Montclair State University’s College of the Arts held a Convocation ceremony for its undergraduate students on Friday, May 17 at the University’s Sprague Field. Family and friends of many of the 635 candidates slated to receive baccalaureate degrees from the College filled the stands.
With College of the Arts Dean Daniel A. Gurskis presiding, the ceremony included the senior address delivered by SOPHIA VOGLINO and music performed by students from the John J. Cali School of Music, including LISBELKIS SANTANA who performed the national anthem.
Theatrical producer ALDO D. SCROFANI ’73 was honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award and delivered the keynote address. Also receiving special recognition was graduating senior ETHAN LYNCH, who was presented with the Dean’s Scholar/Artist’s Award.
The undergraduate candidates’ degrees were conferred at the 2019 Commencement ceremony on Friday, May 24 at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. The graduate Commencement ceremony took place May 21.
Dressed in regalia and grinning ear-to-ear, graduates posed for photos with their professors while laughing, embracing and trading stories. They also had much to share about taking that step towards their professional lives and reflected thoughtfully on their plans after graduation.
Dean’s Scholar/Artist award winner Ethan Lynch looks forward to a theatrical career, graduating with a BFA degree in Musical Theatre. Entering the college as an honors student, Ethan was first recognized in the 2015 President’s Opening Day address as a notable incoming Freshman. He has since received several scholarships and been recognized for his performing talents by prestigious national organizations.
Senior speaker Sophia Voglino is receiving a BFA in Theatre Production and Design, with a concentration in Stage Management.
“We are about to shape the world with our own two hands, and we will do so with the knowledge imparted to us here at Montclair State.
The role of education in art, and education through art is a tradition dating back centuries, and one that we should be proud to uphold as we begin our professional adventures.”
Aldo D. Scrofani ’73, Recipient of College of the Arts’ Distinguished Alumni Award
Aldo D. Scrofani began his career in the theatre in 1977 at Jujamcyn Theatres Corporation. During his 13 years there, he served as Executive Vice President and Executive Producer and participated in the vast growth of the organization as it became one of America’s leading and most progressive theatrical companies. In 1990, he joined Columbia Artists Theatricals, one of the industry’s most highly regarded producing and management companies. Over the next 18 years, he served as the Chief Operating Officer. Additionally he held the to the position of Executive Vice president and COO of Columbia Artists Management, and he was a senior member of the Board of Directors. In 2009, Mr. Scrofani founded Theatre Management Associates and its subsidiary Moonglow Productions, providing expertise and professional services to theatrical ventures on a worldwide basis. Currently, he serves as Chief Operating Officer of the Apollo Theater Foundation, Inc., which includes the world famous and iconic Apollo Theater. During his 41 years in the live entertainment industry, Mr. Scrofani has produced, co-produced, or worked in association with over 100 Broadway, National, and/or international productions. He is a lifetime member of The League of American Theatres and Producers (now The Broadway League), serving on both the Executive Committee and the Board of Governors. He also served for 15 years on both the Tony® Management and Tony® Administration committees, and he continues to be a Tony Award voter.
In his remarks to the College of the Arts Graduating Class of 2019 he stressed the importance of taking risks and being courageous, in part quoting wisdom imparted by Winnie the Pooh: “I always get where I am going by leaving the place I have been.” He closed by say, “You are poised to change this world by the work and passion you have chosen.! I wish you courage, will, passion, need for discovery, brilliant collaborative ‘fellow travelers’ to explore and build with, becoming part of endeavors that because of you and through you will affect the world around you in positive and meaningful ways. Godspeed as you plunge into those sublime seas. Dive deep and swim far!”