdisciplinary work and always had an interest in more seamless education. The only opportunity lacking for our students was a program abroad—our own, Emerson-based program.” Barbetta made a proposal to college administrators, who found the idea appealing. In 1985, Barbetta was appointed to direct the semester-abroad program and his wife, Sheila Barbetta, became student life coordinator. The couple forged ahead and began managing the academic traveling program in Europe. continued on page 20

Kasteel Well: Buildings and Grounds

Kasteel Well is a 14th-century fortress located in the small village of Well, the Netherlands, a few hours southeast of Amsterdam. Kasteel Well is made up of three buildings: the Main Castle, the Voorburcht, and the Big Barn. It also has two courtyards and two moats.

The moats once provided protection for the castle and today provide a place for black swans to flock. Kasteel Well’s grounds include several well-maintained flower beds, shrubbery, fountains, tower

ruins, and trees. From time to time, Kasteel Well’s barn is made available for weddings and other special events. During World War II, the town of Well was completely shelled and destroyed, but the castle remained intact.

Executive Director Dulcia Meijers, at this year’s 25th anniversary Kasteel Well celebration, has worked with generations of castle dwellers over the years.

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The Blogs of Kasteel Well For castle dwellers, weekends mean travel One-time castle dweller Tim Douglas ’96 recalls that each week, right around Thursday, classmates would begin to ask each other, “So, where do you want to go this weekend?” Douglas was typical in that he visited a long list of cities, including Rome, Paris, Cherbourg, Munich, Brussels, Bruges, Luxembourg, Budapest, and Venice. “It was nonstop,” he recalled. Many castle dwellers these days keep blogs to document their experiences in Europe. In the following excerpts, several students who spent the Spring 2011 semester at Kasteel Well describe their strongest impressions.

I Love Paris in the Springtime Dominque Banas ’13, a Broadcast Journalism major, wrote about her very first visit to the City of Lights. Let’s just say that Paris has proved to be just as magnificent as any book/movie/show may have ever portrayed this fine city. The highlights of my weekend included: Crepes: These delectable desserts were present on practically every street corner in Paris. Straight off the pan and into your hand within minutes, I couldn’t help but indulge in these easy and cheap treats. The Eiffel Tower: I visited three times. I recommend spending an evening below the Tower. As you await the hour mark in which the Tower begins to sparkle, it’s magical. Versailles: The entire estate was absolutely breathtaking. One thing I would recommend to anyone

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visiting Versailles is to rent a bike and explore the gardens. Best 4.50 euros I ever spent! Flea Markets: If anyone knows anything about Paris street fashion, then you probably know that flea markets are pretty abundant in this fair city. There are websites and long lists of various types located all over Paris. I thought realistically and chose two specific ones that I was interested in. One was more on the antique side, and the other was located in the Montmartre area and is pretty well known for its array of clothes. So we milked our three-day Metro card for what it was worth and hit both of them. If you think you know what flea markets are, you need to go to Paris. The first antique one was huge. I couldn’t even fathom where they got all of the things they were selling. The Montmartre market was reminiscent of Downtown LA, but had a lot of cheap things.

French Cuisine: It wouldn’t be a visit to Paris if I didn’t try some traditional French cuisine. Although my budget didn’t really allow me to eat too fancy while in Paris, I did treat myself to one nice dinner. On our last night, we found a lovely and pretty well-priced restaurant right in the area of our hotel (St. Michel/Notre Dame). The special of the night was a three-course meal for only 13 euros (what a steal!). The meal started with a bowl of French onion soup, was followed by beef Bourguignon, and ended with chocolate mousse. It was the perfect dinner for a girl’s last night in Paris. An American in London Joel Ahumada ’13, a Broadcast Journalism major with a minor in Publishing, offers recommendations to those who want to see London. Visit Abbey Road: Whether or not you’re a hardcore Beatles fan, this famous crosswalk is worth the

visit. But be warned: Yes, there was a line of people waiting to get their picture and, no, there is no stoplight, so keep an eye out for annoyed drivers while you’re re-creating the iconic photograph. Use the Underground: London is a huge city. Trekking through it on foot, while it is an admirable feat, could take a lot out of a person. You would also be missing out on the Tube, London’s subway system, which is surprisingly efficient and user-friendly. Try the Local Cuisine: London’s famous fish and chips lives up to the hype. This dish was originally served to workers in the Industrial Revolution due to the growing availability of whitefish and ease of preparation. Deliciously battered fish (traditionally cod, but haddock can also be used) with thick cut potatoes, deep-fried and served with a lemon wedge....This was my go-to meal of choice for the week. See Theater in the West End: The West End is London’s Broadway. Shining with the bright light of amazingly talented theater stars, the West End has an exuberant personality. Theater facades are decorated elaborately with large letters and sparkles. Equipped with tickets to a classic, Les Misérables, my friends and I waited on pins and needles for the musical to start. Eager for one of the bestknown songs from the production, “On My Own,” I was blown away by the girl who played Eponine and conquered the song. Have Afternoon Tea at Harrods: The Georgian Court Ballroom was once cited by Princess Diana as her “favorite room in all of London.” It is the highbrow place to be for afternoon tea. Beautifully wallpapered and decorated with

ornate floral prints and moldings, the Georgian Court Ballroom gives off an elegant air. For the price of 26 pounds you get never-ending champagne, tea, and select finger foods. You start off with small triangular sandwiches. From white to wheat bread and salmon with herb butter to cheese and nutmeg, this classic cuisine is now a part of the upper crust....Everyone should visit London and see for themselves how easy it is to fall in love. A Dark Chapter in Poland Nancy Kwan ’13, a Political Communication major, wrote about a difficult experience during her semester abroad: touring the former concentration camps at Auschwitz. How do I even put this into words....First, I will warn you that this isn’t just a post about me visiting Poland. My friends and I caught a bus that brought us to the city of Os´wie¸cim (the Polish name for Auschwitz). The ride lasted about 1.5 hours. The city of Krakow may have looked stern and uninviting to me, but it was nothing compared to the outskirts. I felt like I had stepped back in time. There were endless stretches of barren, gray land everywhere dotted with run-down industriallooking buildings. As the surroundings became more and more bleak, we knew we were getting close to Auschwitz. Once there, we caught the last English guided tour and we watched an introductory film about the camps. Not even 20 minutes into the tour, my stomach began to turn. Our

guide walked us through the buildings (they called them “blocks”), where people were forced to live and where they were punished. We didn’t see only barracks—we saw torture chambers. Pictures of the prisoners lined the walls, and women and men alike didn’t last more than a couple of months. We’ve all seen pictures of the Holocaust. We’ve all heard about how the Nazis looted the prisoners of all their belongings, sending them to the German treasury. But it was so different to see these items in person. There they were—piles and piles of eyeglasses, brushes, clothes, and shoes—everywhere. There was a pile of luggage with people’s names printed on them, because they had thought they were going to get the luggage back and wanted to make sure the pieces were clearly labeled. The pots and pans, too, because they were convinced they were brought to the camp to start new lives. At Auschwitz II-Birkenau, the famous extermination camp, was a fiery inscription: “Forever let this place be a cry of despair and a warning to humanity, where the Nazis murdered about one and a half million men, women and children, mainly Jews from various countries of Europe. Auschwitz-Birkenau 1940–1945.” I was eager to say goodbye to Poland. I had wanted to go for the sole purpose of seeing Auschwitz, and I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity to do so. I think it was a good experience for me; it put things into perspective. It’s so easy to live life without paying attention to important lessons such as the Holocaust. And holocausts are still going on today, right at this very second. As you can tell, my mind’s reeling now with all of these thoughts and emotions.

Photos from the latest Kasteel Well-ers taken in (from top) Amsterdam, Venice, Nice, and Paris. Opposite page: Horse in Bruges; Top: An edifice in Prague Photos courtesy of Darian Harvin and Caroline Fothergill

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Study, travel, friendship continued from page 17 Soon, the goal was to locate a permanent base for the program. Barbetta had heard about a castle in the Netherlands. He went to see Kasteel Well, and, although it needed repairs, he decided that it would be a wonderful place to house the program. The College signed a lease to rent the facility, and bought it a few years later, in 1988. Meijers, an expert on the architecture of Venetian palaces, who began teaching at the Castle in the mid-1980s, was soon drafted as executive director, a post she holds to this day. Meijers—who works alongside assistant directors Rob Dückers and Chester Lee; Til Lamberts, office manager and bookkeeper; and Huber


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When Barbetta launched the study abroad program, his vision was guided by a belief that “there were moats but no borders. Plans included three or four mandatory trips to places we wanted students to see, a shortened class schedule so that they could travel, and a blending of trips with the academics.” These concepts are largely still in place at Kasteel Well. Students attend class a maximum of four days per week (Monday–Thursday), leaving three days for travel. As an integral part of their education, students travel throughout Europe on their own and also participate in two mandatory educational excursions with faculty and staff.






