The USC School of Dramatic Arts welcomes Kourosh Gohar and Lois Robbins as the newest members of its Board of Councilors. They have joined a distinguished group of industry and community leaders who provide counsel, knowledge and support as the School continues to grow as a top-ranked institution for dramatic arts education.
This award takes into account how one pursues their art to contribute to society in some way. trying to say. As artists, we make up these characters in our minds that talk to each other, we see colors and pictures that don’t yet exist, listen to these voices in our heads. So when someone outside of your mind — outside of this creative world you’ve imagined — says they see it, says they get it, that’s the affirmation we need.” Winning the award also provided her with something just as valuable — financial peace of mind. As a first-year student, RiChard had three jobs: substitute teaching, driving a USC bus and working the graveyard shift as a picker at an Amazon warehouse. The award enabled her to drop the Amazon job, giving RiChard more time and energy to advance her craft. “I’m so thankful Joan Beber created this award,” RiChard says. “The fact that she did this as an alumna shows that she knows the value of this program. This award speaks to the character of Joan Beber, of course, but it also speaks to the excellence of the MFA and what our faculty are doing here.”
Gohar currently runs PopPay, a facial recognition payment platform, and is an active investor in early stage startups. Prior to PopPay, he was the founder and CEO of several technology companies — including reminders platform Pijons, online events platform Beautify and online scheduling platform Kuyam; and built Equitable Companies from an idea to $100+ million of managed portfolios. He has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry, acting as a vice president and business client manager at Bank of America, among innumerable other roles. At Tuesday Laboratory, he served as artistic director and producer of a number of plays — such as Faust is Dead, The Architect, Early Morning and other British playwrights’ works in Los Angeles. He is also on the advisory board for the Boys and Girls Club's Kollab program, which aims to provide career opportunities and guidance to Southern California youth. Gohar earned his BFA in theatre from the USC School of Dramatic Arts in 1995 and his MBA in entrepreneurship and marketing from the Marshall School of Business in 2002.
Robbins is a film and stage actress — best known for her roles on daytime television, including One Life to Live, Loving, Ryan’s Hope and All My Children. On stage, Robbins has starred in world premiere musicals My History of Marriage and A Time for Love, and her oneact play L.O.V.E.R. She has starred in productions at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, Goodspeed Opera, Trinity Repertory — as well as Studio Arena, Rubicon, Schoolhouse and Roundabout theaters. On the silver screen, she was in Town and Country, The Screammaker, Hudson River Blues and Motherhood. Additional television credits include guest shots in Sex and the City, Law & Order, Kingpin, Once and Again, Law & Order SVU and Blue Bloods, and a recurring role of Penelope on Younger. Film credits include The Aspern Papers; Kingfish; starring in Shepherd and One Nation Under God; as well as starring in the independent films Blowtorch, Juvie and Ithaca. Robbins is actively involved with Evelyn H. Lauder’s Breast Cancer Center, the Plastic Pollution Coalition, Alzheimer’s Drug Foundation and the Lung Cancer Research Foundation.
BOARD OF COUNCILORS
Michele Dedeaux Engemann Founding Chair Joshua B. Grode Chair
Patrick J. Adams Chris Andrews Lisa Denton Barkett Lorrie Bartlett Todd Black Connie Britton Michael Chiklis Megan Colligan Michael Felix Brad Fuller Lori Furie Kourosh Gohar Donna Isaacson Gary Lask Alex LoCasale Michael Meyers Dr. Steven Nagelberg Byron Pollitt Rik Reppe Lois Robbins Linda Bernstein Rubin Rik Toulon Blair Underwood Noelle L. Wolf ALUMNI LEADERSHIP COUNCIL
Adam Blumenthal Kate Cannova John Coffey David Fickas Jaclyn Kalkhurst J.P. Karliak Devin M. Kelley, Co-Chair Sean Lask Alex LoCasale Henry Martone Deanna Morgan Tomm Polos, Co-Chair Mona Raffle Michael Schwartz Pranav Shah John Villacorta Adrienne Visnic