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    Who got their start at SU?

    More than 8,200 people in the Los Angeles area can say they got their start at Syracuse University. Armed with their degrees and shaped by their experiences on and off the Syracuse University campus, these individuals are making a difference and finding success on the West Coast and beyond. Meet just a handful of them below!

    Conrad Stanley ’80

    Conrad Stanley ’80

    Conrad Stanley credits his study abroad semester in London for exploding his cultural world and providing inspirations that remain to this day. Last month, he won an Emmy for his editing work on the TV show, Who Do You Think You Are?

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    Conrad Stanley ’80

    Conrad Stanley credits his study abroad semester in London for exploding his cultural world and providing inspirations that remain to this day. In October, he received an Emmy for his editing work on the TV show, Who Do You Think You Are?

    You won an Emmy! What was that like?

    Winning the Emmy Award has been, hands down, the most exciting event of my career! Being awarded in the category for Outstanding Picture Editing was all the more meaningful. Best of all, however, was sending my kids the text selfie of myself backstage holding my beautiful new Emmy statue! They all went nuts! The support and love of my wife and family were a big part of this acknowledgment and it’s been a joy sharing this with everyone. I am one of seven editors awarded for this series and it was particularly sweet because Who Do You Think You Are? is such a unique and special show. (Check it out on TLC!) It was an incredibly proud moment—gratifying after so many years in this industry—and BY FAR the most fun I’ve ever had in a tuxedo!

    Tell us briefly about your career path and where you are today.

    I have been writing, editing, and directing here in Los Angeles for most of my career after moving west. I was drawn to post-production editing early on, first learning the basics of linear editing, then later Avid non-linear. I have been fortunate to have worked on a broad range of network and cable programming from The Grammy Awards to Storage Wars, and very lucky to work mostly in the documentary genre and love projects that allow me to collect and share compelling stories. I’m currently editing on the seventh season of Who Do You Think You Are? for TLC and editing/directing on the PBS series Shelter Me. Both will be airing in January.

    When you look back on your life, what has your SU experience meant to you?

    I will always be grateful for my time in Syracuse. It was my coming of age, where I began defining the adult I wanted to be and had a wonderful time doing so. I took a “gap” year between my junior and senior years, being part of the group that saved the downtown Landmark Theatre from demolition and managed it into a new performing arts center. They still use the logo I had designed! Coming back to school after that really focused my intentions and made my senior year the best of my SU experience. 

    How did your experiences at Syracuse University shape your career?

    My time at Syracuse was pivotal in helping me grow as a creative person. If I didn’t have all the answers after graduation, Syracuse certainly gave me the confidence and enthusiasm to pursue the interests and passions that drive my career to this day.

    What is your favorite memory of Syracuse University?

    I have many, many great memories of my time at SU (including the blizzards), but would have to especially single out my semester in London. That literally exploded my cultural world and allowed me to soak in so many new inspirations of film, theater, art, dance, and music that remain essential for me to this day. 

    I’d also like to make a belated shout out to Newhouse professor Sheldon Gilberg from my junior year, who challenged me like no other had before. That 75-page advertising final project about killed me, but showed I could really dig deep and make something happen I didn’t know I was capable of. I’ve thought of him often over the years as I’ve faced other big challenges and imposing odds! I hope I can make a difference in another kid’s career as he did mine. Thank you, sir.

    As an alum in the LA region, how have you enjoyed connecting with other alumni in the area?

    Professionally and personally, I enjoy many friendships with Syracuse alumni in Los Angeles. There are quite a number of us living out here, possibly because we all headed for the warmth after so many Syracuse winters! I’m especially glad to have begun my television career at the Post Group in Hollywood when Joan Adler was working there, and value my 15-year friendship and partnership with fellow SU grad Steven Latham, with whom I’ve made some great television for PBS, including the current Shelter Me series.

    Anything you’d like to add?

    Varsity Pizza was the best. Hope they are still around! I very much want to get back to campus for a long overdue visit soon!

    JaNeika James G’05

    JaNeika James G’05

    JaNeika James '05 earned a Master's Degree in Television, Radio, and Film from Syracuse University. She is currently a Story Editor on Fox's #1 hit television series, EMPIRE, along with her writing partner and twin sister JaSheika James.

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    JaNeika James G’05

    JaNeika James has had an ongoing love affair with film and television since childhood. After earning a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Florida, she decided to pursue a career in film and television, earning her Master of Arts Degree in Television, Radio, and Film from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University.

    During her time in graduate school, JaNeika undertook a thesis project titled: The African-American Female Influence In Television. She conducted interviews with several African-American female powerhouses in the industry, including Yvette Lee Bowser—Creator and Executive Producer of the hit television series LIVING SINGLE. This interview of a lifetime led JaNeika to begin her career under the guidance and mentorship of Mrs. Bowser at SisterLee Productions.

    In addition to working in network and cable television, JaNeika served as Executive Producer, along with her writing partner/producer twin sister, JaSheika James, for the romantic comedy web series, JADED; starring former AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL winner Sal Stowers, Raney Branch (THE ORIGINALS), Natasha Marc, and McKinley Freeman (HIT THE FLOOR.)

    JaNeika is currently a Story Editor on Fox's #1 hit television series, EMPIRE, along with her sister JaSheika. She is committed to creating, developing, and writing projects that enlighten, inspire, and entertain audiences around the world

    How did your experiences at Syracuse University shape your career?

    So many of my experiences at SU helped shape my career; including the friendships and network created with my Sequence 57 classmates, as well as the relationships I fostered during the courses I took with specific professors. Professor Fiona Chew’s Research class helped crystalize my commitment to writing and producing content reflecting diversity, for the masses. Andrea Asimow’s Art of The Pitch class helped me build confidence in selling my ideas and enrolling people into my vision for projects. Professor Richard Dubin oversaw the independent study I took part in that led to my first job in LA; while Professor Michael Schoonmaker approved said study, and the lovely Shelly Griffin helped coordinate it. This afforded me the opportunity to visit LA for the first time, and interview a number of African-American women in entertainment who inspired me to become a TV writer.

    What was your first job after college?

    My first job after graduating from Newhouse was an internship on UPN’s Half & Half. My internship later evolved into a formal job as assistant to the showrunner, Yvette Lee Bowser, at SisterLee Productions. During my time on the show, I was able to work in all areas of the production including the writers room, casting, costumes, on set, in the production offices, and even with accounting. It was an additional, all-encompassing, “education” in the form of on-the-job-training. It was also one of the best work experiences I’ve ever had as it helped me comprehend what I was really getting into when I decided that eventually I’d want to become a showrunner. It’s a huge responsibility and undertaking that very few people are able to successfully take on. My first job is also where I was thoroughly groomed as a writer.

    What has been a major highlight of your career thus far?

    Thus far, it has been getting my first staff writing job on EMPIRE. I had been working in television for almost ten years when the opportunity came after I took part in FOX’s 2015 Writers Intensive Program. Working as a staff writer on what became a ratings phenomenon during the 2015 television season brought about opportunities I never could have imagined. I’ve had the pleasure of taking part in panels and speaking engagements across the country, connecting directly with audience members and fans of the show, as well as being featured in articles in magazines including Black Enterprise, Essence, and The Hollywood Reporter. It has been an incredible blessing being a part of a hit show starring a largely African-American cast, written by an incredibly diverse, and largely African-American, writing staff. To be at the forefront of Hollywood’s resurgence in storytelling driven by minorities, along with a renewed interest and commitment to diversity—both on and off-screen—has been nothing short of a dream come true.

    How have you stayed involved and connected to SU?

    I stay connected to SU through SULA, specifically. I love taking part in panels and networking sessions connecting with SU Seniors spending their semesters in LA. The year I graduated was the summer that the first week-long SU trip to LA took place; essentially laying the foundation for the current SULA program. It’s great to see how much the program has evolved and expanded, and to be able to provide insight and encouragement to students who are embarking on their journeys into the Los Angeles entertainment community.

    What are you working on now?

    Currently, I am working as a Story Editor with my writing partner and twin sister, JaSheika James, on FOX’s hit series, EMPIRE.

     

    Alisann Blood '02

    Alisann Blood '02

    Alisann Blood studied Television-Radio-Film at SU's Newhouse School before breaking into the music business. She is currently the Head of Brand Partnerships & Strategy at Crush Music where she develops innovative integrated marketing partnerships and music strategies that pair Crush’s roster of management clients to brands.

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    Alisann Blood '02

    Alisann Blood studied Television-Radio-Film at SU's Newhouse School before breaking into the music business. She is the Head of Brand Partnerships & Strategy at Crush Music where she develops innovative integrated marketing partnerships and music strategies that pair Crush’s roster of management clients to brands. Prior to that she was Vice President, Brand Partnerships and Creative Sync at Capitol Music Group for six years. She has held a number of marketing roles prior at Steve Madden, Island Def Jam Music Group, ID PR and Elektra Entertainment.

    How did your experiences at Syracuse University shape your career?

    All of the people I met, the activities I participated in, the internships I found through SU connects, all played a role in leading me towards my career. I wouldn’t have wound up in the music business had it not been for my college best friend and roommate who happened to get a job in music 6 months prior and recommended me for my first job. Best lesson I learned at Syracuse was that your network is everything.

    What was your first job after college?

    Executive Assistant to the General Manager of Elektra Records

    What has been a major highlight of your career thus far?

    Joining Crush has been a huge highlight as I think artist management companies are changing the music business paradigm; Being at the 2015 Grammys and watching both Sam Smith and Beck sweep the top categories. I worked on both of their album campaigns and there is so much work that these artists and the people on their teams put into these albums and marketing them to the general public that it was really special moment to be in the room and see those artists recognized for their efforts.