The spirit of Sophie de Liedel, a teenage girl who died many years ago of tuberculosis, is said to still roam the castle.

At the end of each semester, the group gathers for a ceremonial hanging of a group photo that is mounted in chronological order in the Voorburcht Lounge among group photos from every previous semester.

The students plant a tree on the grounds each semester.

The Vink, a local watering hole, was for many years the students’ favorite local hangout. These days, the student hangout is Under Der Linden, and every Wednesday night is American Night.

Villagers from Well (pop. 3,000) are invited to the castle for concerts and art shows several times per year.

Caroline Fothergill

Facts about Kasteel Well

Simons, facility manager—has been credited with applying for and receiving a number of government grants to support the ongoing renovation and restoration of the property. Over the years, Emerson has completed a host of repairs and renovations to the castle, including road and other infrastructure construction; adding a classroom, pantry, and living room; roofing and window repairs; as well as the painting of dormers and work on a bridge, a woodshed, bathrooms, and stairwells. The latest major renovation added new dormitory rooms, bringing the student capacity to 85 students per semester.

Students, predominantly sophomores, are chosen for the castle program through a lottery. General education/liberal arts classes are offered there. Friendships that last a lifetime are a common outcome. Molina recalled the close relationships she forged: “I lived in the main castle with my freshman-year roommate and another girl. They are now two of my closest friends at Emerson. Having breakfast, lunch, and dinner with the same group of students for three months also pushes you to make friends with many other castle dwellers. This helped me make connections.” Griffin, who has worked with the program for many years, agreed: “You can almost guarantee that the 85 strangers we send there are close friends by the time it’s

over, and they are friendships that are maintained through the rest of their years in college and beyond.” Generation to generation, castle alumni are like family. “We would leave our books behind for the next group,” said Weston, “and we would leave notes or suggestions on travel and other things. There’s a joint Emerson experience here.” What’s it like to go home? When each semester closes, staff members ceremoniously hang a group photo of the students in one of the common rooms at the castle. Saying goodbye “was a lot of tears,” Weston recalled. E

Kasteel Well by the Numbers

85 each students are in residence fall and spring, and 16 during the summer Approximately

60 percent are sophomores

3,340 students have been part of the program since its inception 12 to15 countries while in residence

Most students visit


15 full- and part-time staff operate the facility

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By Carole McFall

Art (above) adapted from Daniel Kempler’s book, Neurocognitive Disorders in Aging

22 Expression 22Summer EMERSON 2011 Magazine Summer 2007


or months, Americans have followed the recovery of U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) from a gunshot wound on January 8, 2011. In addition, the media has been examining the challenges faced by soldiers who return to the States with traumatic brain injuries. We recently spoke about these topics with Emerson College’s resident expert on communication disorders and speech pathology, Daniel Kempler, department chair

Aja Neahring ’14

ry on ve ati co nic re mu s’s rd com ffo er Gi d oth ws an rder ne diso

Communication Sciences and Dis orders Dep Da artmen t Ch we niel air Ke ig mp hs ler in on Co ng re ss wo m an

and professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders. Kempler is a specialist in acquired neurologically based communicative disorders in adults. He has written extensively on the topics of dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and aging, and has presented his research at dozens of national and international conferences.

Q: With brain injury, what are some of the key factors that determine a patient’s recovery? A: Severity of the impairment and size and location of the brain injury play a role in how quickly and fully a patient recovers. For instance, a person may have a small stroke in one area of the brain and have momentary speech, balance, or movement difficulty, but recover quickly and completely. On the other hand, even a relatively small brain injury in an area near the base of the brain can have a severe lasting impact, as structures in this area regulate some essential functions. Other determining factors in recovery are age—younger people tend to recover more quickly and more fully. Other existing health conditions such as overall conditioning, diabetes, or respiratory difficulties can complicate and slow recovery. There are also many things we still don’t understand about the brain, brain injuries, and recovery. Brain organization and resilience differ from patient to patient, making it difficult to predict precise patterns and degrees of recovery. Q: What kinds of rehabilitation treatments are typical for brain injury patients? A: Rehabilitation following brain injury most typically involves speechlanguage, physical, and occupational therapies. Rehabilitation approaches can be very broadly categorized into those that work to restore lost functions and those that help the client develop ways to compensate for lost functions. To restore impaired or lost abilities, patients often engage in repetitive drills. For example, those with impaired speech articulation may be asked to repeat and read lists of words; those with impaired ability to retrieve object names may spend time naming objects in pictures, completing sentences, using gestures to cue themselves when having trouble retrieving a word, and drawing networks of related words to strengthen meaning associations between concepts and words.

With communication impairments, when clients have trouble using verbal expression, they often spontaneously use gesture or writing in order to communicate, despite the fact that gesturing and writing tend to be slower and less effective than speaking. Such spontaneous compensations can set up long-term habits that may interfere with relearning or restoring lost functions (in this case, speaking). Work done at Emerson and at other aphasia centers has demonstrated initial success with an approach that constrains [compensatory actions]. Q: What treatments for brain injury patients are new in the last 10 years—in surgery or rehabilitation? A: Great progress in neuroimaging allows us to obtain clear images of the brain. These tools allow us to see brain structure and structural damage as well as brain function in both damaged and preserved brain regions. Although I am not a physician, I have been impressed with how these technologies can be helpful in everything from diagnosis of brain injury to guidance in delicate neurosurgical procedures. There have also been advances in medication, including clot-busting drugs, which if given quickly after a stroke, can reduce brain injury. In terms of rehabilitation therapy, I have been struck by how augmentative communication devices have recently evolved. It used to be that severely impaired and nonverbal patients had relatively few alternatives, and most were expensive, inflexible, or both. Now, alternative communication devices are easily tailored for individuals, can be very effective for communication, and are as accessible as an iPod or iPhone app. Q: Based on what has been reported on Congresswoman Giffords, how has her recovery been different or similar to others who have suffered similar brain injuries? A: Much of what has been reported in terms of the difficulty of predicting outcomes as well as the positive early indicators is consonant

with the research and my own clinical experiences. I have heard much about her apparent early and rapid steps toward recovery. This is generally a very positive sign. Often the greatest gains are made in the first 6 to 12 months following an injury. But when I talk to clients, family members, or students about this rule of thumb, I also always mention exceptions to the rule. Q: Brain injuries and rehabilitation therapies are in the news a lot lately—e.g., reports of soldiers returning from war with brain injuries and young people with sports-related head injuries. Is there an increased need for professionals in the field? A: Communication disorders and speech pathology services in particular are historically understaffed. Our recent alumni surveys show that all have jobs within three months of looking. Given the number of children diagnosed with developmental disorders such as autism and the growing need for rehabilitation in medical contexts, I anticipate even greater demands for our services in the future. Every war seems to increase the demand for professionals in certain medical and rehabilitation fields. The conflicts we’re engaged in now are no different; they have amplified the need for care in a variety of fields, including brain injury. Q: The film The King’s Speech has spurred a focus on stuttering. What causes stuttering? A: We don’t know. Some individuals may have an underlying biological susceptibility, although this factor clearly interacts with the speakers’ own experiences, including their emotional responses to their own stuttering and listeners’ reactions to them. I hope the movie helps to introduce the public to some of these issues. They are complex and endlessly fascinating. E

23 EMERSON 23 Expression Magazine Summer Summer 2011 2007

people Meet Linden Wolbert ’03, professional mermaid

Lots of little girls

Ric Frazier

dream of becoming a mermaid; few ever fulfill that fantasy. One woman, though, has not only made her mermaid dreams come true, but she even earns a living doing it.

