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Commencement 2013

June 2013  


UArts Celebrates 135th Commencement

Douglas Carter Beane

The University of the Arts' 135th Commencement Ceremony began with a New Orleans-style jazz band from the School of Music leading the class of 2013 up Broad Street to the Academy of Music, where President Sean T. Buffington presided over the May 16 celebration. After receiving an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts (HDFA) degree, Tony-nominated playwright and screenwriter Douglas Carter Beane (right) delivered an uproarious keynote address that included his list of the "seven things I wish someone had told me." Professor Emeritus Kenneth Hiebert, founder of the UArts Graphic Design department, was also awarded an HDFA. Other honorees included Silver Star Alumni Award recipients Kate Flannery BFA '87 (Acting), who has starred for nearly a decade as Meredith on NBC's hit comedy "The Office," and Jayson Scott Musson BFA '02 (Photography), best known as his YouTube alter-ego "Hennessy Youngman." Clarie Kalala '13 (Multidisciplinary Fine Arts) delivered the valedictory address, while UArts Trustee Emeritus Irvin J. Borowsky received the University's inaugural Distinguished Service Award. Called "the best graduation ceremony I have ever had the honor of attending" in a letter to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the 135th Commencement also featured a stellar performance by the Studio Ensemble and Vocal Performance majors, who brought the crowd to its feet with a soulful rendition of "With A Little Help From My Friends," and the irresistible samba troupe Alo Brasil, who closed the ceremony by leading the new graduates and their families back down Broad Street for a post-ceremony celebration at Hamilton Hall.  


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University of the Arts Hosts Q&A, Book Signing with Author Neil Gaiman


Neil Gaiman book signing

The University of the Arts hosted a Q&A session and book signing with award-winning author and graphic novelist Neil Gaiman (right), whose "make good art" speech to 2012 UArts graduates became an international viral sensation and is now a book. The event was held May 14, the day of the book's release, and was attended by more than 400 University community members. Gaiman and his Make Good Art book were also featured in a cover story in the May 15 - 21 issue of Philadelphia Weekly, as well as in The Philadelphia Inquirer and in an interview on NPR. "The year's most anticipated new college grad gift book" is also on HuffPost Books' summer must-read list.


Pop Up Garden on UArts' Campus Transforms Broad Street
Pop Up Garden

The University of the Arts has partnered with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) to present the 2013 PHS Pop Up Garden. Now in its third year, the Pop Up Garden encompasses the front of Hamilton Hall, as well as the UArts-owned vacant lot across the street at 313 South Broad Street, the centerpiece of the project that includes a lush garden and mobile beer garden. An opening celebration was held May 29, featuring remarks by President Sean T. Buffington and the launch of the garden's food and beverage service. The Pop Up Garden will be open to visitors seven days a week through mid-October.


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PHS is also working with the University of the Arts and other partners to coordinate special performances and programs that will take place during select afternoon hours in the garden. UArts students, alumni, faculty and staff are invited to submit proposals for these special events. A proposal form should be submitted to at least 14 days prior to your desired performance date.


Submission details >> 

Dance Alumnae Perform on 'SYTYCD,' 'American Idol'


Jennifer Jones '13 (Dance)

Recent graduate Jennifer Jones BFA '13 (Dance) [right] has advanced to the second round of "So You Think You Can Dance" and is headed to "Vegas Week" after impressing the Season 10 judges with her ballet-inspired jazz audition on the show's May 28 episode in Boston. Ashley Seldon BFA '07 (Jazz Dance) and Sara Bivens CERT '10 (Dance) were featured on the May 16 episode of  "American Idol" in a performance with former "Idol" judge Jennifer Lopez and rapper Pitbull.


Watch Jones on "SYTYCD" >> 


Watch Seldon and Bivens on "American Idol" (seen at 3:20) >>
Alumna's Autism Program Wins $20,000 Award

Autism Expressed

Autism Expressed, a digital literacy program for autistic teens created by South Philadelphia High School special education teacher Michele McKeone BS '05 (Communication) [right], has received a $20,000 award from the 4th Annual Education Business Plan Competition. The competition is hosted by the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education and the Milken Family Foundation. McKeone, who was featured on MSNBC's "The Cycle," Philadelphia's WHYY-FM radio and, developed her innovative program with a Creative Incubator/Wells Fargo Fellowship grant from the Corzo Center for the Creative Economy at the University of the Arts.  




Join the UArts Alumni Association at a Summer Send-Off Event Near You 


Alumni Send-Off Lehigh Valley The Office of Alumni and Parent Relations invites alumni to welcome the class of 2017 and their families at a Summer Send-Off event in your hometown. Connect with other members of the UArts community, including other new students and parents, local alumni and staff members, and share your UArts experience. Events will be held in California, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. For more information, contact the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations at


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