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Commencement 2011

June 2011

International Design Visionary Bill Moggridge Addresses Grads at 133rd Commencement


Bill MOggridge receives an HDFA from President BuffingtonA New Orleans-style jazz band of UArts music students led a joyous parade up Broad Street from Hamilton Hall to the Academy of Music and the celebration of the University's 133rd Commencement. Presiding over the May 19 ceremonies, President Sean Buffington exhorted the more than 500 graduates to "invest every moment with the same sense of possibility" that they enjoyed on that special day. Keynote speaker and international design visionary Bill Moggridge, who gave an insightful treatise on the advantages of creative thinking in the 21st century, received an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts (HDFA). Modern Dance senior and President's Award recipient Ashleigh Whitworth delivered the valedictory address. Other honorees included noted documentary filmmaker Louis Massiah, founder of Philadelphia's Scribe Video Center who was also awarded an HDFA, and renowned painter/printmaker Leonard Lehrer '56 and School of Music faculty member Evan Solot '67, MM '75, this year's Silver Star Outstanding Alumni Award recipients. The UArts' Transfusion Ensemble brought the crowd to its feet with a gospel-influenced rendition of "With a Little Help from My Friends" and the irresistible salsa dance troupe Alo Brasil closed the ceremony by leading the new graduates and their families back out onto the Avenue of the Arts. 


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Above, right: Bill Moggridge (left) receives an HDFA from President Buffington.

Christopher Sharrock Named Dean of the College of Art, Media and Design


Christopher SharrockNoted British illustrator Christopher Sharrock (right) has been named the dean of the new College of Art, Media and Design at the University of the Arts. Sharrock was most recently the dean of Camberwell College of Arts, a constituent college of University of the Arts London (not affiliated with the University of the Arts in Philadelphia). "We are very pleased that Christopher is joining the University of the Arts at this important juncture in the institution's history," said President Sean Buffington. "His leadership and vision will help us continue to implement our new academic plan, developing innovative new ways to educate artists and designers to be leaders in a world where the need for creative thinkers has never been greater."  


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Stuntwoman Alumna Takes to the Water in New 'Pirates' Movie


Emily (Kirkwood) Hopkins '08 (Musical Theater) Emily (Kirkwood) Hopkins '08 (Musical Theater) [right] found her stage combat experience has come in quite handy in her new career as a Hollywood stuntwoman. She got to work with star Johnny Depp in this summer's blockbuster film, "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," spending a lot of time in the waters of the Hollywood back lot where some of the film was shot. Her first break came when she was selected to play Sarah Connor for the "Terminator 2" live stunt show at Universal Studios Hollywood, followed by a stunt role in the 2010 movie "My Name Is Khan." Read more about the 25-year-old Dallastown, Pa., native, who was recently featured in the York (Pa.) Daily Record.


Short Film by Film Alumnus Andy Wheeler Wins Student Emmy Award



The dramatic short film "Thief," lensed by cinematographer Andrew Wheeler '01 (Film), took home the awards for Best Drama and Best Director at the 2011 College Television Awards (also known as the Student Emmys). More than 500 students from 154 schools across the nation entered this year's 32nd annual competition. The film was Wheeler's graduate thesis at the prestigious American Film Institute (AFI), where it was also one of only six films selected for the AFI's annual student showcase. The story of a young Iraqi boy who befriends Saddam Hussein in 1959 and encounters him again in 2003 under very different circumstances, "Thief" was inspired by a little-known real event in the life of the late Iraqi dictator and tells the story of a wronged man who must weigh the desire for revenge against the desire to make peace with the past.


'Active Territory' Exhibit Unites Design Programs in  Unusual Setting


"What Can Interactivity Do In the Crosswalk?"

A former Gap store at the Gallery at Market East in Center City Philadelphia was transformed last month by "Active Territory," an innovative exhibition that brought together students from the Graphic Design, Industrial Design, Master of Industrial Design, Multimedia and Museum Studies programs. Over 90 projects presented design as a practice for reenergizing and repurposing material, space and message. The year-end exhibit was intended to transcend the traditional boundaries of design disciplines and emphasize the connections between contemporary design practices as the University prepares for the merging of the College of Media and Communications with the College of Art and Design, forming a single College of Art, Media and Design. "Active Territory" was also featured on local NPR affiliate WHYY and its website,


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"What Can Interactivity Do In the Crosswalk?" by MID students Michael Barakat and Woody MacDuffie.


Behind-the-Scenes Video Showcases Innovative Internship


Still from "Styling the Second Empire"

Public performances of "Styling a Second Empire" - a spectacular sound and light show projected onto Philly's historic City Hall during the recent Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA) - may have ended, but you can still watch a behind-the-scenes video of the project and its creative process. Interning with local lighting company the Lighting Practice, Music Composition students Caleb Auston '11, Austin Billings '14 and Robert Borchert '13 composed the original music heard on the video, while Evan Leigh '11 (Theater Design and Technology), Bin Huang MFA '12 (Museum Exhibition, Planning and Design) and Nate Schlegel '12 (Theater Design and Technology) were part of the lighting design team. "Styling a Second Empire" was also featured in the May issue of Architectural Lighting magazine as well as on the front page of The Philadelphia Inquirer.


Watch the video on YouTube >> 


'Like' UArts Alumni Association on Facebook!


The UArts Alumni Association brings together over 17,000 artists, performers, designers, doctors, teachers, accountants, lawyers and alumni working in countless other professions both within and outside of the arts. Re-connect with fellow alumni and get the latest updates from the University and the Alumni Office at Happy networking!

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