Emerson Alumni Weekend to Give Awards

Taking place the first weekend in June, this year’s Emerson Alumni Weekend festivities will include honoring the achievements of four Emerson Alumni during a ceremony at Emerson’s Cutler Majestic Theater on June 2nd followed by a post-celebration for the attendees at the Ritz Carlton. This year’s recipients include Bonnie Comely MA ’94 and Paul Santinelli, class of ’91, receiving the Distinguished Alumni Awards as well as Veronica Belmont ’04 and Jason Castriota ’97 receiving the Young Alumni Achievement Awards.

Comely is currently the vice president of Stellar Productions Int’l Inc, most recently producing Superior Donuts on Broadway as well as the Drama Desk award-winner Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps. In 2007 Comely received her first Tony Award for the Broadway production of Jay Johnson: The Two and Only. She currently serves on The Board of the Directors for the Drama League, the Dean’s Advisory Council at Emerson, the Chancellor’s Advisory Board for The University of Massachusetts Lowell and the Board of Advisors for The Theater Museum.

Santinelli received his start as founder and CEO of NOCpulse, a Silicon Valley start-up based around delivering the next-generation enterprise systems and management platform. While at the company in 2002 he was nominated for the Ernst and Young Entreprenuer of the Year Award. He was chief technology officer of Global Center and vice president of technology for Global Crossing, the telecommunications company that engineered the world’s first independent global fiber optic network. He later moved on to become director of Red Hat Network and has since has held engineering, marketing and product management positions at IBM, Compuware and Lotus Development.

Based out of San Francisco, Belmont is currently a technology and video gaming host. She received her start as a producer and on-air talent for CNET Networks (currently CBS Interactive) and worked on shows such as Buzz Out Loud, Crave, Prizefight, and MP3 Insider. In 2008 she hosted Mahalo Daily, an eclectic video show which was named one of the top new podcasts of that year. Her current projects are comprised of Tekzilla, a weekly tech help show, The Sword and Laser, a science fiction fantasy podcast and community, and Game On! on the TWiT Network. She has written for Slate, MaximumPC, PC Gamer, and DoubleX as well was the former original host for Qore on the Playstation Network.

Castriota is currently an automobile designer, graduating from Emerson in ’97 and then attending the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. He is probably best known for designing the Maserati GranTurismo. In 2001, he began his career in automobile design by joining Pinifarina’s design studio in Turin, Italy  to help develop concepts or show cars and design production models for Maserati and Ferrari. In 2011 he was named one of Fast Company magazine’s 100 Most Creative People in Business. Most recently, he was the design director for SAAB Automobile managing all interior and exterior automobile designs for the company.

Other events of Alumni Weekend 2012 include a showcase featuring Emerson students, alumni and faculty, a sunset Boston Harbor cruise, a night of dinner and dancing at the Ritz Carlton, a farewell reception for recently retired Professor Emeritus Stephen Shipps, Phi Alpha Tau’s 110th Anniversary Celebration, a performance by Professor Emeritus Ken Crannell, workshops at the college, and the 4th Annual WERS Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.

By Alexandra Parker

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