Background image by Ric Frazier

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“I have never been happier, more fulfilled, or more challenged before,” says Linden Wolbert ’03. “It’s the most interesting, unpredictable career.” Her job as a mermaid is part underwater filmmaker, part model, and part educator. The sole proprietor of Mermaids in Motion, based in Los Angeles, California, Wolbert has her own custom-made tail and can hold her breath for nearly 5 minutes. She has traveled the world teaching children about swimming safety and ocean preservation, performed as a mermaid in music videos and at lavish Hollywood parties, filmed underwater documentaries, and served as a filming and performance consultant on underwater shoots. She has been profiled on ABC’s 20/20 and NBC’s Today Show, and has been featured on AOL for her unique occupation. Her career is the fulfillment of her childhood dreams, she says, and what she was truly meant to do. “I was always enchanted by the sea.” Although raised in land-locked, Pennsylvania Amish country, Wolbert began swimming at an early age. Her parents had both been competitive swimmers, so she was swimming before she could walk. Her fascination with the sea was ignited as a child when she watched television specials on famed ocean explorer/filmmaker Jacques Cousteau. “I would watch them over and over again,” she says, “and wish I could be in the water with them.” Her interest in these nature specials eventually led her to pursue a career in wildlife documentaries at Emerson, where she concentrated in film and minored in science. Under the tutelage of her mentor, the late Emerson faculty member Alan Lee Hankin, Wolbert learned about using film as a tool to convey messages about the

environment. “I really have Alan to thank for planting the seed in me about creating an idea through media,” she notes. Wolbert even made her first underwater film at Emerson. She used a Bolex 16mm camera sealed inside a fish tank at a pool she’d rented at a Boston gym to capture footage of a friend in the water. After spending her last college semester participating in Emerson’s Los Angeles Program, Wolbert worked for the program full time for a few years, and began to scuba dive in her spare time. She received certification through the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) as an open water scuba diver and started diving and filming underwater. Before long, she had become immersed in the world of scuba and freediving, a sport in which people hold their breath for as long as they can and dive as deep as they can in the ocean without any scuba gear. “It was great, and I discovered that all I dreamed about was being underwater and traveling,” says Wolbert. She soon left her nine-to-five job to concentrate on the world of diving full time, judging professional freediving competitions and working for PADI as an underwater model. Wolbert conceived the mermaid idea when she first used a monofin, a type of swim fin that resembles a dolphin tail with two footpockets affixed side by side on one blade. With the help of a friend who is a special effects artist, she worked for months to create her silicone mermaid tail (see sidebar). Mermaids in Motion was born. Today, Wolbert’s career entails glamorous photo/video shoots, and events and training sessions with celebrities such as Justin Timberlake, Alanis Morrissette, and Howie Day, but she most enjoys her work with children. “When you have the ability

to have a child’s attention you can send so many positive messages to them,” she says. The messages she conveys are about swimming safety and ocean conservation. “It’s about allowing children to experience the ocean for themselves, not in a captive environment. When [sea creatures] are in their own environment, they’re beautiful, and you can’t help but become passionate about conserving the ocean for those creatures.” One program she recently participated in helps children in the Bahamas learn to swim. The Bahamas has the fourth-highest drowning rate per capita in the world; more than half its residents don’t know how to swim. Through the program, Wolbert has worked one-on-one with children, making them feel comfortable in the water. She also filmed, directed, and edited a public service announcement for anti-drowning awareness, one of the many ways she says she’s incorporated her Emerson-learned film skills in her career as a professional mermaid. What’s up next for Wolbert? She has a top-secret television project in the works. “There are times when I stop and think, how in the world did this happen?” she says. “And I’m just so excited that I’ve landed where I have.”

Mermaids in Motion/Linden Wolbert

The Tale of the Tail

Creating a realistic-looking mermaid tail that’s also functional is no easy task. It took Wolbert seven months, thousands of dollars, and a lot of help from a friend to complete her stunning hydrodynamic tail. “It was one of the most difficult and painstaking things I have ever done in my life,” Wolbert says. To construct the tail, she collaborated with Hollywood special effects artist Allan Holt. They started with a cast of Wolbert’s body from the mid-section down, and spent months sculpting, scraping, painting, and patching.

Wolbert and Holt created a fiberglass mold of the tail, then injected silicone around a 3-millimeter Neoprene base and a professional free-diving monofin. The completed tail weighs about 35 pounds and is made of a high-grade silicone with the monofin built into the fluke to help propel Wolbert through the water. It is neutrally buoyant, which means it will neither sink, nor rise, in water. “It’s a remarkable piece of equipment designed for speed, beauty, and agility,” says Wolbert, who, after investing so much time, energy, and money into her tail, now calls it “her baby.”

Jonathan Harvey

By Allison Teixeira

“For that seven months, it was virtually all I did,” says Wolbert. “I had no social life or time for anything else.”

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f a c u l t y

Lake wins grant to develop course on writing musicals Diane Lake, a screenwriter (Frida) and assistant professor in the Department of Visual and Media Arts (VMA), was selected as the inaugural recipient of the Professional Arts Consortium (ProArts) Classroom Connect prize, a program that offers a $3,000 award to a faculty member for developing the most innovative course. Her Writing the Film Musical course will be offered in the fall semester. The ProArts Consortium consists of six neighboring Boston institutions of higher education that are dedicated to the visual and performing arts.

Social media marketing class is focus of WSJ story David Gerzof Richard, MA ’01, an adjunct faculty member, teaches a social media marketing class at Emerson that was featured in the Wall Street Journal (March 9, 2011). The article focused on student class projects that result in social media campaigns for real-life clients. “Students get experience they can display on their résumés, and add lively classes to the usual mix of lectures and written exams,” wrote WSJ reporter Katherine Rosman.

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Painter’s short, short stories collected Writing, Literature and Publishing Professor Pamela Painter’s short, short story collection Wouldn’t You Like to Know has been deemed “brilliant” by fiction editor Randall Brown: “I recently finished reading Pamela Painter’s Wouldn’t You Like to Know and would agree with what Alice Hoffman calls this collection of very short stories: ‘…a brilliant chronicle of the human condition, moving, complex, wholly original, and huge fun to read.’” Painter’s first collection of stories, Getting to Know the Weather, won the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award and was reissued as a Carnegie Mellon Classic Contemporary in 2008.

Schwartz revives interest in African dance expert Ever heard of dancer Pearl Primus? Writing, Literature and Publishing Professor Murray Schwartz admits few people have, even though she is the person most responsible for bringing African dance to America. With When the Dance Claimed Me: A Biography of Pearl Primus, a new book by Schwartz and his wife, Peggy Schwartz, the authors hope to spur a revival of Primus’s work. “She was an important African American woman in both the history of dance and American culture,” said Schwartz, who knew Primus personally. “She was not only a dancer but she was an anthropologist— one of the first black women to get a PhD in anthropology.” Primus choreographed some of the most important protest dances of the 1940s. Among her most noted are “Strange Fruit” and “Hard Times Blues,” both of which were created to protest the lynching of blacks in the South.

Walker pens winning memoir Jerald Walker, associate professor in the Department of Writing, Literature and Publishing, received a L.L. Winship/PEN New England Award for his new book about his turbulent transition from youth to adulthood, Street Shadows: A Memoir of Race, Rebellion and Redemption. Named for Laurence L. Winship, a former Boston Globe editor, the award honors the work of an author living in New England. Walker received the award in the nonfiction category.

t h i s a n d t h a t

Tweets that are #SoEmerson

@bouncetigger: I’m toying with blowing some savings on the Emerson Alumni auction. Damn you, Emerson, why are your alums so successful? @themadyhatter Coming back to your dorm and finding a note from RA’s saying they dueled with your Harry Potter wand

@pat_lambert: Today I’m in class w henry winkler [‘67; pictured above] @MelissaMontoyaO I just got a 90 on a Mike Brown test. I feel like I can accomplish anything. @ctsushima Packing for Jacob’s Pillow. Should I bring my gold sequin jacket? I never know when I might need to sparkle. @gabydunn I interview a random drag queen for 100 Interviews. It turns out she also went to Emerson.

From an Improper Bostonian magazine interview with Maria Menounos ’00:

Jonathan Soroff: Is Emerson College completely taking over Hollywood? Maria Menounos: It has and it always will, forever.

In a TV ad for a good cause Emerson students and alumni were excited to discover that the College was included in a Google Chrome/It Gets Better television ad that has aired during an episode of Glee, American Idol, and other major primetime shows. Footage from Emerson’s Love is Louder March last fall, which was organized by students in support of equal rights for the LGBTQ community, is featured in the commercial.