    How have you stayed involved and connected to SU?

    When I was living in NYC, I was involved in SUMMA and the NY Regional Council. I’ve worked with the LA Regional Council and I try to make myself available to speak to students interested in music and entertainment.

    What are you working on now?

    I’m the VP of Brand Partnerships for Crush Music so I get to spend my day creating platforms and opportunities that pair our artists with brands. Crush has an incredible roster of established and emerging acts and I feel really lucky that I get to come to work every day and find ways to expose our artists and their music to the public in ways they might have not connected before.

    Mark Nicholas ’94

    Mark Nicholas ’94

    Even though he's been practicing law for 20 years, Mark Nicholas says the lessons he learned about solving problems and helping clients happened before he even left SU.

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    Mark Nicholas ’94

    Even though he's been practicing law for 20 years, Mark Nicholas says the lessons he learned about solving problems and helping clients happened before he even left SU.

    Tell us briefly about your career path and where you are today.

    Following Syracuse, I joined Drinker Biddle & Reath, a law firm headquartered in Philadelphia and New York City. I started my work representing mutual funds and financial firms. I was given the opportunity to sit next to partners in front of fund boards right from my first weeks on the job.

    From NYC I headed west to Silicon Valley to work for American Century and became the chief legal officer and chief compliance officer for their upstart broker-dealer. After a few years, my path brought me to Boston at Loomis Sayles and then back to ING North America, where my practice included financial securities law, privacy, data security, and intellectual property.

    Throughout my 20 years, I’ve worked with firms with millions of retail customers and have seen a tremendous number of problems with families and their failures to plan for disability and death. I found that technology was actually compounding planning failures. In 2013, I formed Family Archival Solutions and the National Will Registry, with a goal of helping families prepare for crisis, ensuring that documents and assets are located, and personal wishes satisfied.

    I am also educating and speaking on technology and estate planning and running something called “The Free Will Tour,” a program designed to help families of lesser means be prepared with basic planning documentation. My fourth book, Death in the Cloud: Living and Dying in the Age of Google, Apple, Facebook and Online Banking, is expected later in 2016.

    When you look back on your life, what has your SU experience meant to you?

    It is hard to think about the things that I do every day and not tie them into the learning experiences from my Syracuse days. I always think about the people I met along the way, the opportunities to learn skills—like negotiating—that I would spend my life teaching, and my love of SU football and basketball. SU is still my community and pride.

    Mostly, however, I am always aware of the lessons of some of the professors that continue to apply. I can say, without exaggeration, that some of those lessons continue to provide me with perspective and context as I work to solve problems and help my clients.

    How did SU help you get to where you are today?

    In my last two years of law school, I had the opportunity to clerk with Student Legal Services, working with a tremendous number of students and athletes. The amazing attorney and Syracuse icon Gary Sommer took me under his wing and offered guidance I still recall every day. He taught me that law is really just about real people and real problems. We always focused on the humanity of the students and learned to listen and really hear their concerns. I think that this is the most important thing that I learned in all my years practicing law and ironically it was learned before I ever left SU.

    What highlights/successes in your life do you attribute to SU?

    It is hard to distinguish between the parts of my life that I would have achieved without Syracuse and those that are directly attributable to SU. SU is truly a part of the path that my life has taken and the person I have become.

    I vividly remember my first day of SU; meeting others who would become close friends over the next year—an executive from a tech company, a Ph.D., a medical doctor, a retiree, a son of a prominent family, and other new college graduates like myself. I remember thinking that the one thing we had in common was our individuality, each wildly different, and that we weren’t merely a bunch of people cut from the same “You’d make a good lawyer” mold. This was a license that we could be ourselves, take risks, and find our own path.

    What is your favorite memory of Syracuse University?

    I really don’t have just one favorite memory. I still tell stories about my first day of school, the moot court competition, Georgetown basketball games, the day we beat the University of Florida, being a first-year law student, and so much else. I think that the greatest memories I have of Syracuse were spending time with our group of friends at Faegan’s Pub with flip night, and singing arm-in-arm Mack the Knife and My Way at the end of the evenings. I never took these moments for granted at the time, and regard them as the most carefree moments in my life.

    As an alum in the LA region, how have you enjoyed connecting with other alumni in the area?

    I enjoy participating in SU events (such as SULA events) and have a lot of fun getting together with SU alums to watch sporting events and work through professional issues. We might be far away from campus, but we are surrounded by a fantastic community in the entertainment industry—so there are always great people to meet and catch a game.

    Andrew Watkins ’02

    Andrew Watkins ’02

    Andrew Watkins is an architect, planner, and urban designer at SWA in Southern California with over 15 years of professional experience. His work focuses on large-scale urban design projects that explore the confluence of ecology and urbanism. 

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    Andrew Watkins ’02

    Andrew Watkins holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from SU’s School of Architecture and is an architect, planner, and urban designer at SWA in Southern California with over 15 years of professional experience. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and is a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP).

    Watkins has researched contemporary urban conditions related to infrastructure and grassroots organization in both developed and developing nations including China, Indonesia, India, South Africa, Botswana, Ethiopia, Germany, Italy, and Mexico. His current work focuses on large-scale urban design projects that explore the confluence of ecology and urbanism. He holds a Masters of Architecture in urban design from Harvard University and has served as a part-time lecturer at the University of Southern California.

    How did your experiences at Syracuse University shape your career?

    My experience at Syracuse University, and specifically at the School of Architecture, shaped my career through three areas: a year studying abroad in Florence; an architectural education that taught me the importance of the city; and a relationship with a mentor/professor/colleague and friend that has intersected my career from freshman year through many years working and going to graduate school in Boston, and even my current job here in California.

    What was your first job after college?

    As an architect at Andrea Ponsi Architetto in Florence, Italy.

    What has been a major highlight of your career thus far?

    The ability to work internationally as well as very locally to shape cities has been an extremely rewarding experience, especially as I get to work on projects that range from working on high end developments to working with resource poor communities.

    How have you stayed involved and connected to SU?

    My connection with SU is mostly through numerous strong friendships I have made with classmates and professors from my time at SU. In fact, I spent Christmas with my freshman roommate this year.

    What are you working on now?

    I typically work on several projects at a time. Right now these include designing an entertainment district for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, planning a 6,000 acre new town in Southern California called Rancho Mission Viejo as well as a similar 2,000 acre community south of Jakarta, creating a Greening Plan for the City of Inglewood, and several mixed use communities around the US.

     

    Philip Metz '98

    Philip Metz '98

    Philip Metz '98 is the Senior Director of Entertainment Marketing and Music for NASCAR, where he builds strategic partnerships specializing in music and entertainment integrations. 

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    Philip Metz '98

    Philip Metz earned his bachelor's degree as a Speech Communication major and Music Industry minor. He now serves as the Senior Director of Entertainment Marketing and Music for NASCAR, where he builds strategic partnerships specializing in music and entertainment integrations. Prior to joining NASCAR, Metz held positions in the music industry including Sagestone Entertainment, where he co-ran the independent record label and management company. He was named to Advertising Age's annual "40 Under 40" list when he was 30-years-old.

    While at NASCAR, Metz has secured promotional partnerships around several feature films, examples include Captain America: The Winter Soldier, 22 Jump Street, Guardians of the Galaxy, Oz The Great and Powerful, Grown Ups 2, Disney's Planes, and Transformers 3. He has secured event and in-race participation with stars such as Adam Sandler, Matthew McConaughey and Channing Tatum, and music artists including the Zac Brown Band, Kelly Clarkson, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, and Lenny Kravitz, among others.

    Q: How did your experiences at Syracuse University shape your career?

    A: During my time at Syracuse, I ran the concert board where I worked with various talent agents and managers to negotiate and secure musical acts for the university, which I then promoted to the student body to garner attendance and support for the program. At NASCAR, I use some of these elements on a larger scale to propel the brand into mainstream pop culture, raising brand identity in a marketing platform that stretches across the music, film, and TV industries.

    Q: What has been a major highlight of your career thus far?

    A: One highlight of my career that stands out was in 2006 when I brokered a partnership with the award-winning Red Hot Chili Peppers to both perform at the NASCAR All Star race live on FX and feature them and their music in a NASCAR media campaign across all of our broadcast and digital partners. Because it was the Red Hot Chili Peppers we all wanted the performance to be both memorable and unique, so we had them perform the first ever mid-race concert which we titled the Red Hot Pit Stop. The performance kicked off the TV and Digital campaign where a :30 second TV spot was produced that featured both elements of this performance along with the band actually performing a Pit Stop.  To this day, the partnership stands out as a great highlight for me.

    Q: How have you stayed involved and connected to SU?

    A: Since 2012, I have spoken about NASCAR and my career to Sport Management (SPM) students from the Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics who participated in the Sport Management Immersion program in Los Angeles over spring break. In addition, I have arranged for SPM Graduate students to attend our August race weekend at Watkins Glen International and meet NASCAR industry professionals. I have also spoken twice at SU for the Bandier School as part of the Soyars Leadership Lecture Series about my career as it pertains to the music industry.

    Beth Mowins G’90

    Beth Mowins G’90

    Beth Mowins G’90 recently marked a career milestone as the first woman to call Oakland Raiders preseason games. A play-by-play commentator with ESPN, Mowins earned a master’s degree in broadcast and digital journalism from Newhouse, which awarded her the Marty Glickman Award for Leadership in Sports Media in July 2015.

