ker Arts Management
PROOF OF PURCHASE
Singer Creative Writing
Regina Spektor ’01
Our students arrive here by many routes, on journeys to many places. But in their years together at Purchase College, they share a common experience: they discover their creative identities, and come to know deeply what it is they are passionate about. The distinguished alumni here have all shared the Purchase experience. They became many different things: a national political reporter; the founder of an opera company; a celebrated singer/songwriter; a CEO; an emergency room
THINK WIDE OPEN
Regina Spektor’s latest album debuted at #3 on the Billboard chart, thanks to the genius she nurtured and refined at Purchase.
doctor. When these accomplished people were Purchase students, their ambitions were free to evolve, grow, and mature, aided by broad academic opportunity, and the intellectual support and friendship of the many other uniquely talented people who form this vibrant and inventive community of learning. You may notice a pattern in their stories: each believes that it was their Purchase education that enabled them to become who they needed to be. Purchase is a place in which to define the self—a creative mix of talent, intelligence, and energy that inspires all of us who are a part of it—students, staff, and professors alike—to achieve the new and the exceptional. Purchase College is a place where you can prepare to make an indelible mark on the world.
The Perfect Place to Become a Songwriter I wanted to write songs and make records. I went to Purchase because I knew it would help me map my own path to a career as a writer and singer. The people I met at Purchase were so cool. Everyone was collaborating with everyone else. The school allowed me to load up on credit hours and earn my degree in three years. Collaboration and Encouragement Purchase really opened my mind, because there were so many people there who cared about art. My professors were completely open to allowing us to experiment with musical conventions; they allowed us to do things that would have been labeled mistakes anywhere else. It was safe to do anything at Purchase, and most importantly, to just be yourself. When I’m in an environment in which I feel accepted and safe, I get really motivated to learn. And I learned at Purchase. Everything You Need Studio time is expensive and rounding up other musicians can be hard. But at Purchase, you have free access to instruments and studios, and you develop easy friendships with other great musicians. All these resources are just there, waiting for you. I was playing on Steinways every day! The commercial pressures of the music industry can warp a songwriter’s creativity. At Purchase I learned how to retain my creative integrity—to find my voice without any outside pressure to be untrue to myself as an artist. That’s what I gained on this campus. Everything I needed was there.
Raised: New York City
Discovered Songwriting: Israel
Touring Singer: Europe and America Top Rank So Far: #3 on Billboard Chart
“PURCHASE OFFERS AN INSPIRING INTERACTION BETWEEN ALL THE DIFFERENT DISCIPLINES. THE PROFESSORS HAVE CREATED THIS ATMOSPHERE THAT JUST DRAWS AMAZING PEOPLE TO IT.”
Sean Weiner ’05
“OUR CLASSES IN COLLEGE WERE SMALL AND PERSONAL. IF I HAD QUESTIONS OR PROBLEMS, MY PROFESSOR WAS THERE FOR ME. IF I NEEDED TUTORS FOR SOME HELP OR JUST SOME ADVICE, THEY WERE THERE FOR ME.”
“MY SENIOR PROJECT WAS A DOCUMENTARY FILM. IT ALLOWED ME TO APPLY EVERYTHING I’D LEARNED ABOUT FILMMAKING, AND ACTUALLY BECOME A FILMMAKER.”
Now a medical resident, Dr. Gina Oviedo did more than earn a degree in biology at Purchase—she developed her natural gift of empathy. She uses both everyday. Learning about People My B.S. in Biology from Purchase is certainly essential to my work in the ER. But so was the opportunity I had at Purchase to be a peer counselor in the Equal Opportunity Program (EOP). It was there that I figured out how to help people learn. At the Orlando Regional Medical Center’s Emergency Department, I’m responsible for teaching first-year residents and medical students. Purchase taught me the fundamentals of what I’m doing right now. It was a great education.
Currently Working for: Jacob Burns Film Center
Documentary Project: Westchester County Jail
Most Recent Film: How to Adopt a Penguin
He was an aspiring actor; he considered a teaching career; he became a documentary filmmaker. No wonder Purchase College was the right place for Sean.