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alumni news A letter from the president of the Alumni Association

Dear Fellow Emersonians, Congratulations to the Class of 2011! It is with great joy that I welcome you to the Emerson College alumni community. We all recall the journey we began on the heels of our own graduation. While we pushed forward in our post-Emerson lives, the connection has remained strong. And, over time, we discovered the extraordinary freedom each of us has to embrace the people and things we care most about—family, friends, and career. And, for many of us, Emerson College remains a special place that has made an extraordinary impact on our lives. Several years ago, the Alumni Board embarked on a strategic plan. We created a vision and a set of core values defining how we wanted to lead and support the College. Our vision centered on “an active, engaged and diverse membership that is connected to all Emerson Alumni, inspires and motivates involvement in the life of the College, and advances its mission.” As a result of this shared vision, your Alumni Board has experienced remarkable growth. We have created a core group of caring and committed Alumni Board members who are dedicated to raising the bar and expanding our impact on the College and, most importantly, strengthening our connection to you, our fellow alumni. Over the past decade, alumni have generously given personal and financial resources back to the College. The impact of this “give-back” has benefited more than just the bricks and mortar of our new Campus on the Common. Equally important, we have made a difference to the students who have completed their coursework and taken advantage of extracurricular opportunities and now follow us into a changing workforce. And, isn’t that what this is all about? Confirming that the core values of this College are intact; ensuring that this institution continues to move forward and leads the way in communications and the arts; and making sure that our students, returning and prospective—who intuitively possess Emerson pride, passion, and drive—have access to an education that allows them to fulfill their dreams. Eight years ago, the Alumni Board and our Alumni Association began a journey to support the future of the Emerson community. The Emerson College Alumni Association Scholarship Fund was created to support Emerson students in need. We began with an annual scholarship of $2,500 that followed one student throughout his or her Emerson career. For a freshman, that meant a possible overall commitment of $10,000 and for a graduate student a commitment of $5,000.

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Support for this scholarship fund was derived from Alumni Association affinity programs as well as proceeds from our Alumni Weekend Scholarship Auction, which is now in its sixth year and has delivered upwards of $230,000 to the fund. This year, the Alumni Board made a commitment to significantly grow our efforts and fund six scholarships commencing in the 2011–2012 academic year. The scholarships have been increased to $4,000 per year and continue to follow the student recipients throughout their full stay at Emerson, undergraduate or graduate. This program now holds a total commitment of $24,000 annually and a promise of $96,000 to six or more students over a four-year period. This is an extraordinary show of support and we should all take pride in its success. But we are not done. It is the Alumni Board’s goal to continue this effort through designated contributions from alumni and friends, through the College’s growth of the Alumni affinity programs and, of course, the continuation of the Alumni Weekend Scholarship Auction. June 2011 marks the completion of my four-year term as president of the Emerson College Alumni Association and chair of the Emerson College Alumni Board. As I depart, I cannot help but look back at the fine leadership that has preceded me. From past alumni board Presidents Gary Grossman ’70 to Sandi Goldfarb ’78 and Peter Loge ’87, this past decade has seen extraordinary achievements for our Alumni Board and the Alumni Association. In the midst of it all were two constants: the stalwart guidance of our esteemed College President, Jackie Liebergott, who has been an outstanding visionary and has allowed each of us the opportunity to support and embrace the College’s growing stature in Boston, as well as the national and international educational communities. Though she will be missed, she has left a legacy that will forever showcase her influence on our Emerson. And, of course, there is the leadership, care, and commitment of Barbara Rutberg, our director of alumni relations, and her wonderful staff, associate director Mary Ann Cicala and assistant director Stephanie Morrison. Thank you for your continued support of your Alumni Board. As always, please stay in touch with the Alumni Relations Office regarding your personal news and professional activities. I look forward to seeing you at an upcoming alumni event. With warm regards, Robert Friend ’79 President, Emerson College Alumni Association


Southern hospitality Sheryl Levy ’68 and Richard Levy ’68 hosted a brunch in South Florida for parents, alumni, and early action-accepted students at the Polo Club of Boca Raton during the spring semester. President Jacqueline Liebergott was recognized by Jeffrey Greenhawt ’68, then-vice chair of the Board of Trustees, for her legacy of leadership. Kevin Bright

Chet Tart ’74 (left), Nancy Tart, and Barry O’ Brien ’70 President Liebergott (left), Kevin Bright ’76, Sheryl Levy ’68, and Richard Levy ’68

’76, executive artist-inresidence at Emerson and Trustee, presented his work with the Perkins School for the Blind, where he is developing a method of teaching television production to the visually impaired.

Sandra Levitt ’59 (left), Rochelle Abrams ’59, Coleman Bender ’61, Gayle Carson ’59, and Meredith Shapiro ’58

Almost two dozen Florida-area alumni have been meeting as a group for more than 35 years, most recently at Epcot/Disney World. All of the men are members of the now defunct Rho Delta Omega. From left are: Ron ’64 and Polly Ritchell; Bob ’64 and Rosemary Gatti; John ’62 and Kathi Kozlowski; Steve ’64–’65 and Carol ’65 Kasden; Bob ’64 and Carol Davidson; and Bernie ’64 and Maureen O’Keefe.

Washington, D.C. A capitol gathering Alumni and parents gathered in April in the Presidential Suite at the JW Marriott on Pennsylvania Avenue to celebrate President Liebergott’s legacy of leadership. From left are Evelyn Woolston-May ’47, Debra Truhart ’76, Jennifer Cover Payne ’71, Bill White ’69, Michael Messinger ’70, and Howard Liberman ’68

Steve Rosenthal ’68 with his son, Brian Rosenthal ’09

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Matthew Small

New York

dio. Stephanie Morrison ’07, of Emerson’s Alumni Relations Office, said the New York Connection “really shows how expansive our Emerson network is and how willing alumni are to speak with students. Members of our community who are just five or ten years out were able to explain how they went from Emerson to their careers today.”

Owen Hope ’09

Career exploration About 100 students traveled to New York City during the spring semester for a day of career exploration via meetings with accomplished alumni. The annual program, the New York Connection, is marking its 18th year. Workplaces visited included a theater, publishing house, marketing firm, and TV stu-

Emersonians gather at the Circle in the Square Theatre, where a panel of professionals shared their work experiences. The panel included Sarah Hutton ’09, who is a production associate for the Ponturo Management Group and the producers of Lombardi (now playing at Circle in the Square).

Emerson students and alumni gather at the New York Connection closing reception held at MTV Networks.

Film on journalism draws a crowd The New York City Alumni Chapter attended a screening of The Media 2011: Journalism in Crisis, a documentary film by Neal Cortell ’62 at the National Arts Club. Georgette Pierre, MA ’09 (left), Stacey Williams ’10, Jacqueline Emerson ’06, and Andrea Gabbidon-Levene ’05 Neal Cortell ’62 gives a talk before an audience of Emersonians.

A Class of 1935 grad gets in touch When 98-year-old Catherine (Katie) George Pawluk ’35 (right) read the latest issue of this magazine, she spotted a story on the Emerson Class of 1936, whose remaining members marked their 75th reunion this year. Katie asked her daugh-

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ter, Helen Goodman, to write and let us know that Katie, too, is a proud 1930s alumna: “Although my mother is quite lively in many ways, she would not be physically able to attend any type of reception. However, her time at Emerson was one of the highlights of her life. She believes that her Emerson experience shaped

how her life unfolded.” Katie lives in North Andover, Massachusetts, and was the first in her family to attend college: “It came about because of her outgoing nature, ability to perform in high school plays, etc. Someone saw her and encouraged her to attend. She loved every minute of it. She’s still a ham!”

Owen Hope ’09

Linda Corradina ’81 (left), Margie Sullivan ’81, Barry Drogin ’81, and Jacki Barlia Florin ’81

Hosts Bobbi Brown ’79 and Maureen Case with President Liebergott

Georgette Pierre, MA ’09 (left), Lili Kaytmaz ’11, Sasha Grossman ’09, and Trinette Faint ’97, MA ’08

Theater panel features alumni Senior BFA Musical Theatre and Acting students traveled to New York City during the spring semester for a day that included lunch at the famous Sardi’s restaurant and career advice from Emerson alumni who are living and working in New York’s theater scene. The participating alumni included actors, producers, and directors, such as producers Bonnie Comley, MA ’94, Paul Kreppel ’69, Mary Fulham ’75, and Jason Grossman ’02 along with actors David Alan Basche ’90, Rob Morrison ’05, and Lisa Passero ’74, all of whom have made careers in professional theater and television since graduating from Emerson.

Ingrid Daval ’75 and President Liebergott

Bobbi Brown ’79 hosts a fete to honor Liebergott Bobbi Brown ’79, CEO, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics and Emerson College Trustee, and Maureen Case, president of Bobbi Brown Worldwide and an Emerson College Overseer, hosted a celebration of President Liebergott’s legacy of leadership in April at Bobbi Brown Cosmetics in New York City. A convivial gathering of parents and alumni acknowledged the President’s tenure and the remarkable institution Emerson is today.

A panel of producers included Jason Grossman ’02 (left), Paul Kreppel ’69, Bonnie Comley, MA ’94, and Doug Katsaros, producer and composer.