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    Beth Mowins G’90

    Beth Mowins G’90, the only female play-by-play announcer in college football, recently marked another milestone in her career as the first woman to call Oakland Raiders preseason games. A play-by-play commentator with ESPN, Mowins calls men’s and women’s college basketball, and has been the voice of the NCAA Women’s College World Series for 20 years. She has called the Women’s World Cup and NCAA women’s championships in basketball, soccer, and volleyball.

    Mowins earned a master’s degree in broadcast and digital journalism from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, which awarded her the Marty Glickman Award for Leadership in Sports Media in July 2015. Fellow alumnus and acclaimed broadcaster with NBC Sports Bob Costas ’74 presented the award, which was sponsored by the Newhouse Sports Media Center.

    In 2013, Costas received the first Glickman Award, named for sportscasting pioneer Marty Glickman, a 1939 alumnus of Syracuse University. Glickman’s legacy marks the beginning of the Newhouse School’s reputation for turning out more talented sports journalists than any other program in the country.

    Recently, Mowins took time from her busy schedule to answer questions about her career, and her continuing connection to Syracuse University.

    What was your first job after college?
    I started working in local radio in Homer, New York. I got the opportunity to be a news director, sports director, reporter, and morning DJ! It was a terrific chance to learn a little about a lot, to get a wide variety of experiences in the business.

    What has been a major highlight of your career thus far?
    Most recent would be getting the chance to call Oakland Raiders preseason games. It was an incredible experience to work with the Raiders and call NFL football, and a chance to open a new door for women.

    How have your stayed involved and connected with Syracuse University?
    I have really enjoyed getting together with students and other alums at events around the country. I try to get back to campus every year to give back. It was an honor to receive the Marty Glickman Award from SU.

    What are you working on now?
    In the fall, I love to work college football with ESPN, and perhaps get a chance to see the Orange at some point this year.

    Bob Gautieri ’76

    Bob Gautieri ’76

    Bob Gautieri is a founding partner of Design On The Fly—a creative alliance responsible innovating on-air looks for awards shows including The Academy Awards and The Emmy Awards, and the design and production of memorable main titles, graphics and promotional campaigns for entities such as ESPN, Showtine, CBS and NBC.

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    Bob Gautieri ’76

    From his first moment stepping through the doors of Newhouse 2 as a freshman, Bob Gautieri was captivated by the television industry. Since then, the founding partner of Design On The Fly has made a career of working in television and maintains his Orange bond by connecting with other alumni around the LA region.


    Tell us briefly about your career path and where you are today.

    Immediately after graduation, I traveled to Los Angeles and began working as a post-production supervisor, and later, as a promo producer for Sullivan & Marks, a company that exclusively created on-air promotional spots for ABC. I then left for NBC, as manager, On-Air Promotion, where I created and produced on-air prime time promos, as well as the award winning fall campaign, “NBC Proud as a Peacock,” which reintroduced the iconic peacock back to television. After heading the promotion departments at Beck/Davidson and Premiere Cable, I returned to ABC, first as manager of ABC Daytime Promotion and, later, as creative director of Current Series Promotion, responsible for prime-time promotion. There I helped create the award winning prime-time campaigns “You Love it on ABC” and “Together.”  

    In 1986, I went on my own and formed G-Man Productions, which expanded into the areas of show production, interstitial programming, promotion, and graphic main-title design for such clients as Dick Clark Productions, The Disney Channel, Don Mischer Productions, and Brad Lachman Productions. In 1994, Design On The Fly was formed—a creative alliance between myself and designer Kelly Shelly. Since then, we have created on-air looks for numerous award shows, including The Academy Awards, The Emmy Awards, and The American Music Awards. In addition, Design On The Fly has created main titles, graphics, and promotional campaigns for ESPN, Showtime, CBS, ABC Daytime, ABC News, ABC Family, Animal Planet, Reelz Channel, Dick Clark Productions, and numerous Fox specials.    

    When you look back on your life, what has your SU experience meant to you?

    My SU experience meant everything to me then and continues to today. It made me grow up, to put it mildly, and expanded my horizons. It taught me to think, and how to react in society, at a more educated level than ever before. It first taught me the skills that I still use today, intellectually and practically.

    I was there for the opening of Newhouse 2, and with all of the cutting-edge equipment and facilities provided, it gave all of us hands-on involvement and taught us to work with people, that later translated to my professional workplace. We were using the same equipment at ABC as we were in Syracuse! Also, in terms of the overall experience, the professors demanded a high level of success and fellow students often motivated each other. To be in that large pool of talent can be intimidating as a 17-year-old, but I think we all rose quickly to improve our game. And yes, the social experience was outstanding--maybe not so much at football games back then—but basketball was great!  

    What successes in your life do you attribute to SU?

    Syracuse taught me to be prepared, to take nothing for granted, to master my craft and not rush through it, and motivated me on how to think and, more importantly, how to listen. That translates to all the aspects of my life. Although some would say I have to work on the listening part!

    How did SU change your life and help you get to where you are today? 

    I came from a small town in Connecticut and, upon arriving at Syracuse and looking at the Hall of Languages, intimidation flooded my body and I actually said, “I’ll never make it here.” My cousin overheard me (he was working on his doctorate at SU) and immediately pointed to me and said “I never want to hear that again.” I think that message of “you can do it” resonated throughout my years there and, because of my professors, my fellow students in the classroom, as well as in my social life, it gave me the confidence to conquer anything I desired.

    From that first moment on campus, and stepping through the doors of Newhouse 2, I was captured by the television industry. By being on a campus this enormous and diverse, I learned to work with large numbers of people. It first uncovered who I am, what I wanted, and how to get it. It simply made me the person I am today. And when that happens, the enormity of the campus transforms into a more intimate experience. Working on complex live shows such as The American Music Awards, where there are hundreds of people who depend on each other, where mistakes are not tolerated, that early learning experience at Syracuse comes into play every day. And each of those high-level, world-wide shows become intimate experiences, just like my days at Syracuse.

    What is your favorite memory of Syracuse University? 

    My favorite memory at Syracuse can’t be articulated in one phrase. It’s everything—discovering my professional passion, learning from professors, meeting the best friends in my life, marveling at the buildings while I walked on campus, experiencing great sports memories, going to concerts, marching at political rallies, eating Varsity pizza. I really had to pinch myself believing I was there. I only wish college lasted longer. My parents were glad it didn’t!

    As an alum in the LA region, how have you enjoyed connecting with other alumni in the area? 

    Since SULA (Syracuse University Los Angeles) has been here, it has really helped to connect alumni. When I first moved to LA in 1976, I think there were only a handful of us that made the trip, and most moved back. There was nothing like SULA then. When we were in college, and for a large part in my professional life, there have been times when competition pitted us against each other. I think SULA has brought together alumni in its true form, knowing that we are more powerful if we help each other. It is so important that Syracuse maintain a strong presence in Los Angeles. Newhouse, I believe, is the best school in the country and needs to have a large footprint in this area, not just New York. It’s not about just getting a degree from Syracuse, it’s about doing something with it in the entertainment capital. I got the chance to work with great alums like producer Gil Cates on the Oscars. It was a terrific bond, and in part due to Syracuse. It is rewarding for me to see more students taking the risk to come out here. I've connected with younger alums and worked together with them, and that experience is really terrific also. And through the various events held in LA, the SU staffs are really doing a great service to bring alumni together.

    Why do you think it is important to help future students get their start at SU by making SU part of your philanthropic priorities?

    I got the chance of a lifetime to go to Syracuse. It changed my life. It is still changing it, as I now have wonderful friends back on campus to collaborate on projects, whether it be designing logos, helping on a video/film project, lecturing, or simply donating. The educational experience, developing our minds—that’s what makes us who we are. I want someone to have that experience at Syracuse like I did, to create those ideas, to have that dream. I believe in paying it forward, and if I can help out or influence one person at SU, it’s an honor to do that. And hopefully they will continue that tradition.

    Rob Edwards ’85

    Rob Edwards ’85

    Rob Edwards ’85 is an Emmy nominee and writer of two Oscar-nominated films. He has written for TV shows such as “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” “Full House,” “In Living Color,” and “Studio 60,” as well as the feature films “Treasure Planet” and “The Princess and the Frog.”

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    Rob Edwards ’85

    Rob Edwards has been writing for film and television for the last 30 years. He is an Emmy-nominated writer whose credits include Full House, In Living Color, Roc and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. His work in animated feature writing includes Disney’s Oscar-nominated The Princess and the Frog and Treasure Planet, where he worked alongside the celebrated writer/director duo Ron Clements and John Musker. His most recent project The Santa Story is slated for a December 2015 release.

    In 2012, Rob and a small team launched his website (robedwards.net) where he provides the tools and tricks that he has learned over the years to aspiring and professional screenwriters. Rob is committed to eradicating bad screenwriting—one individual at a time. His passion for teaching has led him to hold Master Classes or lectures at top institutions or expos such as the: Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, Syracuse University, UC Riverside, CTN Expo, UCLA, Boston University Los Angeles, Howard University (Washington DC), The Organization of Black Screenwriters, The Screenwriters World Conference, Digital Hollywood, The Scriptwriters Network and The Writers Store to name a few. 

    Q: How did your experiences at Syracuse University shape your career?

    A: At SU I got to study under fantastic writers like Tobias Wolff and Douglas Unger and filmmakers like Owen Shapiro. I also got to compare myself against some truly talented student filmmakers. As a professional, I’ve worked with many of the acting students I studied with at school. In fact, the story for The Princess and the Frog was by two SU alumni and I cast an alumni friend as one of the alligators.