Gina Joanne Oviedo ’00
Discovery of a Career In my second year at Purchase College, my writing professor encouraged me to take a course in Cinematic Expression that was just starting up. Filmmaking wasn’t something I’d ever considered. By the end of that year I’d declared Cinema Studies as my major, along with Art History. My Senior Project was essentially an apprenticeship in filmmaking. A Foot in the Door Purchase College was just the right place for me to be, because it helped me discover what I wanted to do, and it gave me a foot in the door of my chosen field. My first job upon graduation was with the Jacob Burns Film Center, a non-profit art house theater and center for film education. Sometime after I got there, our director of education suggested we establish a film program at Westchester County Jail in Valhalla. I teamed up with Mike Krauss and undertook teaching ten juvenile inmates how to make an autobiographical film.
Taught First Graders: Rural Japan
Learning about Myself At Purchase, I was treated as an adult. Professors always provided me the guidance I needed to succeed, but ultimately whether I passed or failed was completely up to me. I learned to take full responsibility for my own education. My Senior Project helped me to realize that I did not want to be in a medical lab—I needed to work with patients directly, face to face.
Current Home: Manhattan’s Chinatown
The First of Many We encouraged the inmates to brainstorm and ask one another how they wanted to be perceived in the film. Their first inclination was to try to shock viewers—show off their tattoos, act tough, play to the stereotype. But they decided they should shatter that stereotype by sharing the truth and telling their real stories. When the film premiered at the Jacob Burns theater in February, the place was packed—even the New York Times was there. Two of our inmates did a Q/A with the audience. It was very moving. The project now has recurrent funding and I’m looking forward to doing it again in the fall, and maybe for years to follow.
Medical School: Ohio
Learning about Healing I care about every single patient who comes into the ER. I treat them as family. My biology degree is fundamental to my ability to diagnose an illness, but my overall Purchase education is what has allowed me to do my job well. To really understand what is ailing someone, you need to be able to relate to that person, to express empathy, to listen carefully to what they say and how they say it. Patients can sense a doctor’s level of commitment. I’m happy to say mine send me thank-you cards. Born: Honduras
Graduate School: New York
John Ambroseo ’83
Jill Bargonetti ’85
“PURCHASE LET ME MELD MY DIFFERENT INTERESTS INTO A SINGULAR EDUCATION I COULD NOT HAVE RECEIVED AT ANOTHER SCHOOL.” Pioneering Cancer Researcher
NYC Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Science and Technology
National Science Foundation Grant Winner Professional Dancer
Jill Bargonetti was smart, and she had more than one passion. So at Purchase she pursued more than one path. Today, Jill is a pioneering cancer researcher, a former professional dancer, and an inspiring role model.
The Affordable Choice Affordability was certainly one reason I considered Purchase, but that’s not what made Purchase the perfect choice for me. I came to college a biology major, got accepted into the dance conservatory, became a professional dancer, and then ultimately returned to study biology. At what other school could you imagine taking that path? The Perfect Fit I couldn’t have picked a better school for me. A lot of Purchase people took a great deal of time to mentor me. The biology program was small, and the level of personal attention was tremendous. They were always willing to work with me to tailor the program to what I needed. Others schools just don’t do that.
The Cancer Pioneer I earned my doctorate at New York University and then did post-doctoral research work at Columbia University that led ultimately to the development of drugs that isolate and kill cancer cells by targeting certain proteins. Since 1994, I’ve been teaching and running a lab of my own at Hunter College, where I not only get to do groundbreaking work, but I can mentor my students. I chose to be at Hunter because, like Purchase, it is a public college. There are very few black women and Hispanics in science, and I feel an especially great responsibility to be here for them, just as Purchase was there for me.
Once a chemistry major and now a CEO, John Ambroseo has become a force behind the microelectronics revolution.
“AT PURCHASE, EVERYONE KNEW MY NAME AND THE DOORS WERE ALWAYS OPEN.”
The Value Proposition I spent my first year at a very big, prestigious and expensive University, sitting in giant lecture halls with seven or eight hundred other students, trying to process what the professor was saying. I wasn’t getting much for all that money. The Personal Touch On the advice of a friend, I decided to investigate Purchase College. I met with the head of the college’s chemistry department, and though he had no obligation to do so, he took an hour and a half with me, talking about curriculum, class size, teaching assistant possibilities, and Senior Project. I transferred in sophomore year, and right from the start, everyone seemed to know who I was. My professors became friends and mentors. I not only got a first-class education, but the urging I needed to continue my studies in graduate school. The Unpredictable Outcome When I was still pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania, I attended a conference where, I met two representatives from Coherent Inc., a young Silicon Valley laser technology company. I soon decided to join the company as a sales representative. That seemingly counterintuitive move worked out pretty well—today Coherent is a $500 million company, and I’m its CEO. It’s been a dynamic and exciting career so far, one in which I get to apply creative thinking every day. That creativity is the direct result of my years at Purchase, where I really did learn to think wide open.