They imparted pearls of wisdom, shared witty anecdotes, and offered support to the performance seniors who will soon begin their journeys into the field.

A second panel included Mary Fulham ’75 (left), Betsy Aidem, David Alan Basche ’90, Rob Morrison ’05, and Lisa Passero ’74.

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Los Angeles Vin Di Bona ’66, President Liebergott, Henry Winkler ’67, Maria Menounos ’00, Barbara Rutberg ’68, and Joe Bwarie ’99, who performed several musical numbers, were in attendance.

Chrystee Pharris ’98 (left), Phillip D. Svitek ’10, Marc Boucher, Maria Menounos ’00, Daphne Valerius, MA ’06, and Kevin Undergaro

Party benefits Liebergott fund More than 150 alumni, parents, and Emerson friends attended a party hosted by Kevin Bright ’76 and his wife, Claudia, in their home in Brentwood to honor President Liebergott. Vin Di Bona ’66 co-hosted. More than $10,000 was raised for a scholarship in President Liebergott’s honor.

Kate Boutilier ’81, John Wentworth ’81, President Liebergott, John Ferraro ’80, and Kim Swann ’81

Marion and Robert Edwards, P ’10, with President Liebergott

Luciana Bienstock, Jay Bienstock ’87, Danny Swartz, and Cara Di Bona Swartz ’94

Among the attendees were Megan Roy ’09, Kevin Mastman ’10, Kevin McManus ’09, and Matt McManus ’09

Student filmmakers, joined by President Liebergott and Maria Menounos ’00 (center) and L.A. Center Director Jim Lane (back row, far left) are: (front row, from left): Jessica Schoen ’11, Kevin Mastman ’10, Rene Dongo ’11, Alexander Yan ’11; (back row, from left): Matthew Hashiguchi ’11, Alex Peacher, MFA ’13, Sean Hanley ’10, and Andrew Vella ’11.

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Linda Jenkins Gaines ’78 (left), Marvin Talty ’94, Nanci Issacs ’79, and Paul Morra ’95

Annual film fest From the pounding cadences of The Cadet Experience by Film Production major Kevin Mastman ’10 to the haunting silence of In Loving Memory by Media Art major Alex Peacher, MFA ’13, the roster of student-made films that were screened during Emerson’s 11th Annual Film Festival in

March gave a sneak peek at the work of up-andcoming filmmakers. The festival, which was held at the Egyptian Theatre in Los Angeles, also provided an exciting venue where students and alumni had an opportunity to network with invited guests from the film and entertainment industries.

Frank Monkiewicz


David Zizik, Karen Baker, P ’10, Aja Moore ’10, and John Keane ’11. The President’s Society is composed of donors who give $1,000 or more annually to the College (lower thresholds for Graduates of the Last Decade [GOLD] alumni and senior donors).

Frank Monkiewicz

Donors honored at Boston event Members of the President’s Society gathered at the RitzCarlton Boston Common in March to celebrate President Jacqueline Liebergott’s 40 years of service at Emerson College. Neil Davin ’72, MSSp ’79, was Master of Ceremonies; speakers included Robert Beal,

Past and current members of the Parents Leadership Council with President Liebergott

President Liebergott is joined by Tobie Stein ’79 and Robert Friend ’79.

Rod Parker ’51

From left are Tyler York ’09, winning playwright Kirin McCrory ’11, Rod Parker ’51, Johnmichael Rossi ’03, Joe Antoun ’91 (first winner of the Rod Parker award), Mary Ann Cicala ’99, MA ’09, and Alexis Clements ’01.

The play’s the thing In celebration of the 20th annual new play production of the Rod Parker Playwriting Fellowship winner, alumni gathered in the spring for a festive reception prior to a Newfest performance of CHOPS, written by senior Theatre Studies major Kirin McCrory. Special guests included Rod Parker ’51, who wrote for television’s Maude, among other hits, and past Rod Parker award recipients Joe Antoun ’91, Johnmichael Rossi ’03, and Alexis Clements ’01.

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a l u m n i

Film on 9/11 by alumnus screened at Tribeca Film Festival A film produced by Megan Sleeper ’03 that chronicles the journey of New Yorkers whose lives were touched by the events of September 11, 2001, screened at the Tribeca Film Festival in April. The feature-length documentary New York Says Thank You follows a group of New Yorkers as they travel the country helping others rebuild after disasters, an idea that evolved from a little boy’s wish. “We hope this film is inspirational,” said Sleeper. Exec takes Lipman Ad helm Michael Mendenhall ’84 was named president and chief operating officer of Lipman Advertising. Mendenhall was a 2010 recipient of the College’s Distinguished Alumni Award. Lipman’s client base is predominantly fashion and luxury advertising; Mendenhall plans to expand into other categories.

Producer Comley snags two Tony Awards War Horse, winner of the Tony Award for Best Play, was co-produced by Bonnie Comley, MA ’94. Her winning streak also included the Tony Award for Best Costume (Musical) for Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, which she co-produced. Among Comley’s productions on Broadway are The Merchant of Venice with Al Pacino, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Come Fly Away, Enron, Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps, and Legally Blonde.

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Emersonians take home drama awards Several members of the Emerson community won 2011 Elliot Norton Awards, presented annually for outstanding theatrical productions, performers, directors, and designers in the Boston area. • ArtsEmerson, along with Doug Elkins and Friends, was nominated for Outstanding Visiting Musical Production for Fräulein Maria. Doug Elkins won the award for Outstanding Choreography. • Stacey Fischer ’98 won the Outstanding Actress award (Small/Fringe Theater) for her performance in Hysteria, or Fragments of an Analysis of an Obsessional Neurosis, performed at the Nora Theatre Company. • John Kuntz ’90 won for Outstanding New Script for The Hotel Nepenthe, performed at Actors’ Shakespeare Project. • Spiro Veloudos ’74 and Courtney O’Connor, MA ’96 (associate director), were winners for Outstanding Director (Midsize Theater) for The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Parts I & II, performed at the Lyric Stage Company of Boston. Journalist McCarthy wins George Polk Award for Katrina reporting Brendan McCarthy ’04, a reporter with the New Orleans Times-Picayune, was one of 13 winners of the prestigious George Polk Awards in Journalism for coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Television personality Maria Menounos ’00 has published The Everygirl’s Guide to Life, in which she imparts her secrets on how to juggle life without dropping too many balls. She reveals everything from the best advice her parents ever gave her to what she calls “the most relaxing drink ever.” She visited the College in April to sign copies of her book at the school bookstore.

Filmmaker Higgins wins first place in the College Television Awards A film by Julian Higgins ’08 has won the First Place Drama Award at the 32nd Annual College Television Awards, a program of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation. Thief is a fictionalized story about Saddam Hussein, in which the former leader of Kuwait is wounded and then taken in by a family that nurses him back to health. The story takes place many years before the Gulf War began and depicts what would have happened had that family met Hussein again after the war. Higgins said his Emerson teachers encouraged him to think about the difference his films would make in the world and how he would tell a compelling human story. “It’s important to be engaged with the world,” said Higgins. “That’s what Emerson taught me.”

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Jeremy Alliger ’74 was a judge for the newly created Glovebox Short Film and Animation Festival. Jeremy is best known as the founder of Boston’s Dance Umbrella. He is now executive producer of Alliger Arts, which produces touring projects and festivals, including the awardwinning solo jazz musical Coming up for Air: An AutoJAZZography.

class notes 1951 Dorothy Rozzi Belknap of San Diego is retired and is a cellist with the North Coast Strings Orchestra. “Imagine my surprise when learning that my cello teacher, Steve Garrett, has a brother who is also an Emerson alum, living in Germany and working worldwide as a TV cameraman!” Franc Skirball of Tulsa, Oklahoma, was a senior analyst for American Airlines, and is now retired. Stuart Tower says his grandson, Erin Sidney (“Syd”) ’04, is touring with his new band Highways and Hotels. Sid is married to Dari Cohn ’05.

1955 Diane G. Purdy Theriault, an award-winning children’s playwright, was commissioned by children’s picture book author Susan Amundson to create a play based on Amundson’s book, A Child’s Happy Heart. Purdy’s creation, A Happy Heart Heals, is being marketed by Bjelkier Press to classrooms in Minnesota. Barbara Rich is a full-time special education advocate, part-time yoga teacher, life coach, and a volunteer for Communities for Restorative Justice.

1959 Elizabeth Kidney, age 73, performed in The Sound of Music after auditioning for the Vero Beach Theatre Guild in Vero Beach, Florida. She played the

parts of Sister Elizabeth (a nun), a baroness, and the bowing lady during the award ceremony at the end of the play.