    Q: What was your first job after college?

    A: My father was a doctor and he told me that, if I wasn't making a living nine months after Syracuse, I was going to have to go to med school and go into business with him. Not a bad life, but not the life I wanted. I had to hit the ground running so I got a job delivering supplies on the CBS Radford lot in Studio City. It was the lowest rung on the entertainment industry totem pole, but I got to meet all of the producers who worked on the lot and that quickly became an asset.

    Q: What has been a major highlight of your career thus far?

    A: I'd have to say The Princess and the Frog, with “The Fresh Prince” a close second. I had a ball working on Frog; I got to work with many of my heroes in the animation world and, as an added bonus, I've thoroughly enjoyed everything that's happened since that movie came out. I just love seeing the excited faces of kids—and adults—when they find out I worked on it. And, best of all, I still laugh and cry every time I see it.

    Q: How have you stayed involved and connected to SU?

    A: Oh, yeah. I was the President of the SU Alumni Club in Southern California. We won a national award for a program called "The Soft Landing" where new graduates could meet alumni from their fields of study, hear about the city they've moved to and get banking and housing information, a chance to socialize with other alumni and get a warm introduction to the alumni club. I understand it was the basis for what is now SUccess in the City.

    I've also been speaking to students who visit LA from both VPA and Newhouse every year for the past 25 years. And I go back to SU regularly to give workshops for the Syracuse Film Festival and do one on one sessions with film students.

    Q: What are you working on now?

    I have two movies coming out next year, I'm writing two books on animation for Focal Press and I have a few screenplays that look like they might sell sometime in the next few weeks. The thing about most projects in Hollywood is that I can't get more specific than that until the projects are officially announced and well into production. But I'll be sure to circle back and let you know what I can, when I can. Once in a blue moon I come out of my writing cave and give a Master Class.

     

     

     

     

    Rob La Plante ’98

    Rob La Plante ’98

    Rob La Plante is an executive vice president and co-owner of Lighthearted Entertainment, the reality TV production company behind MTV’s “Are You the One?” and Vh1’s “Dating Naked” and “Bye Felicia!” His credits include, "The Apprentice," "The Real World," "Road Rules," and "Obsessed."

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    Rob La Plante ’98

    Rob La Plante graduated from Syracuse University with duel bachelor’s degrees in TV/Film Production and Marketing. He began his television career casting through the ranks of Bunim-Murray Productions, eventually landing at Mark Burnett Productions, face-to-face with Omarosa when casting her for the first season of “The Apprentice.” La Plante worked on 4 seasons of “The Real World” (Hawaii, New Orleans, Chicago, NY2) and corresponding seasons of “Road Rules.” After casting the first 4 seasons of “The Apprentice,” “For Love or Money” and “Dog Eat Dog,” he firmed his grip on production and post through his work as a producer on all three network shows, including 6 seasons on “The Apprentice,” one of which garnered him an Emmy Nomination for “Best Reality Competition Series.”

    La Plante then spent three years as the VP of Development at Tijuana Entertainment, creating and supervising the development and production of of A&E’s “Obsessed” and MTV’s “Is She Really Going Out With Him,” both of which he served as Executive Producer.

    La Plante joined the team at Lighthearted Entertainment in 2011 as Executive Vice President. Under his leadership Lighthearted has enjoyed considerable growth with MTV’s “Are You the One?” and Vh1’s “Dating Naked” and “Bye Felicia!”

    Q: How did your experiences at Syracuse University shape your career?
    A: Syracuse prepared me in the best way possible. My education both in and out of the classroom endowed me with practical knowledge with real-world value and application. In addition to learning more about what I love, I also learned the skills necessary to succeed in this industry.

    Q: What was your first job after college?
    A: A production assistant on low-budget TV shows

    Q: What has been a major highlight of your career thus far?
    A: Achieving my goal of owning a successful production company has been the most satisfying experience of my career.

    Q: How have you stayed involved and connected to SU?
    A: I have hired dozens of alumni over the years and they keep me very aware of all things Orange. I like staying updated and hearing how Syracuse prepares its students for various facets of the entertainment industry.

    Q: What are you working on now?
    A: We have four unscripted shows in production: “Are You the One” on MTV (third season), “Dating Naked” on VH1 (second season), “Twinning” on VH1 (first season), and “Labor Games” on TLC (first season).

    Alexis Korycinski ’07

    Alexis Korycinski ’07

    Alexis Korycinski graduated with a degree in Musical Theater from the school of Visual and Performing Arts. She's directed narrative films and documentary programming and is now a fellow of the prestigious American Film Institute Directing Workshop for Women (AFI DWW).

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    Alexis Korycinski ’07

    Alexis Korycinski has come a long way since attending Syracuse University as a musical theater major in the school of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA). Since graduating, she’s gone on to direct narrative films and documentary programming for the History Channel, TLC, Travel Channel, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and The Society of Camera Operator Awards. Most recently, Korycinski was selected as one of five participants in Warner Bros. Emerging Film Directors Workshop. Korycinski is also a fellow of the prestigious American Film Institute Directing Workshop for Women (AFI DWW) where she produced and directed a short film, “The Haircut.” She’s found her way in the filmmaking world but Alexis started like many of us, as a student figuring out her path.

    How did your experiences at Syracuse University shape your career?
    When I was a junior I was accepted to participate in the inaugural Sorkin Week program through VPA. It really changed my life and it put me on another pathway. We did table reads and master classes and Aaron Sorkin offered me an internship. That’s when I knew I wanted to be a narrative director. When I got back to Syracuse for my senior year I started taking more Newhouse classes to learn more about TV and film.

    I was also in the drama school as a musical theater major and that was amazing. I really got to experiment and grow and it really taught me the language of acting. It gave me the skills to be comfortable and to articulate what I’m experiencing with my actors and to get the performance I need as a director. I made really great friends at Syracuse too, people that I still keep in touch with and have been able to work with professionally.

    What was your first job after college?
    While I was in Los Angeles my junior year for Sorkin Week, Aaron Sorkin offered me an internship with Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. That’s where I met Thomas Schlamme who hired me as his second assistant right out of college. I worked for his show Life on Mars on set and in the office. That’s where I really gathered a lot of knowledge about the business. It was an amazing opportunity! I saw the magic of the camera and what filmmaking is, the whole process from casting to script to shooting and post. It was eye opening for me.

    After that I started doing freelance documentary work and I had the opportunity to go to the Sundance Film Festival, which led me to my first directing project, Defining Beauty: Ms. Wheelchair America. I was very interested in giving an underrepresented group a voice and the subject matter and documentary work was a perfect combination and natural fit for me. Working on that project for four years led to more work in documentaries and since then I’ve moved on to experiment with scripted narratives.

    What has been a major highlight of your career thus far?
    Winning the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Newport Beach Film Festival for Defining Beauty. I love creating and I love collaborating with friends. That was a big moment. Another highlight has been directing and producing “The Haircut.” We had over 100 crewmembers, the biggest crew I’d ever run. Being on set and working with actors, that’s when I realized that I could do this forever, as a career.

    How have you stayed involved and connected to SU?
    After college I was the vice president of programming for the Alumni Club of Southern California (SoCalOrange). I planned the Danny Zuker event for the Syracuse University Los Angeles (SULA) Semester program. Now I’m on the alumni club board and I’m constantly going to SULA events and helping Joan Adler with anything she needs. Years ago my feature documentary, Defining Beauty, was shown at the Syracuse International Film Festival and that’s when I met my husband. Syracuse has been a special place for me.

    What are you working on next?
    Right now I’m working on turning The Haircut into a feature film. It’s so exciting. I’ve also been reading scripts to figure out what my next project will be. I’ve read 14 in the last 3 or 4 weeks. The Haircut is hitting the festival circuit this year too. I have a great team of producers around me and I hope we grow together and that we’ll be working together in the next five years.

    By Whitney Marin

    Whitney Marin is a senior television, radio and film and public policy dual major.

    Michael Cardamone ’04

    Michael Cardamone ’04

    Michael Cardamone is Managing Director and General Partner of Acceleprise San Francisco, an enterprise software-focused startup accelerator based in SF.

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    Michael Cardamone ’04

    Michael Cardamone is managing director and general partner of Acceleprise San Francisco, an enterprise software-focused startup accelerator. Before joining Acceleprise, he was an early employee on the business development team at Box and more recently led business development and partner marketing at AcademixDirect. He has made several angel investments and is an advisor to other startups. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Syracuse University and a master’s in business administration from Columbia University. He is the former co-president of Syracuse University’s Northern California alumni club.

    Who was your favorite SU professor? Dr. Michael Morris. He was very energetic and passionate about teaching entrepreneurship.

    When was the last time you visited campus? In 2012 for my sister’s graduation from Syracuse.

    When did you move to the West Coast? I moved to San Francisco in 2008 after graduating from my MBA program at Columbia to pursue a career in technology.

    What do you remember most about SU? Great people, great sports, a lot of fun, and an incredible learning experience in academics and life.

    Mike Cardamone SU Kids
    Deborah Irmas '72

    Deborah Irmas '72

    Deborah Irmas's career as an art professional encompasses several disciplines: independent curator, art writer, and both commercial and non-profit gallery director, college instructor, and documentary film producer.

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    Deborah Irmas '72

    Deborah Irmas's career as an art professional encompasses several disciplines: independent curator, art writer, and both commercial and non-profit gallery director, college instructor, and documentary film producer.

