Spotlight on Alums (Fall 2009)

Alumna Pat Cole, '74, Ingrid Williams, '92, soloist Gail Archer,'73 with organ faculty Renee Louprette

Greetings Alumni and Friends!

As dean of the College of the Arts, I am pleased once again to reach out to our valued College of the Arts alumni who stay in touch and continue to be part of the MSU family. Over the past few months, we’ve been delighted to see so many of you on our campus. Some of you came to our “Homecoming” Alumni Welcome Center just this month! Others have attended our stellar Peak Performances events or George Segal Gallery exhibits.

We’ve even met some of you in your home town(s) – in some cases, across the country. In June, Development Officer Keith Wiggs and Communications Studies Chair Dr. Harry Haines visited alumni in greater Los Angeles. Among those they met were community organizer CARMELA NIGRO-GOMES,61, scenic artist LISA FRAZZA, ‘78, writer and producer MICHAEL PRICE, ‘81, producer ANDREW WILSON, ’99, producer GREG DOUCETTE, ’71, activist and executive JEFF ZARRILLO, ’95, entertainment executive KAREN HOME, ‘08 and actress DANIA RAMIREZ, ’00. We very much look forward to future west coast alumni events being planned for during the year.

Below this message, and throughout the newsletter, we spotlight some of the accomplishments of our alums who continue to make names for themselves (and for MSU!) all over. We hope you continue to stay in touch and let us know how you are doing. (Please feel free as well to give feedback on this newsletter, including future content you’d like to see. Click here to reach us.)

With best wishes to you and all!

Geoffrey W. Newman,
Dean, College of the Arts

P.S. Please log onto our Alumni web pages, developed just for you!
Art & Design Broadcasting Communication Studies Music Theatre & Dance


Alumni on the Move . . Recent News.

(Note: See also our newsletter Donors section from last spring and our Giving web pages which also feature alums, including those who have created scholarships.)


Art & Design Alums

ALAN ALEJO, MFA Studio Art, ’04, and TRACIE FRACASSO, MFA Studio Art, ’08, exhibited at the George Segal Gallery, Montclair, NJ.

LESLIE ALFIN, MFA Studio Art, ’06, exhibited at the Islip Art Museum, East Islip, NY, and at BRIC Rotunda Gallery, Brooklyn Heights, NY.

BARBARA ANELLO, MA Fine Arts, Art History, ’06, received a Fulbright grant to continue her photography of vernacular architecture in Southeast Asia.

ANASTASIA CHAPLYGINA, BA Fine Arts, Art History, ’09, was accepted into the MA program in Humanities at the University of Chicago.

NUNZIO ESPOSITO, BFA Graphic Design, ’03, and ANDRES JIMENEZ, BFA Graphic Design, ’03, won one gold award and three bronze awards for their design work by the New Jersey Art Directors Club. Their studio also designed the graphics for Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s “Milestone Celebration” at the Prudential Center.

ASHA GANPAT, MFA Studio Art, ’05, exhibited at the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, the Queens Museum of Art, The John Cotton Dana Library, the Lex Leonard Gallery, among others.

ADAM HAYES, MFA Studio Art, ’06, exhibited at Number 35, NYC, and the Lower East Side Galleries.

AMER KOBASLIJA, MFA Studio Art, ’05, exhibited at Fraenkel Gallery and Rena Bransten Gallery – both in San Francisco.

AHNI KRUGER, MFA Studio Art, ’07, exhibited at the Dorothy Young Center for the Arts, Madison, NJ, and the Art Upstairs Gallery, Morristown, NJ.

JOANNE LEFRAK, MFA Studio Art, ’01, exhibited at Frederick Taylor Gallery, New York, NY.

ALEXANDRA PACULA, MFA Studio Art, ’06, exhibited at the Morris Museum, Morristown, NJ, and the Saatchi Gallery, London, England.

NATHAN SKILES, MFA Studio Art, ’06, exhibited at Greene Contemporary Gallery, New York, NY.

Art & Design alums… Stay connected! Check out the Art & Design Alumni Web page.


Broadcasting Alums

BLAKE DRUMMOND,’03 has landed a job as an Assistant Production Coordinator for ABC’s hit show Ugly Betty. As an Assistant Production Coordinator, he is in charge of hiring crews, making/copying/and distributing scripts on set and off, and acts as a liaison between writers and crewmembers. For more on Blake’s position, please see his profile in the latest issue of the Broadcasting newsletter, here.

BRENDA SCHAIT, ‘87 writes in that as a writer/producer, she is a double Daytime

Emmy nominee! The former MSC-TV executive producer was a writer on two of the

three quiz shows nominated for Outstanding Game/Audience Participation Show this

year: “Cash Cab” and “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”.

LEIGH SCHEPS, ‘07 is currently a reporter for WBNG TV, a CBS affiliate in Binghamton, NY. Her on air name is Leigh Dana. Although Leigh has only been with the station for a little over 3 months, she’s already covered several national news stories including the deaths of Michael Jackson and Walter Cronkite.

NICOLE WHETSTONE, ‘07, is currently going into her third year with the News & Docs Department at MTV Networks. There, she is associate and segment producer for the long running series, MTV Cribs, as well as the Country Music Network spin-off series CMT Cribs.

Broadcasting alums… Stay connected! Check out the Broadcasting Alumni Web page


Music Alums

PATRICK VALENTINO, composition alumnus, attended Brevard this summer.

GAIL R. ARCHER ,73, internationally acclaimed organist, performed a tremendously successful alumni recital of organ music at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Montclair on September 25, 2009. This was the first concert in a series of organ recitals and master classes featuring world-renowned artists and sponsored by the John J. Cali School of Music. Ms. Archer has a Bachelor of Arts in music from MSU. She is a faculty member at Vassar College, The Manhattan School of Music and Barnard College, Columbia University, as well as performing an active schedule of international recitals.

Music alums… Stay connected! Check out the Music Alumni Web page


Theatre & Dance Alums

TIMOTHY KOCHKA, BFA Dance ‘09, received a scholarship for study at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance where he studied in the summer 2009. Recently he auditioned for, and was offered a position with, the Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company, a NJ based modern dance company.

NICOLE SMITH, BFA Dance, ‘07, has been accepted as an apprentice for the Bill. T. Jones dance company.

Freespace Dance run by Alumni DONNA SCRO, ’91, and LISA GRIMES, ’91, has been added to the New Jersey Young Audiences Roster. Freespace Dance has upcoming performances in New Jersey and New York. For upcoming events visit

MARC SCHNEIDER, BFA Acting major, ’04, is appearing in several television commercials.

DIANA ALFIERI, BFA Dance, ’05, Managing Director of the Garden State Dance Festival, a non-profit presenting dance organization. Dance Educator and Choreographer at CORE Academy of Movement, Mt Laurel NJ.

JESSICA RICHARDSON, BFA Acting major, ’01, has entered the MFA in Creative Writing program at University of Alabama.

NINA LAW, BFA Acting major, ’06, has entered the MFA Acting program at UCLA.

KAREN LOVE, BFA Dance, ’93, is the Festival Coordinator, Wofabe African Dance and Drum Festival, Newark, NJ. Artistic Director Umoja and Usaama Dance Company, Montclair,NJ

Four students graduated from the newly established B.A. in Dance Education program in spring 2009 and two have been hired into the New Jersey public school system as of fall 2009.

Theatre & Dance alums… Stay connected! Check out the Theatre & Dance Alumni Web page


Communication Studies Alums

Communication Studies alums… Stay connected! Check out the Communications Studies Alumni Web page