1961 Linda (Greenbaum) Green writes, “Recently heard from Howie Schwartz ’60 and wife Harriette; still loveable and funny. Also Bernie Sweet ’60. Lost Lila Greenberg ’61. Hello to Goldie ’61 in NYC, Sandy O. ’61 in Arizona, and Gerri August ’61, who helped me so much that summer we were roomies, remember?”

Fred Nadelman is a social worker for the Ogeechee Home Health Agency, now part of the Gentiva Corporation, largely serving elderly clients in the South Georgia area. He is active in the community as a champion for clean air and water; as a spokesperson and newspaper letter-writer for the prevention of liquid natural gas trucks from moving through Savannah; and for Planned Parenthood. He performs in historic reenactments and recently performed (with an Emerson open throat) as an auctioneer.



Stephen Halpert of Grafton, Massachusetts, and his wife, writer Tasha Halpert, co-star in the outrageously entertaining TV show, Domestic Tranquility: The Lively Art of Matrimony, airing on Cable Channel 11 in Grafton (also on YouTube and Facebook). Since the late ’80s, Stephen has written and published a humor column, American Scene, in the Grafton News and online. Tasha is the author of a weekly inspirational column entitled Heartwings Love Notes. Their websites are and

Rosalyn Kramer Monat-Haller has been asked by Dr. Phil to participate in his network of therapists who offer treatment to his guests.

1965 Suzie Levenson Glantz of Waltham, Massachusetts, has been accepted into the Entrepreneurial Training Program at Northern Essex Community College. She is working on developing a business around her recent certification as a Laughter Yoga Leader.

Carol Levin Weiner remembers a great weekend she spent in Boston in 2005 with Paula Marmon ’66. The two ladies had a blast! Steve Rosenberg of Havertown, Pennsylvania, blogs for the Delaware County Daily Times under the name Steve Gary.

1967 Leslie Kahn retired to Sarasota, Florida, from New York City, where she worked as a speech pathologist for the New York City Board of Education. She’s now working with the Dreams are Free School, and is interested in starting a Florida Gulf Coast chapter. Write to sarasota555@ if you’re interested!

1969 Clint Brown of Sulphur, Louisiana, was a TV production Teacher at Lynn (MA) English High School and is now retired and hosting a local public affairs radio show.

Silas Ellman, son of Alan Ellman ’69 and Josie Frankel Ellman ’70, had a baby boy.

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Ruby Lynn Reyner has acted and directed at Café LaMama.

Marc Freden ’84, a longtime television producer who is based in Los Angeles, has published a book, Really!?! A Memoir and Other Observations From a Man Who’s Lived Life ‘Not Quite Famous Enough’ (Xlibris). Publishers Weekly wrote: “Freden’s energy, charisma, and honesty are admirable; readers will come away rooting for him to become ‘famous enough.’”

1970 Peter Meade has been tapped by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino to run the Boston Redevelopment Authority. Members of the Class of 1970 got together for a meal in New York City: CeCi Hart Jones, Susan Wallach, Shevlin, Susan White Beauchene, Mary Shortcroft Joy, James Ochinno, and Olive Boston Davidson.

1971 Steve Hausmann and his cohosts at The BEE Morning Coffee Club were recipients of the New York State Broadcasters Association Award for Outstanding On-Air Broadcast Personality or Team for 2010. This is the second time in three years that the team has won the award. Steve, a native of Boston, has lived in Rochester for 24 years and has worked for Entercom in Rochester for the last 10.

Dan Paul of Bethany, Connecticut, is happy to announce his official retirement—and equally happy to have finally made it!

1972 Rhoni Epstein invites Emersonians to check out Sagewater Spa in Desert Hot Springs, California, a seven-room, mid-century modern retreat featuring a warm mineral water pool, yoga classes, and massages. Neal Rubinstein of Hicksville, New York, is working on a production of Lysistrata for the Broadway stage. He is looking for someone to rewrite the script from the original musical by Hans Holzer. Must have experience writing for musical theater as well as a great sense of comic/farce composition. For more info, contact Neal at Shelley Tatelbaum has been a grief therapist for more than 23 years.




Bruce Starin traveled to Bahrain and Mexico City to install Hollywood Squares for CBS International.

Karen Carson of Trenton, New Jersey, wrote and produced Eating the Bear: Snapshots of the New Normal, a play that explores the effects of downsizing, and gives a voice to those coping with job loss. Karen also works as a broadcast coordinator at the New Jersey State Library.

Susan McNamara is administrative coordinator in the Department of Communicative Disorders at California State University at Long Beach.

1976 Jeff Arch is developing Sleepless in Seattle for production as a Broadway musical.  Suzan Johnson Cook has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate, and is the first woman and person of African American descent to be named ambassadorat-large for international religious freedom. In her new role, she will be a top advisor to President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton on the condition of religious freedom in other countries, and is charged with investigating and reporting on violations of religious liberty. Lauren Grossman (nee Jaroslow) has published a novel, Once in Every Generation. Visit her website, Ilene Hong Sharp spent 25 years working in marketing. Ilene’s daughter, Jacki Tutelman Bender, has married.

Irv Grabstein and Dana Bogatz celebrated their first anniversary in May. They live in Milford, Connecticut, where Irv is a photographer and Dana is a rabbi.

1979 Liz Temkin was training coordinator at Time Warner Cable, and is now eating her way through L.A.’s food truck phenomenon, one truck at a time, on her blog Corinne Arndt Girouard is a web producer in Dartmouth College’s Office of Public Affairs.

1981 Marilyn Schairer of Wrentham, Massachusetts, has enrolled in graduate journalism courses, is serving as adjunct faculty at Roger Williams University, and is a reporter at WPRI-TV.  Robert Toscano is a freelance EVS replay operator.

Kim Roberts ’84 has published Animal Magnetism, her fifth book (and third book of poems).

Darlyne Baugh ’85 has a debut novel, Black Girl @ the Gay Channel (Full Court Press).

1983 Sandra Larkin has launched a new career as a personal coach. Sandra previously operated Larkin Research Associates, a prospect research consulting firm. “As a coach, I help my clients develop a personally meaningful definition of success, and then create and execute a plan to achieve success on their own terms.”

1984 Emma Palzere-Rae is director of development for the Women’s Center of Southeastern Connecticut, a support agency for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. She is excited to work with Liz Mugavero ’02, who has joined the board.


John Hanc ’77 has a ninth book, Not Dead Yet (St. Martin’s), a memoir he cowrote with Type 1 diabetic and professional bike racer Phil Southerland. Also, John was a guest faculty member in the annual writing conference organized by Harvard Medical School this past spring in Boston.

literary magazine supported by the American University of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Audrey Glassman Vernick, children’s book author, will publish her first novel, Water Balloon, for middle-grade readers. Rosanna Iversen-Berdahl is the owner of the nation’s only sulfitefree and organic winery. Rosanna says her wine is available under the labels Well ReaD, Our Daily Red, Orlean’s Hill, Cote Zero, and Alexandria.

League baseball player to come out. A film has been made based on the book.


George Falkowski, MA ’87, is happy to report three New York Emmy nominations, primarily in sports reporting. George is a reporter with News 12 New Jersey.

Erin Amar founded and is editorin-chief of Rocker magazine, the first and only music and lifestyle magazine for “mature hipsters” (over 30). Advocating the “Oldternative Lifestyle,” Rocker offers readers not only music features, but also health, fashion, and lifestyle tips. The staff and advisors include Keith Valcourt ’89, Kelly Makros ’89, Alisa Capaldi ’90, Mark Meloccaro ’90, Chris Gullo ’11, and Andrew Osborne.



Erik Sherman wrote a biography of Glenn Burke, Out at Home: The Glenn Burke Story, which tells the story of the first Major

Alisa Capaldi has launched a marketing/advertising agency, Capaldi Communications– Providence, Boston, Los Angeles.


Michelle Blenker is available for voiceover and on-camera positions in the LA/OC/SD area. Warren Bobrow of Morristown, New Jersey, spent 20 years in the corporate world when he was “offshored.” He reinvented himself as a food/photo journalist. He is writing on the topic of biodynamic and organic wine/beer and food for the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, Ed. 2. He is also editor of Wild River Review. Bill Hemp ’85 has released a new CD, Design, with his electronic pop project Dymaxion Vehicle. Hemp wrote, mixed, and produced the disc, which features a lineup of various vocalists. Back in ’81, Hemp co-founded the Einstein Experience at Emerson.