    In the late 1970s, Irmas began building a collection of historic and contemporary photographic self-portraiture for her family. Gifted in the early 1990s to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the photographic collection is exhibited regularly and is documented in the publication, The Camera I: Photographs from the Audrey and Sydney Irmas Collection. Other photography exhibitions and publications have explored the work of William Mortensen and Sophie Calle, and surveillance in contemporary art practice.

    In 1985, Irmas curated a permanent collections exhibition for the 50th anniversary of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art on the iconography of modern photography, entitled Signs of the Times. She also served as the interim director of the Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art. While living in France, Irmas wrote about art for several publications, including Frieze, Art and Auction, Artnet.com, and Vogue Hommes Internationale, as well as catalogue essays for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Hammer Museum. In the mid-1990s, Irmas directed the photography department of Pace Wildenstein, Los Angeles. In 2006, she produced Tell Me Cuba, a documentary film about U.S./Cuban relations.

    For Syracuse University, Irmas serves on the College of Visual and Performing Arts' Advisory Council and was a featured participant in the first Ginsburg-Klaus Art in Los Angeles Practicum Week in March 2010. She is also a member of UCLA’s Royce Center Circle Board and the International Advisory Board of the Museum of Latin American Art, and is a trustee of the Audrey and Sydney Irmas Charitable Foundation.

    Jason Blumenthal ’90

    Jason Blumenthal ’90

    Jason Blumenthal, a producer and partner in the film company Escape Artists, joined Wizan/Black Films after graduating from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.

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    Jason Blumenthal ’90

    Jason Blumenthal, a producer and partner in the film company Escape Artists, joined Wizan/Black Films after graduating from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.

    At Wizan/Black, Blumenthal was involved with the development and production of Iron Eagle II, Split Decisions, The Guardian, Short Time and Class Act. The company executive produced Becoming Colette, Fire in the Sky, Wrestling Ernest Hemingway, Dunston Checks In, A Family Thing, and Bio Dome. Blumenthal served as senior vice president of feature production at Mandalay Entertainment, a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment, from the company's inception in 1995 through March 1998. During his tenure, he managed Mandalay's production slate, which included such films as The Fan, Donnie Brasco, and Seven Years in Tibet. The company also produced I Know What You Did Last Summer, as well as its sequel, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. Blumenthal also oversaw Les Miserables and Deep End of the Ocean. 

    In April 1998, Blumenthal and his partner, Todd Black, formed Black & Blu Entertainment and entered into a first-look production deal with Sony Pictures Entertainment. In 2001, Black & Blu merged with the Steve Tisch Company to become Escape Artists, while still maintaining their Sony deal. Escape Artists has since produced A Knight's Tale and Antwone Fisher. Blumenthal is credited as producer of The Back-up Plan, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, and The Pursuit of Happyness, and as a writer for the film Bio-Dome.

    Paul James ’03

    Paul James ’03

    A stage, screen and television actor, Paul James is best known for his portrayal of the character Calvin in the ABC Family television series Greek, receiving an NAACP nomination for outstanding actor in a comedy series for the role.

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    Paul James ’03

    Best known for his portrayal of the character Calvin in the ABC Family television series Greek, Paul James received an NAACP nomination for outstanding actor in a comedy series for the role. His other television credits include parts in such shows as Lie to Me, Bones, NCIS: Los Angeles, CSI: Miami, Without a Trace, and Cold Case.

    James has also appeared in several films, including Spinning into Butter, The Architect, and Cry Wolf. His theater credits include Moontel Six at the O’Neill Playwrights Conference; West Side Story and Romeo and Juliet, both at Syracuse Stage; and Dutchman and The Adventures of Harlequin at the Hangar Theatre.

    James earned a bachelor of fine arts degree at Syracuse University and, while a student, appeared as the title character in the SU Drama Department production Othello and as Horatio in Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead.

    Fred Silverman ’58

    Fred Silverman ’58

    Fred Silverman is the only individual to have run the programming of all three original television networks—ABC, CBS, and NBC. Today, he is president of The Fred Silverman Company, the multifaceted production and program consulting firm he founded in 1982.

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    Fred Silverman ’58

    Fred Silverman is the only individual to have run the programming of all three original television networks—ABC, CBS, and NBC. Today, he is president of The Fred Silverman Company, the multifaceted production and program consulting firm he founded in 1982. Most recently, he concluded a two-year arrangement with ABC Entertainment, where he consulted on program planning and scheduling.

    Silverman is renowned as the executive producer of such popular network television series as Diagnosis Murder, In the Heat of the Night, Father Dowling Mysteries, Matlock, Jake and the Fat Man, and The Perry Mason Mystery Movies. He also served as executive producer of Bedtime, an adult comedy serial that aired on Showtime; Bone Chillers, a comedy/horror show that was seen on ABC; and the classic game show Twenty One for NBC.

    Before forming his company, Silverman was president and chief executive officer of NBC. During his three-year tenure, he brought to the air a number of notable programs, including the Emmy-winning miniseries Shōgun; such weekly series as Hill Street Blues, St. Elsewhere, Facts of Life, Diff’rent Strokes, Gimme a Break, Fame, and Smurfs. He made the series commitment that led to Cheers, pioneered entertainment reality programming with the 1979 launch of Real People, introduced David Letterman in his own network television series, and created cultural television events, which included Live from Studio 8H and NBC Live Theatre.

    Silverman also revitalized the NBC News division, which resulted in Today and NBC Nightly News achieving parity with their competition for the first time in years. He created a new FM radio division, with competitive full-service stations in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. Silverman also reintroduced the peacock as NBC’s corporate logo.

    Before becoming president of NBC, Silverman was the president of ABC Entertainment and was responsible for programming such landmark productions as Roots and Rich Man, Poor Man. He approved such long-running series as Three’s Company, Eight is Enough, Laverne & Shirley, What’s Happening, Vegas, Charlie’s Angels, Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, Bionic Woman, Battlestar Galactica, Donny & Marie, Soap, Family Feud, and the Emmy-winning news program, Good Morning America. It was during this period that Silverman brought ABC’s ratings from third to first place.

    Silverman served as vice-president of programs at CBS for five years, before joining ABC. During his tenure at CBS, Silverman brought to the small screen such programs as The Mary Tyler Moore Show, All in the Family, M*A*S*H, The Waltons, Kojak, Maude, Bob Newhart, The Jeffersons, Sonny and Cher, Cannon, Barnaby Jones, Rhoda, One Day at a Time, Good Times, Charlie Brown and Dr. Seuss animated specials, Scooby-Doo, The Young and the Restless, The Joker’s Wild, and The Price is Right.

    Silverman earned a bachelor’s degree at Syracuse University in 1958, is a former member of the University’s Board of Trustees, and has been awarded the Chancellor’s Medal. He earned a master’s degree in television and theater arts from Ohio State University.

    Silverman has received numerous honors, including induction into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame, the Man of the Year Award from the National Association of Television Program Executives, the Man of the Year Achievement Award from the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, and the Richard Rogers Award from the Professional Children’s School of New York for “skilled leadership in raising the level of commercial television entertainment.”

    Silverman lives in Los Angeles with his wife, the former Cathy Kihn. They have two children, Melissa Anne and William Lawrence.

    Caitlin Well ’08

    Caitlin Well ’08

    Caitlin Well is a casting associate for the Warner Bros. Feature Casting Department. Well has had the privilege of working with esteemed directors such as Baz Luhrmann, Ben Affleck, Zack Snyder, George Miller, and the Wachowskis, among others.

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    Caitlin Well ’08

    Caitlin Well is a casting associate for the Warner Bros. Feature Casting Department under executive vice president Lora Kennedy, and senior vice president Kristy Carlson. Well began her career in casting as an assistant to Casting Director Ronna Kress after briefly interning for Alyssa Weisberg. She also worked for Bestrop/Yanklewitz Casting before becoming an associate at Warner Bros. in 2011. Caitlin has worked with such esteemed directors as Baz Luhrmann, Ben Affleck, Zack Snyder, George Miller, and the Wachowskis, among others. Some of her film credits include Frankenweenie, The Lucky One, Happy Feet 2, and Man of Steel. She has also overseen the casting of various Warner Bros. projects, including Argo, Cloud Atlas, and Winter's Tale, Fury Road, 300: Rise of an Empire, All You Need Is Kill, and This is Where I Leave You. 

    Well earned a bachelor’s degree in communications/television/radio/film, with a minor in acting. She took the time answer to the following questions:

    What do you remember most about SU?

    The people. I’m still best friends with a lot of the people in my major, many of whom worked in the Newhouse edit suites and/or took senior thesis with me. A bunch of us moved out to LA after graduation and still see each other on a regular basis. A couple of us even work on the WB lot together!

    Who was your favorite professor while at SU?

    Professor Schoonmaker was very influential. When I toured the campus for the first time as a high school student, I sat in on his Television Production class, which solidified for me that I wanted to go to Syracuse and pursue television and film. Four years later, I took that class with Schoony and it was absolutely one of the best college experiences I had, which ultimately shaped my career path.

    Why did you move to California?

    I interned in both NYC and LA before I graduated, and that real world experience made me realize that most of the creative jobs in the entertainment industry that I was interested in pursuing were all based in LA. Plus, the alumni ties in LA are very strong, and I was confident that they would lead to big opportunities, which they did!

    When was the last time that you visited the campus?

    Sadly, I haven’t been back since graduation, but my parents are diehard ’Cuse basketball fans and go every year!

    Evan Weinstein ’84

    Evan Weinstein ’84

    Evan Weinstein has been working in television for 25 years, writing, producing and directing in many different genres of Reality TV. He was a Co-Executive Producer, Director and Writer on The Amazing Race, for which he won 7 Emmys, a Directors Guild Award and a Producer’s Guild Award.