Previous Position: International Division Executive
Chemistry From Chemistry to Lasers Current Position: Chief Executive Officer
First Job: Pumping Gas From Purchase to Penn
Adam Nagourney ’77
Learning How to Think I started at Purchase when Purchase first started. Back then it was a lot like today, a very interesting place filled with a diverse mix of students and professors. I knew I wanted a degree that would teach me to think. Eventually I chose the liberal arts and got a degree in political economics and history. Me, a Journalist? I took courses in history, economics, and the social sciences. I was learning how to write and how to think critically about history. And it was great that Purchase offered me access to a piano, which I enjoyed even though I wasn’t in the music program. I hadn’t known I wanted to be a journalist until this opportunity presented itself to do a student internship at the Gannett newspaper in Westchester, the Reporter-Dispatch. It was instant clarity. I knew this was what I wanted to do the rest of my life.
Denise Roberts Hurlin ’84
Westchester to Albany to Washington I went to Albany to cover the state capitol for Westchester County and met the editor of the Daily News. I worked for her for seven years. It was competitive. Then I went to USA Today where I covered Bill Clinton’s campaign in 1992—the best story I’d ever worked on. From there I joined the New York Times, where I became chief national political reporter in 2002. I owe a lot to Purchase College, and I treasure the friendships I still have with the people I met there.
“AT PURCHASE, I COULD LIVE, BREATHE, AND EAT DANCE. IT WAS HERE THAT I CAME TO REALIZE WHAT I WAS MEANT TO DO.”
Adam Nagourney, one of the nation’s leading political journalists, was not sure what he wanted to study until, at Purchase, he discovered what he loved: reporting.
Favorite Place: an Obama Press Conference
Denise is a Paul Taylor dancer. She’s also founder of Dancers Responding to AIDS, which raised $3.5 million in just six weeks for the care of those suffering from HIV and AIDS.
Road Most Travelled: The Campaign Trail
First National Job: USA Today
Finding Her Place Purchase was absolutely the ideal place for me. When you’re a student there, you are open to what New York City has to offer, in addition to all that is available in the classrooms and throughout campus. College was my chance to explore a world I’d have had no access to otherwise.
Home: The New York Times
Dance Born and Raised: Westchester
“I WANTED A DEGREE THAT WOULD TEACH ME TO THINK.”
Co-founder of Dancers Responding to AIDS
Organizer of the Fire Island Dance Festival
A Paul Taylor Dancer
A Founding Member of David Parsons Dance
You Become What You Love to Do I had the privilege to be able to become engrossed in my art while at college; I could live and breathe it. Everything at Purchase guides you to your creative self and allows you to become the artist that you can be, the one you might not realize is there. From the time I woke up to the time I went to bed, I was able to do what I love—dance. This is what I was meant to do. From Dance to Community Service After graduation, I joined David Parsons Dance as one of the founding members of his company. Eventually I moved to New York City and to the Paul Taylor Dance Company. It was the realization of a dream. After six years on the road, I married, had a child, and moved back to Westchester, not far from Purchase. I discovered new ways to be fulfilled. Together with fellow Purchase alumnus Hernando Cortez, I founded Dancers Responding to AIDS. In just six weeks, we raised $3.5 million to benefit those suffering from HIV and AIDS. Performing will always be my first love, but I feel blessed to have discovered a new way to contribute to my community.