1986 James Berkowitz wrote the poem “No Words Were Spoken,” which appears in the debut issue of the international publication Blood & Honey Review, a new online

Wade Williams ’93 (pictured here with Heidi Klum) has signed a production deal to star in a reality show with Shed Media, headed by Executive In Charge of Production Jenn O’Connell ’95. Wade owns Picnic Events in Los Angeles and New York City and has a show on SIRIUS/XM Satellite Radio. Some of his clients include Oprah Winfrey, Olivia Wilde, Bill Paxton, and Klum.

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in memoriam

Chris Duffy is creative services manager for the Tribune Company’s legendary WGN-AM Radio. He’d love to hear from Emerson classmates and friends at

1991 Darren Keith Abraham recorded his album Hopes and Means in 2004, and it’s gaining popularity in the Northeast. Katherine Haynes is the owner of Essential Chef in Van Nuys, California. Kevin Mercuri ’91, MA ’93, is founder and president of Propheta Communications, a full-service public relations and marketing communications agency in Manhattan. He has employed a number of fellow Emersonians and welcomes those who are building a career in PR to contact him. Kevin writes: “My Emerson alumni network is invaluable. We are in the midst of our third profitable year, due in no small part to the foundation I built at Emerson College and the alumni within my network.”

1992 Tamara Lush won the George Polk Award for Environmental Reporting as part of a team of

Ricia Anne Chansky, MA ’94, received her master’s degree in Writing, Literature and Publishing from Emerson in 1994 and her PhD in English studies from Illinois State University in 2009. She was made associate director of the Department of English at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, where she teaches literature and creative writing. In addition, she married Eric D. Lamore in 2010.

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journalists at the Associated Press who extensively covered the Gulf oil spill.

Week, a five-day series of events celebrating local beer and its agricultural roots.


Martin Talty is a sound mixer at RF Mixer in Burbank.

Nathanial Cook writes, “Since graduation, I was married (1995) and divorced (2005), worked as a journalist for several newspapers, including The Atlanta Journal and Constitution and The Boston Globe, lived in the Los Angeles area, near Atlanta, in Salem (Massachusetts), in Seattle, and now in Longmont, Colorado. I went back to school in 1995 for paralegal training and certification, and again in 2007 for publishing arts. And sometimes I feel like I’m starting over again! Cheers.” Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer published her children’s cookbook The Kitchen Classroom, all about using cooking to build communication and connection for children with autism.

1994 Caitlin McCarthy, MFA, is a screenwriter straight out of Hollywood East and was featured in Pulse magazine’s People to Watch. Kevin Smith, Maryland beat reporter for the Mid-Atlantic Brewing News, is serving as president of Frederick Beer

2012 2008 1993 1966 1936 1959 1966 1956 1950 1978 1987 1944 1949 1953 1970 1959 1947 1959

1995 More than 90 people attended the world premiere of Angel Connell’s latest film short, Beneath The Veneer of A Murder, in 2010. The event was held in the filmmaker’s hometown of Westford, Massachusetts.

1996 Debbie Appel, MA ’96, coauthored the book Skintervention: The Personalized Solution for Healthier, Younger and FlawlessLooking Skin with celebrity esthetician Scott-Vincent Borba. Jill Bernstein is CEO of poppt, a free online artists colony for writers, designers, filmmakers, visual artists, performers, and musicians. Ryan Deal is director of communications for the Georgia Department of Community Health.

Already posing for the camera and stealing the spotlight, Ava Eleanor Witkov-Rooney made her grand debut August 10, 2010. Parents are Nicole Witkov-Rooney ’03 and Patrick Rooney ’04, MA ’10.

Gil Cunha ’94 and Jennifer Botelho are busy being parents these days. Son James Cristiano was born in June 2008. Gil also accepted a position at After Lately. He is a story editor for the E! comedy that looks behind the scenes of Chelsea Handler’s latenight talk show.

Justin A. Amorratanasuchad Layne M. Anderson Peter D. Barry Michele M. Bernfeld Thelma E. (Tucker) Cooper Josephine Caval Dean Ruth Stafford Duesing Jay W. Dunn Marie D. Forsberg, MA Penny Minda (Gottlieb) Gero V Kingsley (Valerie Langston) Margie McGee Kinney Frances Flaherty Perry Dorris Julia Richards, MSSp Eileen Rosen Sarah B. (Bernhardt) Stulik, MA ’66 Olive Blanchard Thurston Joy Palmer Wallace Robert Wagner (former faculty)

Jeff Hurlock is senior producer at Rodale Publishing. Robert Keosheyan is director of corporate communication for DigitalGlobe in Longmont, Colorado. Jay Soderberg is an audio digital media producer at ESPN. His podcasts are at podcenter.

1997 Shane D. Hudson of New Haven, Connecticut, is an MFA candidate in theatre management at the Yale School of Drama.

Jay Leibowitz, along with friend and colleague Matt Freeman ’98, has been published in Playscripts. com’s Great Short Comedies Vol. 5. Freeman’s play, Rabbi Hersh and the Talking Lobster, is about a giant lobster who decides to convert to Judaism and visits a lonely rabbi on Chanukah. The play was originally performed at the Brick Theatre in Brooklyn, featuring Matthew Trumbull ’98 and David DelGrosso ’98.

1998 Cynthia Abril is senior producer at Brad Lachman Productions in Burbank, California. Julie R. Burke has married Mark D.B. Blanchard in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Mark is a client services director at iProspect Inc. Julie is a self-employed fundraiser and director of two nonprofit organizations. Julie is also participating in a yearlong fellowship in leadership and management through the Center for Collaborative Leadership at the College of Management, University of Massachusetts, Boston. Heather (Calder) Roberts of Bend, Oregon, is promotions director for Horizon Broadcasting Group. John Cotter has published his first novel, Under the Small Lights, a story about love, identity, and painful memories we wouldn’t be the same without. The book is published by Miami University Press.

Sonia Tita Puopolo, BS in Communication Studies ’96, MA in Political Communication ’97, is author of Sonia’s Ring: 11 Ways to Heal Your Heart and El Anillo de Sonia: 11 Maneras de Sanar su Corazon, Ellen DeGeneres from The Ellen DeGeneres Show, among many others, have endorsed the book. The book is available as an e-book and in hardcover and paperback.

Travis Small ’97 and  Jodi “Planchon” Small, MSSp ’05, are happy to announce the birth of their daughter and future Emersonian,  Addison Grace Small, on April 23.



Matias Guisado, former marketing director at Fadow, is the creator of PIEALL, a free social polling platform.

Terra Cusack is an adjunct professor at Gallatin College.

Sherryn Smith of Leominster, Massachusetts, is a makeup artist for film and television, and a member of I.A.T.S.E Local 798. Marty Thornley is co-owner of Partner Interactive, a site for photographers with blogs.

2000 Vanessa Cassidy had a film in last year’s Roxbury Film Festival called Dawn. She can be seen in Last Shot, which was screened during the International Boston Film Festival. She’s also engaged. DeWayne Frazier Dickerson is the winner of the 2nd annual Eli Coppola Memorial Poetry Chapbook Prize. The book, I Say I Need Help, will be released in collaboration with RADAR Productions and Taproot Editions in July. Julia Maranan writes, “My first book, The 100 Best Ways to Stop Aging and Stay Young, was published by Fair Winds Press in January. Writing and Publishing’s Jeff Seglin earned a nod in the acknowledgments section!”

Emily K. Harrison of Boulder, Colorado, was recognized by the Denver Post as a 2011 Pathmaker, one of just seven individuals working in an arts field chosen for the honor. Jason Rossman released an album with his band The Susan Content, a Boston-based indie rock band that has been described as an intense cross between Elvis Costello and The Killers. Jennifer Scharf screened her short comedy, Bird Talk, at the Boston International Film Festival.

2002 Jason E. Grossman, producer and founder of Radio Mouse Entertainment, produced The PeeWee Herman Show on Broadway, featuring Paul Reubens.

2003 Jeff Hall is a communications director for 1199SEIU, the largest union of healthcare workers in Massachusetts. Brian Flanagan is senior director of in-theater marketing for Roadside Attractions.

Loretta Frost and Christopher Bergeron are happy to announce their marriage on September 5, in Plymouth, Connecticut. Loretta opened a portrait studio in Avon after working in the photography field for the last eight years. Jess “Scone” DeNoto is one of the directors of the 2nd annual Vegan Iron Chef competition in Portland, Oregon, a unique event hosted by best-selling cookbook author Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Ted Ryan, MA ’03, wrote and directed the film Ocean State. Eric Vollweiler is associate producer of ShowBiz Expo, in New York and Los Angeles. George F. Young is A/V producer for the Federal Air Marshal Service in Washington, D.C.