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    Evan Weinstein ’84

    Evan Weinstein has been working in television for 25 years, writing, producing and directing in many different genres of Reality TV. He was a co-executive producer, director and writer on the first 18 cycles of The Amazing Race, for which he won seven Emmy Awards, a Directors Guild Award, and a Producer’s Guild Award.

    He created a web-based Branded Entertainment reality show as part of Budweiser’s sponsorship efforts at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. The series, Bud House, filmed in Cape Town, aired daily on a worldwide branded channel for the entire four weeks of World Cup, featuring a cast from 32 countries speaking 14 different languages, and generating over 1 million Facebook fans. He redesigned Bud House to be a more highly interactive, multi-platform digital experience for FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil.

    Following the success of Bud House, Budweiser contracted Weinstein to create and produce two additional series: The Big Time, a reality-competition series that aired on ABC, and Dream On, a docu-soap about an English soccer team that aired on NBC Sports Network, ESPN UK, and various networks throughout the world.

    Weinstein was also executive producer/show runner of Soap Net’s The Fashionista Diaries and VH1’s Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. He worked with Storyline Entertainment (producers of the feature films Chicago and Hairspray) to produce and direct a musical pilot for CBS, and helped to launch History Channel’s first docu-soap, the racecar series Madhouse. Other credits as a writer, producer and/or director include network series Paradise Hotel, Profiles From The Front Line, Before They Were Stars, and America’s Funniest People, as well as History Channel’s The Most, A&E’s Top Ten, Paramount Syndication’s Wild Things, The Suzanne Somers Show, the news magazine series Extra, and History Channel’s two-hour documentary, The Apostle Paul. He directed an award-winning production of the stage musical, Candide, which starred fellow SU alum and current drama department teacher, Tim Davis-Reed.

    Weinstein serves as a co-executive producer on Syfy Channel’s reality hit, Robot Combat League. He holds a bachelor of fine arts degree in drama from Syracuse University and a diploma of music from New York’s “famed” High School of Performing Arts. He took the time to answer the following questions:

    What do you remember most about SU?

    For me, the most memorable thing about my time at SU was the ability to truly pursue my love of theater in an environment that nurtured all of us as creative individuals. There were many opportunities available for anyone who chose to take advantage of them, and the professors really supported my pursuit of directing. Included in the generally supportive environment is a memorable group of people–students and faculty–who came together to create a robust and artistic college experience filled with good times, creative spirit and a sense of belonging to a fantastic community.

    Who was your favorite professor while at SU?

    I had the good fortune to be taught by many fantastic professors who were truly dedicated to making all of us the best we could be by allowing us to explore our creativity in a non-judgmental environment. They gave hugely to all of us and many made a tremendous impact on me…but, the one professor who truly took me under his wing and became my mentor was Arthur Storch. I was one of only a few directing majors and the only one truly interested in “commercial” theater projects and I believe he took a liking to me because that was his particular area of expertise as well. He went well out of his way to give me many opportunities that others had not had before, and made sure that each of these unique chances also became genuine learning experiences for me. He was the teacher who had the greatest impact on my life and career, and his recent death brought me great sadness.

    Why did you move to California?

    I moved to California in 1987 because the theater scene in New York had been stuck in particularly stagnant place for several years. There just were not the right opportunities for a young person wanting to direct commercial theater, so I threw in the towel, moved to Los Angeles and started from the bottom rung of the TV business, learning everything as I went because I hadn’t studied any of it in school.

    When was the last time that you visited the campus?

    My last time on campus at SU was in May 2005, when I delivered the convocation address for VPA during graduation weekend. That was the first time I had visited the campus since the winter of 1987, a few months before I moved to California.

    Eric German ’92

    Eric German ’92

    Eric German is a partner at Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp, where he specializes in Entertainment Litigation and Intellectual Property & Technology law.

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    Eric German ’92

    Eric German is a partner at Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp where he specializes in entertainment litigation and intellectual property and technology law. He is responsible for the day-to-day representation and counseling of various artists, record labels, music publishing companies, video game publishers, and fashion and apparel brands.

    German has played an integral role in a number of intellectual property law cases; successfully obtained summary judgment on behalf of the motion picture industry in its suit against the manufacturer of DVD-copying software for violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and successfully representing the recording industry in its copyright infringement lawsuits against KaZaA, Grokster, and Napster P2P file-sharing services. As a result of his work, in 2005, 2010, and 2012, he was named among the top 5% of Southern California lawyers by Southern California Super Lawyers.

    For the past four years, German as served as an adjunct professor for Syracuse University's Los Angeles Semester program where he teaches Law for Music and Entertainment and Reconciling Arts and Commerce. Active with SU on the West Coast, he serves as a board member with the Syracuse University Alumni Club in Southern California, and as co-chair for the Southern California Chapter of A2IM.

    German graduated from Syracuse University in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree in television/radio/film. He continued his education at Boston University School of Law where he worked as note editor for the Boston University Law Review, and graduated magna cum laude.

    He took the time to answer the following questions:

    What do you remember most about SU?

    The friends and the good times.

    Who was your favorite professors while at SU?

    Michael Schoonmaker; Robert Thompson.

    Why did you move to California?

    Took work with artists and the entertainment business and to join my law firm.

    Andrew Gumpert ’89

    Andrew Gumpert ’89

    Andrew Gumpert is president of Worldwide Business Affairs and Operations for Columbia Pictures, overseeing all theatrical business affairs negotiations for the company’s theatrical motion picture side.

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    Andrew Gumpert ’89

    Andrew Gumpert is president of worldwide business affairs and operations for Columbia Pictures. He oversees all theatrical business affairs negotiations for the company’s theatrical motion picture side. His deal making includes negotiations with actors, actresses, and behind the camera talent, including producers, writers, and directors. Additionally, he also works to acquire the screen rights for screenplays and books from writers and authors, which are then developed into feature films.

    Grumpert plays an integral role in negotiating co-financing arrangements for feature films, as well as the distribution agreements for those films, for both the domestic and international markets. The hit feature films he has been actively involved with include Angels and Demons, The Karate Kid, Salt, Social Network, Smurfs, 2012, Men in Black 3, The Amazing Spiderman with Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, and the James Bond box office hit Skyfall with Daniel Craig.

    A native of Scarsdale, New York, Grumpert attended Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Public Communications, graduating in 1989, and then attended law school at American University’s Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C., graduating in 1992. He started his professional career in Los Angeles as a business litigator with an emphasis on intellectual property litigation at the law firm Hill, Wynne Troop and Meisinger. In early 1995, joined Columbia Pictures’ legal affairs department where he was responsible for drafting a wide array of motion picture production, distribution and finance agreements. In 1998, he joined Miramax Films (then headed by Bob and Harvey Weinstein) as senior vice president of business and legal affairs. After seven years with Miramax, he returned to Columbia as its head of business affairs.

    He took the time to respond to the following questions:

    What do you remember most about SU?

    Besides the snow… the incredible education, lifelong friendships created, and the pain and anguish I felt when Keith Smart hit the winning game jumper in the 1987 NCAA Championship game, giving Indiana a 74/73 win over the Orange.

    Who was your favorite professor while at SU?

    I completely remember it was Com 505, Communications Law, Professor Sparks.

    Why did you move to California?

    The entertainment business.

    Linda Di Meglio ’89

    Linda Di Meglio ’89

    Linda Di Meglio brings more than 20 years of experience in hospitality management and special-event planning in the entertainment industry to the four star luxury InterContinental Hotel.

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    Linda Di Meglio ’89

    A native of New York, Linda Di Meglio brings more than 20 years of experience in hospitality management and special-event planning in the entertainment industry to the four star luxury InterContinental Hotel. In her role as sales manager for the sports, entertainment, and legal markets, Di Meglio draws heavily on her theatrical background in musical comedy and stage, where she was both a performer and producer.

    Di Meglio came to the hotel from the Los Angeles Convention Center, where she held the position of senior director of sales and marketing for the food and beverage division. Major clients included the popular E3 Electronics Expo Convention, Microsoft, LA Auto Show, Anime Expo and the Grammy and Emmy Awards.

    Prior to that, she served as the director of special events for Raleigh Studios, the largest independent film, television and commercial studio group in the country. While there, she was responsible for special-event production for both the Hollywood and Manhattan Beach lots.

    Di Meglio also worked at Sony Pictures Entertainment for nearly eight years, helping to produce some of the highest quality events in Hollywood as a manager and director of dining services and special events. While at Sony, she had total responsibility for the eight hospitality operations with budgets totaling $10 million, ranging from fine dining to fast food, in addition to a more than $2 million catering and special-events department. She also did a short stint as general manager of food and beverage for The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

    Di Meglio's professional affiliations include membership in Meeting Planners International and the Los Angeles Convention & Visitors Bureau. She is also certified in food service sanitation by the National Restaurant Food Safety Association, and CPR and Standard First Aid from the AHA. Di Meglio earned a bachelor's degree in public relations from the S.I. Newhouse School of Communications, as well as a certificate of completion in hotel and restaurant management from Syracuse University.

    She took the time to answer the following questions:

    What do you remember most about SU?

    Opening concert on the Quad, “ORLEANS,” commencement speaker Tom Brokaw. Worked my way through school as student dining services employee (Brockway). Started student musical theatre group Syracuse University Musical Stages (SUMS) with classmate Mike Gill. I was also NFL football star Art Monk’s junior year student English tutor!

    Who were your favorite professors while at SU?

    Rick and Jay Wright!