Scott Altman ’90
Christina Hu ’06 Tour Guide: New York City Retail Management
Basso Profundo: Carnegie Hall
Founder: Opera New Jersey
“AT PURCHASE, YOU LIVE WHERE THE DISCIPLINES CONVERGE.” A Natural Progression Though I didn’t come from a musical family, I developed a love of singing. I didn’t know what opera was until I was about thirteen, but I studied classical singing in high school, and from there it was a natural progression to Purchase College. At Purchase, I found not only all the artistic disciplines of opera—music, dance, and theatre—but exposure to so many more disciplines, all of which have contributed importantly to my life. A Passion Put Into Perspective I chose to go to Purchase because it offered tremendous musical conservatory training. I was able to learn from the best musical scholars and artists. But Purchase isn’t a typical conservatory experience, and the exposures I got, in classrooms and the dorms, to professors and students from all over the campus, helped me to develop a broad perspective to go along with a strong voice. The entire Purchase experience proved perfect training for opera, which draws on so many creative disciplines. It also proved perfect preparation for running an opera company. A Unique Path to Take I had my professional debut as a singer at Carnegie Hall, and I sang with the New York City Opera for three years. Then my wife and I decided on a different course for our lives, and I left professional singing to settle in Princeton, raise a family, and build a business. That business is Opera New Jersey: we founded it in 2002, and today it’s considered one of the best regional opera companies in the country. And there’s no question in my mind that Purchase College made it possible for me to make this change in my life—the College gave me artistic training and a broad intellectual perspective, and I’ve been using both, a lot.
“THE SUPPORT OF MY PEERS AT PURCHASE WAS CRUCIAL. THEY KEPT ASKING ME, ‘WHY DON’T YOU TRY THIS?’ ” New Media A Future Business Owner An M.B.A. Degree
An Early Career at IBM
The multidisciplinary learning environment at Purchase gave the founder of one of the nation’s top opera companies his start.
An Internship at PepsiCo
Great Timing for a New Major Since I was very young I’ve had a passion for art. I saw the movie Toy Story for the first time when I was in the fifth grade, and after that I was sure that I would choose computer animation as my medium. Luckily for me, about the time I was considering college, Purchase was establishing this cool new major called New Media. Great timing! Goodnight was a Good Start My Senior Project at Purchase was big— literally. I did a nine–by–eleven–foot version of the children’s book, Goodnight Moon. My professor, as well as my friends, all encouraged my self-expression, and helped me gain the confidence I needed to take on this very big project. Each page of the book was a big wooden panel where one could play with different objects that were attached to it. And of course, I incorporated
video. It was an exhausting but strengthening experience. Senior Project was a great way to culminate my Purchase experience—a time when I overcame fear and got in touch with what I had to offer the world. IBM and Beyond I started working at IBM in my junior year and am now helping to run Smart Market, a new initiative to make the website experience more intuitive and effective. It’s been fun here. I am studying for my M.B.A. now, but I also intend to get an M.F.A. in Computer Animation. Then, I may start my own media solutions company or work for Pixar or Disney. Purchase College revealed to me what I am capable of doing and gave me the self esteem I rely on everyday. I’ll never be afraid to take on new challenges.
Christina Hu was in the fifth grade when she first saw the movie Toy Story. That sparked the imagination that would one day bring her to Purchase, and from here, to a richly creative career.
735 Anderson Hill Road Purchase, NY 10577
O P F Degrees granted B.A., B.S., B.F.A., M.F.A., Mus.B. Music Performer’s Certificate Music Artists Diploma Majors Acting Anthropology Art History Arts Management Biochemistry Biology Chemistry Cinema Studies Creative Writing Dance Drama Studies Dramatic Writing Economics Environmental Studies Film Graphic Design History Journalism Language and Culture Liberal Arts (individualized study) Liberal Studies* Liberal Studies: Arts* Liberal Studies: Communications/ Media Studies* Liberal Studies: Legal Studies* Literature Mathematics/Computer Science Media, Society, and the Arts Music Composition Music – Studio Production Music Performance – Instrumental Music Performance – Jazz Studies Music Performance – Vocal New Media Painting/Drawing Philosophy Photography Political Science Printmaking/Art of the Book Psychology Sculpture/3-D Media Sociology Theatre Design/Technology Visual Arts Women’s Studies * for transfer students
Minors Anthropology Art History Asian Studies Biology Chemistry Chinese Economics English and Comparative Literature Environmental Studies French Entrepreneurs Global Black Studies History Italian Jewish Studies Journalism Latin Studies Lesbian and Gay Studies Mathematics/Computer Science Media, Society, and the Arts Music Philosophy Philosophy and the Arts Philosophy of Science Political Science Psychology Sociology Spanish Visual Arts Women’s Studies
THINK WIDE OPEN