2004 Dave Burdick married Rachel Cernansky in June. He is editor of the Colorado Daily in Boulder. Rachel is a freelance environmental and social justice journalist. Johnathan Carr produced Billions of Bucks: A Cyberpunk Revue at the Oberon in Harvard Square in collaboration with Melissa Cerebi. Alexandros Constandinou of Nicosia, Cyprus, is a TV director at Antenna Television. Anthony D’Aries, MFA ’04, gave a reading from his memoir, Aural History, Part 1, at Randolph College as its Visiting Writer. He teaches creative writing and literacy in correctional facilities in Massachusetts.

Parker Whittemore ’04 and Krysta Zeiset ’02 met as roommates through Emerson’s off-campus housing website nine years ago. They were married in Boston in October 2009. They live in Los Angeles, where Parker is a camera operator and Krysta is in graduate school. Their first child, Mason Colter, was born February 1.

Jaffney Roode opened CrossFit H2O in Medford, Massachusetts,

which offers elite fitness training for all ages and abilities through a small-group coaching model. Melissa Schwartz is graduating this spring with her MBA from Emory University and begins as an associate brand manager at the Coca-Cola Company this summer. Mark Simpson of Orlando, Florida, a reporter with NPR affiliate station WMFE-FM in Orlando, has joined Transportation Nation, a national reporting project headed by WNYC in New York. The project supports coverage of transportation issues and urbanism around the U.S. In personal news, Mark is engaged to Suely Gourgel.

2006 Ashley Gonyaw is group sales account manager at Boston’s Museum of Science. Luis Andres Henao of Buenos Aires, Argentina, is a correspondent for Reuters in Buenos Aires. Christina Heller is producer/ director at Circa Productions. She directed a documentary, Libertopia, which examines the lives of three citizens who, along with thousands of others, are moving to New Hampshire as part of the Free State Project, a movement that aims to reduce the role of government in a single state. Cyra Master is copy editor at Roll Call in Washington, D.C.

2005 Matthew Ardine was lighting designer for a Death Cab for Cutie video, You Are a Tourist. Alongside Matt was lighting programmer David Kane ’06 and Steadicam operator David Shawl ’07. Eric Cornell is associate company manager of Sister Act on Broadway. Last year, he ran and finished the 2010 NYC Marathon with a time of 3:58. Shannon Mulaire is a reporter at FOX 25 in Boston.

Brian Sousa, MFA ’06, is a member of a band, Ocean*Transfer, and they have released a self-titled EP. Zak Weil of Cleveland is a new media marketing manager for Concord Music Group.

2007 Susie Anderson is a food and lifestyle blogger at We Are Not Martha. Melissa Bazillion is digital media planner/buyer at Overdrive Interactive in Allston. Melissa recently was employed at CBS Radio as senior digital media

39 Expression Summer 2011

Brady Carlson ’05 and Sonya Carlson are proud to announce the birth of a baby boy, Owen Graham, March 26 in Concord, New Hampshire. marketing coordinator. Overdrive was named Agency of the Year 2010 by the Boston Interactive Marketing Association. Rebecca Flanagan ’07, MA ’09 and Katie Cotugno introduce Mightier Magazine, a new literary journal devoted to “delicious prose” of any length. The magazine is seeking submissions for the first issue, due out in August. Visit for details. Khadene Foote, a producer with Television Jamaica, was delighted to be a part of the production of Smile Jamaica featuring special co-hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb. Clips are online at, and the Today Show showed clips and behind-the-scenes footage in May. Brehon Garcia-Dale is the food and wine program manager at the Boston Center for Adult Education, revitalizing the cooking classes by recruiting Boston-area chefs to teach. Andy Michaels graduated from George Washington University with his master’s in political management. He works at the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a scheduling assistant in the Office of the Secretary. Christina Relacion-Finnell is communications manager for the Scleroderma Foundation in Danvers, Massachusetts. She also blogs about food at All’s Fare Food.

Coli Sylla, MA ’07, is happy to announce that two months after being laid off from his post at Warner Bros, he successfully pitched a documentary series to FremantleMedia. The sale has enabled him to get his own production company, Unofficial Entertainment, off the ground sooner than expected.

2008 Rob DiVo will be represented by world-renowned talent agency McDonald Selznick Associates, the global leader in dance and choreography representation. Rob also blogs for Cheer Channel in Boston. Ezra Horne is post-production supervisor at Wiser Post. Kenji Miwa of Golden Leaf Productions would like to announce that The Dead, a zombie film set against the backdrop of Africa, will come to Boston in August.

2009 Ellis Bahl was a “stockroom dude” at Brooklyn Industries and is now an associate producer at MTV World. Andy Laub says his skill sets, degree, and dedication to storytelling landed him in the TV world with contracts from The Discovery Channel, The Travel Channel, Animal Planet, TLC, and The History Channel. He’s hiked the Appalachian Trail (2,600 miles) and blended his

B.J. Carrick, MA ’03, got engaged to his lovely fiancée, Kerry Kraemer, on Halloween 2010, and then welcomed their beautiful baby girl, Violet Astrid, into the world on Groundhog Day. B.J. is a senior editor at the University of Chicago Press and displays his artwork online at people/gutterbucket.

40 Expression Summer 2011

love of storytelling with his passion for the outdoors by creating the adventure nonprofit the Dusty Camel to help promote the preservation of America’s wild spaces. Kyle MacDonald received a master’s degree in student affairs in higher education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He is assistant director of admission and alumni admission coordinator at Emerson. Matt Mitchell has a band called The Cinnamon Fuzz. Chelsea O’Brien is a junior copywriter at David & Goliath. Shannon Walsh of Providence, Rhode Island, co-edits a new online literary magazine, Anomalous Press, featuring fiction, nonfiction, and poetry in both text and audio. Ashley Whiting is associate producer at TeachTown. See web. to check out Ashley voicing “Jelly in the TeachTown: Social Skills” videos.

Wanjiru Mary Njendu ’03 is a member of Women in Film and produced the Women in Film International Committee’s 5th Annual Short Film series held in March at Stage 29 at Universal Studios in California. This year’s series featured Kenyan film and culture.

2010 Andrew Bruss is a research assistant in the office of attorney Harvey Silverglate in Cambridge. Caitlin Green is living in Nepal and leading theater games at the Kopila Valley Children’s Orphanage in Surkhet with SeekExploreCreate. Keri Medeiros is digital traffic coordinator for Entercom Communications. Blake Pfell is the author and composer of The Nanny, a new ESL children’s musical currently in its world premiere at the Gyeonggi English Village in Paju, South Korea. Melanie Wong is social media manager at BBDO.

Submitting Class Notes

Expression welcomes news of alumni: promotions, career changes, volunteer work, marriages, births, and other news. Class notes are printed on a spaceavailable basis. For publication purposes, photos must be high-resolution (300 dpi is ideal). In general, a larger file is better than a smaller file. How to submit class notes and photos Email: Online: (click on Class Notes) U.S. Mail: Class Notes, Emerson College, Office of Alumni Relations, 120 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116-4624

G i f t s t h a t M a t t e r

Emerson students know that when they need a helping hand academically, the go-to place on campus is the Lacerte Family Writing and Academic Resource Center. The Center’s roster of free, confidential services includes support in writing, study approaches, test preparation, and reading comprehension. Graduate assistant writing tutors, peer tutors, and fulltime professionals work with students, both undergraduate and graduate, to fine-tune their academic efforts. And now the Center’s work with one Emerson student will help students for years to come. The Center was formally dedicated this year as the Lacerte Family Writing and Academic Resource Center in recognition of a $1 million endowment being established with a gift from the family of Madison Lacerte ’10. “When we asked Madison which program she wanted to support,” said Joyce Lacerte

from the family’s home in Dallas, Texas, “she said the Writing and Academic Resource Center because it was so helpful to her during her time at Emerson College.” Today, Madison lives in Los Angeles, working as a production secretary/ office production assistant on Celeste and Jesse Forever, an upcoming feature film. The Center’s support helped her succeed at Emerson, and with this generous gift the Lacertes are ensuring it will continue to be a place where Emerson students can come to build their academic toolkits.

Help support scholarships, an academic department, or any area of Emerson College by making your gift today at

Photo by David Leifer

120 Boylston Street Boston, MA 02116-4624

A Very Good Vintage Evelyn Bergman Shatkin ’40 (left), Allee Hamilton Wood ’36, and Mary O’Keefe Dentler ’36 attended Alumni Weekend 2011. The Class of 1936 marked its 75th anniversary this year.

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Expression Summer 2011  

Expression Summer 2011