    Why did you move to LA?

    To work in the entertainment industry.

    When was the last time that you visited the campus?

    February 2012—UCONN game @ the Carrier Dome!

    Dwight Caines ’87

    Dwight Caines ’87

    As president of worldwide digital marketing at Sony Pictures, Dwight Caines manages all strategic and creative aspects of digital campaign development for the studio's film titles across the globe.

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    Dwight Caines ’87

    As president of worldwide digital marketing at Sony Pictures, Dwight Caines manages all strategic and creative aspects of digital campaign development for the studio's film titles across the globe. He leverages global digital media spending and institutional knowledge cross-divisionally, and drives the overall portal strategy for Sonypictures.com and Sonypictures.net.

    Caines also provides strategic oversight to Imageworks Interactive, Sony Pictures’ full-service agency that specializes in the extension of entertainment brands in the digital space. Caines has worked on more than 200 digital campaigns, including promotional efforts for some of the biggest theatrical hits of modern times, including the Spider-Man franchise, The Da Vinci Code, Casino Royale, Superbad, District 9, The Karate Kid, and The Social Network.

    He previously worked at JP Morgan Chase, where he played an instrumental part in the development of the company's online banking business by launching and managing its first customer service center dedicated to internet banking clients. For his accomplishments in service excellence, Caines was nominated for the company's prestigious Excalibur Award.

    An accomplished presenter and speaker at both digital and entertainment industry events, Caines’ portfolio of work has earned him honors that include The Hollywood Reporter’s Key Art Awards, a Clio Award, and Webby Awards. In 2009, he became the fifth marketer to receive the iMedia Visionary Marketer Award. The iMedia community also acknowledged his accomplishments in 2010 by naming him one of 25 “Internet Marketing Leaders and Innovators.”

    In 2010, The Internationalist Magazine named him as one of 18 “Internationalists of the Year”. A member of The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, he earned a bachelor’s degree in electronic media production from Syracuse University. He took the time to answer the following questions:

    What do you remember most about SU?

    My semester studying media abroad in London.

    Who was your favorite professor while at SU?

    David Hollenback

    Why did you move to LA?

    I accepted a job as director of market research for Sony Pictures Entertainment.

    Don Andres ’68

    Don Andres ’68

    Don Andres works as a strategic and management consultant with APR, Inc., Burdeshaw Associates Ltd., and the CMU Software Engineering Institute.

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    Don Andres ’68

    Don Andres works as a strategic and management consultant with APR, Inc., Burdeshaw Associates Ltd., and the CMU Software Engineering Institute. He is responsible for the strategic direction of the mission area focusing on United States Air Force capability needs to support business growth by identifying viable opportunities in such areas as command and control, weather, and enterprise management. He also the senior mentor for the creation of the market area campaign plans for the division's business areas and the multi-sector environmental mission area. He has extensive knowledge of the government acquisition process.

    Andres has held several leadership and management positions in general management, program management, business development, and process improvement during his 35 years at TRW/Northrop Grumman. Prior to his last position, he was the deputy general manager of the Space and Missile Systems Division, an organization of over $800M in sales. His responsibilities included overall management functions, profit and loss, resource allocations, performance reviews, and program assessments.

    His career highlights include serving as TRW's program manager for the Command Center Processing and Display System Replacement Program, and as project manager for Command and Control Software on the ICBM MINUTEMAN Command Data Buffer Program. He was recognized with the TRW Chairman's Award for Innovation for conceptualization and successful implementation of a new software management process system in 1995.

    He earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the College of Arts and Sciences, and took time to answer the following questions:

    What do you remember most about SU?

    Studying hard and playing hard! The fraternity activities and the friendships that have lasted over the years!

    Why did you move to LA?

    Moved to the Los Angeles area to start my professional career for a company called TRW (later acquired by Northrop Grumman), and worked for the same company for 35 years holding several management and leadership positions.

    When was the last time you visited campus?

    I was on campus September 1, 2011 for visits with Dean Steinberg and Dean Langford, as well as attending the SU vs. Wake Forest football game—in the Chancellor's box—a real treat! Prior to that, in August 2009 when I participated in a mentoring/training program for 110 Engineering and Computer Science student leaders  from the SU College of Engineering and Computer Science.

    Diane Nelson ’89

    Diane Nelson ’89

    Diane Nelson is the president of DC Entertainment, leading DCE's efforts to fully realize the power and value of the DC Comics brand and characters across all media and platforms

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    Diane Nelson ’89

    Diane Nelson was named president, DC Entertainment upon its founding in September 2009. In this post, Nelson is charged with leading DCE's efforts to fully realize the power and value of the DC Comics brand and characters across all media and platforms, while strategically integrating the DC Comics business, brand and characters deeply into Warner Bros. Entertainment and all its content and distribution businesses.

    Under Nelson's leadership, DCE works with each of the Warner Bros. divisions to tap into the tremendous expertise the Studio has in building and sustaining fanchises and to prioritize DC properties as key titles and growth drivers across all of the Studio, including feature films, television, interactive entertainment, direct-to-platform releases and consumer products.

    Nelson also oversees the franchise management of the Harry Potter property, which she has done since 2000, and continues to represent the Studio's interests with the author of the Harry Potter books, J.K. Rowling. Nelson previously served as president, Warner Premiere since its founding in 2006 and retains management oversight of that division.

    Her career highlights include serving as executive vice president, Global Brand Management, Warner Bros. Entertainment; and as executive vice president, Domestic Marketing, Warner Bros. Pictures. She came to Warner Bros. from Walt Disney Records, where she served as director of national promotions.

    A graduate of Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications, Nelson earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts, a dual major in advertising and English. She took the time to respond to the following questions:

    What do you remember most about SU?

    The relationships I made that I continue to enjoy today, including my husband, Peter Nelson, whom I met freshman year (he graduated with the same degree and dual majors).

    Who was your favorite professor while at SU?

    Carla Vacarro Lloyd

    Why did you move to LA?

    I moved to LA from San Francisco where I was working at Foote, Cone & Belding as an account supervisor. I moved because I had recently married my husband, Peter, who wanted to try his hand at screenwriting. I was up for the adventure and thought “When in Rome... .” I should try entertainment. So I went to work for Disney and began my path in the entertainment business.

    James P. Jimirro

    James P. Jimirro

    James Jimirro, creator and founding President of The Disney Channel and Walt Disney Home Video, is currently Chairman of the Board of National Lampoon.

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    James P. Jimirro

    James P. Jimirro, creator and founding president of The Disney Channel and Walt Disney Home Video, is chairman of the board of National Lampoon. The comedy franchise is active in all areas of entertainment, including motion pictures, television, video, and publishing.

    As founding president of The Disney Channel, he was responsible for the conception, development and launching of the fastest-growing pay service in history. Under his guidance, The Disney Channel introduced many innovations, such as interactive programming and The Disney Channel Magazine.

    From 1979 to 1985, Jimirro was president of Walt Disney Home Video and introduced a number of innovations in the marketing of home video, among them the world's first home video direct marketing campaigns. A voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Oscars), he is listed in Who's Who in America. He is active in a number of enterprises involving the Great American Songbook, the music of such composers as Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers, and Irving Berlin. These include serving as chairman of the selection committee in the Traditional Pop category at The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (Grammys). He conducts a popular lecture series on this music at the Beverly Hills Public Library and at other venues worldwide.

    Jimirro earned a bachelor’s degree in radio/television from Penn State University, and a master’s degree in mass communications from Syracuse University. He took the time to respond to the following questions:

    What do you remember most about SU?

    My classmates.

    Who was your favorite professor while at SU?

    Jim Fellows.

    Why did you move to LA?

    I was recruited by Disney.

    Virginia Tanzmann ’68, G’69

    Virginia Tanzmann ’68, G’69

    Virginia Tanzmann is Parsons Brinckerhoff's West Region manager of the Architecture and Buildings Technical Excellence Center, carrying profit/loss responsibility for the design of more than $2.4 billion in new, renovation and repair construction.

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    Virginia Tanzmann ’68, G’69

    Virginia Tanzmann, Parsons Brinckerhoff's West Region manager of the Architecture and Buildings Technical Excellence Center, has carried profit/loss responsibility for the design of more than $2.4 billion in new, renovation, and repair construction. She is experienced in specially funded programs, including large transportation projects, civic projects, seismic repairs, public school and California University bond-funded projects, Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility, medical facilities, affordable and specialized housing, and retail and restaurant design.

    Tanzmann has also held on-call contracts with the U.S. Postal Service, the State of California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the City of Los Angeles, and the County of Los Angeles. Many of her projects have been in the public sector or have had sufficient community impact to warrant community involvement meetings and procedures. She has devised community information programs delivered in English, Spanish, and Chinese, and has experience with various workshop methods and presentation media.

    Prior to joining Parsons Brinckerhoff, Tanzmann developed her skills and qualifications as an architect, first interning with leading architecture firms in Los Angeles and then serving as the district architect for the regional transportation agency, which led to her founding her professional practice in 1978, the Tanzmann Associates. She operated the practice for nearly 20 years, growing it to a size of 26 employees, with Parsons Brinckerhoff as a client for transportation work.

    At Syracuse University, Tanzmann was in a six-year dual degree program, earning a bachelor’s degree in architecture in 1968 and a BArch. from the Graduate School of Architecture in 1969. She took time to respond to the following questions:

    What do you remember most about SU?

    Hard work! The architecture program is very intense.

    Who was your favorite professor while at SU?

    The much-admired Kermit Lee. His guidance has influenced so many architects coming out of the program, and many of us pay him honor with annual gifts to the Kermit Lee Scholarship Fund.

    Why did you move to LA?

    Adventure before “settling down” seemed like a good thing in the era of the Summer of Love. We bought a VW bus and set out on the long cross-country drive, hair streaming, no money, just energy and youthful zeal. Woodstock took place just after we arrived with our plans to explore the West, then head back to Boston or New York and “get real.” But then life happened and the special qualities of Los Angeles grabbed us. Here it is more than 45 years later, and LA is home.

    Josh Altman ’01

    Josh Altman ’01

    Josh Altman is one of the most successful real estate agents in the Beverly Hills and Hollywood Hills luxury housing market.

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    Josh Altman ’01

    Josh Altman is one of the most successful real estate agents in the Beverly Hills and Hollywood Hills luxury housing market. His clientele consists mostly of entertainers, athletes, and high net-worth individuals from around the world. He ran his own real estate finance company for two years before joining the Hilton and Hyland team, quickly becoming one of the top agents in the business. Due to his remarkable success, Altman was chosen to star in BRAVO TV's hit show, Million Dollar Listing.

    Despite a busy schedule, he still finds time to give back to his community. Altman is passionate about volunteering his time and money to support numerous charities and causes. A native of Newton, Massachusetts, Altman attended Syracuse University, majoring in speech communications. He was one of the kickers on the Syracuse University football team that won the Big East Championship two years in a row, playing in both the Orange Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl. After a short stint in New York City, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue his dream of real estate.

    He took the time to answer the following questions:

    What do you remember most about SU?

    Marshall Street, the campus in the snow, The Mount, and of course the football games at the Carrier Dome.

    Who was your favorite professor while at SU?

    Honestly, I can't remember their names but as a whole, Syracuse has made a huge impact on my life so a big thanks to all of my professors.

    Why did you move to LA?

    To pursue my real estate career.

    Kim Koser ’79

    Kim Koser ’79

    Kimberly Koser, director of human resources at Hillcrest Country Club, Los Angeles, attended Syracuse University where she earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

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    Kim Koser ’79

    Kimberly Koser, director of human resources at Hillcrest Country Club, Los Angeles, attended Syracuse University where she earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of Visual and Performing Arts. After college she moved to Manhattan, spent four years as an actress, then went to work in the prestigious theatre department of the William Morris Agency.

    In 1989, she joined the newly formed human resources department at William Morris, where she was involved in restructuring the East Coast personnel function, including the world-famous agent training program. She earned a master’s degree in human resources management from the New School for Social Research, and was later certified as a senior professional in human resources by the Society for Human Resources Management HR Certification Institute.

    She married Glenn Koser and was widowed in 2003. In 2004, she was promoted to director of human resources, relocating to Beverly Hills to work in the William Morris corporate headquarters. She was later promoted to vice president of corporate human resources. In 2009, William Morris Agency was acquired by Endeavor Agency and the 111 year history of entertainment as told through the world’s oldest and largest talent agency came to an end. She then served as senior vice president and director of human resources for Bank of Manhattan, based in El Segundo.

    She took the time to answer the following questions:

    What do you remember most about SU?

    SNOW! Lee jeans, Frye boots and Honey Buns. No cell phones or ATMs. Saturday Night Live was a brand new show and cable TV was a brand new concept. We still had stereos, cassette tapes were beating out 8 track tapes and we had no computers. Papers were either written by hand or typed on a typewriter. The old Archibald Stadium was still there and hadn't yet been replaced by the new stadium. The rows of seats were very, very steep (scary to walk up and down the aisles) and girls would be grabbed and passed up the rows. I only went to one football game because of that!

    Who was your favorite professor at SU?

    I took one philosophy class with a professor named Messerich (I've forgotten his first name). He always drank Tab during class. The course covered only one book—Plato’s Republic. The material was presented in a fascinating way and it was easy to pick up on and share his passion for the book. I never missed a class if I could help it. This was my one class in the beautiful Hall of Languages. It was the ultimate college (in class) experience. In the final paper we had to use the techniques of platonic argument we had learned to disprove something in the Republic. I couldn’t believe I was actually able to do it, but I did.

    Why did you move to LA?

    I moved to LA to replace the head of human resources in the headquarters office of William Morris.

    Dan Whalen ’83

    Dan Whalen ’83

    Dan Whalen is principal of W Architecture and has designed hundreds of projects throughout Southern California for educational, transportation and governmental clients.

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    Dan Whalen ’83

    Dan Whalen, AIA, is a California Registered Architect and LEED Accredited Professional with more than 25 years of architecture experience. He is principal of W Architecture and has designed hundreds of projects throughout Southern California for educational, transportation and governmental clients. He has served as a mentor to architecture interns and students, and the National American Institute of Architects has twice recognized the mentoring program he developed. He is past-president of the Long Beach/South Bay chapter of the American Institute of Architects and serves as a director on the American Institute of Architects California Council.

    A colonel in the Air Force Reserve, Whalen serves as the Individual Mobilization Augmentee to the Commander, 61st Air Base Group, Los Angeles Air Force Base. He assists in the management of five squadrons and six staff agencies, totaling over 790 personnel, with $608 million in assets and more than 600 facilities.

    In 2009, he deployed as the lead architect for the Multi-National Force–Iraq. He successfully completed a key provision of the US-Iraq Security Agreement by developing a master plan that defined the US basing footprint in Iraq. Working with the US Embassy, and the senior Iraqi leaders from the Prime Minister's staff, he drafted a master plan for the transfer of over 40 bases back to the Iraqi Government. His master planning expertise was critical in his plan to transfer $100M in utility infrastructure facility to the Iraqi Government in support of Iraqi port operations.

    Whalen earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Syracuse University. He lives in Marina Del Ray, California with his wife, Sharon McQueen, and took the time to answer the following questions:

    What do you remember most about SU?

    Late nights in the design studio at Slocum Hall, the Jabberwocky, Varsity Pizza, and lots of snow!

    Who was your favorite professor while at SU?

    Randall Korman. He was the lead professor for the Architecture program I attended in Florence, Italy. It was an experience I will never forget and Professor Korman's energy and enthusiasm made it even better.

    Why did you move to LA?

    After graduating from SU I received my commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Air Force and spent my 4-year active duty career at Norton AFB in Southern California (no more shoveling snow!). After leaving active duty, I joined an architecture firm in Los Angeles and have enjoyed working and living in this city ever since.

    When was the last time you visited campus?

    Summer 2008. I had an opportunity to not only visit the architecture studios in Slocum Hall, but I was able to see my freshman dorm room in Day Hall...talk about bringing back old memories!

    Jason Mesches ’08

    Jason Mesches ’08

    Jason Mesches made his network television debut on the CBS show The Big Bang Theory. A proud graduate of Syracuse University, he earned a bachelor’s degree in drama/acting from the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

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    Jason Mesches ’08

    Jason Mesches made his network television debut on the CBS show The Big Bang Theory. He made his Mechanicals debut in The Laramie Project and was so impressed by the company that he became a member and put together a one-man show to raise funds and awareness for them. Other theatre credits include: Fiddler on the Roof, the touring companies of Fractured Fairy Tales, and Vladek, Viet Rock, Rocky Horror, Asses & Elephants, The Last Days of Judas, Guys & Dolls, The Music Man, Twilight of the Golds, The Hypochondriac, and others. Mesches played both Dromios in The Comedy of Errors at Shakespeare's Globe in London while studying abroad in 2006. He served on the editorial staff for CollegeHumor.com and is the less attractive half of the hit comedy duo Mesch & Cod. His 18 years of jazz piano and 12 of guitar are but small bullet points on his list of hobbies. A proud graduate of Syracuse University, he earned a bachelor’s degree in drama/acting from the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

    He took the time to answer the following questions:

    What do you remember most about SU?

    The snow, my friends, good times, and the fact that no matter what day of the week it was there was always someone, somewhere, in our theatre or in a lobby or an attic performing some sort of piece, be it a full scale production or minimalist blackbox. There was always theatre happening.

    Who was your favorite professor while at SU?

    Tim Hardy from my semester abroad in London, and Craig Macdonald from my time in Syracuse.

    Why did you move to LA?

    I moved to LA after a professor advised me to go so I could focus my acting work on TV and film, instead of the New York theatre scene.

    Jennifer Erzen ’97

    Jennifer Erzen ’97

    Jennifer Erzen headed west a few years after graduating to become a movie producer, working for various film and television production companies, and is now with Fox Group, Inc. working in Information Technology.

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    Jennifer Erzen ’97

    Jennifer Erzen graduated from Syracuse University with a bachelor’s degree in design/technical theater. After graduation, she joined Rochester, New York’s regional theater as an apprentice painter. As much as she loved it, she left the theater following the 1997-98 season and joined a management training program with Sears. After working her way up to human resource manager, she packed her bags in 2000 and headed west to become a movie producer.

    Erzen has worked for various film and television production companies since 2000, including for Playtone during the production and marketing of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and on HBO’s Band of Brothers. She is employed by Fox Group, Inc., working in information technology as a senior analyst on the technology architecture and planning team.

    She took the time to answer the following questions:

    What do you remember most about SU?

    My strong friendships with the other 11 designers in the Drama Department. There were so few of us and so many shows, we developed friendships that last to this day.

    Who was your favorite professor while at SU?

    Maria Marrero. In and out of the classroom she was (and still is) a strong role model for professional women in a male dominated profession.

    Why did you move to LA?

    I came to LA to make movies, to work on productions and hopefully become a producer. Along the way, I discovered a different path and have no regrets.