The Alumni Achievement Award is given annually to an alumnus/alumna for outstanding achievements in their field. This award was originally recognized as the Issachar Hoopes Eldridge Award and was reestablished in 1978 as the Alumni Recognition Award. In 1987, the Board of Directors of the Alumni Association voted to change the name again to the Alumni Achievement Award in order to more accurately reflect the various achievements alumni are making in their fields.

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View the 2022 Alumni Achievement Awards

2022 Award Recipients

Martie Cook ‘82, MFA ‘00 | Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient

Martie Cook ‘82, MFA ‘00 has more than three decades of experience as a respected writer and producer of television and film. She has worked for ABC, NBC, CBS, and PBS as well as for Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, Columbia Pictures, and Universal Studios. A member of the Writers Guild of America West, Cook has written for hit television shows such as the top-ten Nielsen-rated Full House and the PBS Emmy-award winning children's show Zoom. Cook is author of the critically acclaimed book, Write To TV: Out of Your Head and Onto the Screen, 3rd edition (Focal Press/Routledge) used by professional writers, in college classrooms, and by budding writers alike. Cook has served as an international writing mentor at Series Mania Writers Campus in Lille France, a division of Series Mania, one of Europe’s most important TV events. Additionally, Cook mentored two soldiers serving in Afghanistan. Together, they co-wrote a treatment for a comedy pilot about the war, which Cook sold to Warner Bros.,, Jerry Bruckheimer Television, and NBC. Cook served as a consulting producer on the pilot. Currently, Cook is a professor of screenwriting at Emerson College, where she also serves as the director of the BFA in Comedic Arts, is the Founding Director of the Center for Comedic Arts and co-created Emerson’s low residency MFA in screenwriting program.

Tina M. McDuffie ‘97 | Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient

Tina M. McDuffie ‘97 is an award-winning television/radio reporter and host in Boston. She is the host of the Local, USA a national television magazine style series on WORLD Channel Network. WORLD Channel is seen in roughly 33 million United States Households and is based at WGBH in Boston. Tina is also an associate professor of the practice of journalism at Boston University. Tina has won many awards for her work including a National Endowment for financial education/RTDNA award, a regional Edward R. Murrow award, 2 National Association of Black Journalists Salute to Excellence awards, 2 Public Radio News Directors Incorporated awards & 9 Telly awards. Tina was nominated for an Emmy-Award as host/moderator for an episode of WGBH’s local news program Basic Black. Tina was inducted into the WERS Hall of Fame by her alma mater Emerson College in 2018. Tina is currently working as a co-host of an original Boston Globe podcast with author & professor Dick Lehr.

Rob Paine ‘92 | Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient

Rob Paine ‘92 has more than 200 credits to his name including six of the ten most-watched broadcasts in United States history. For more than twenty-five years he’s specialized in live, large-scale television events including Academy Awards, Super Bowl Halftime Shows, Presidential Inaugurals, Primetime Emmy Awards, The Kennedy Center Honors, political conventions, concerts and comedy specials. He’s the recipient of eleven Emmy Award nominations and a Peabody Award.

Hunter Reis '17 | Young Alumni Achievement Award Recipient

Hunter Reis '17 is an award-winning entertainment news journalist working as a video producer for Entertainment Tonight with ViacomCBS. A Massachusetts native, Hunter knew right away that Emerson was the perfect fit for him due to the school’s prestigious journalism program and its proximity to his hometown of Fall River. Hunter finished his time at Emerson College in the ELA program, working for The Today Show covering the 2016 presidential election. From there, he went on to E! News where he won a Telly Award and a DIGIDAY Award for his work writing and producing ‘The Rundown.’ Now at Entertainment Tonight, Hunter manages social accounts and creates video content for the syndicated entertainment news program. Recently, Hunter was given the opportunity to speak on a panel for Emerson’s National First-Gen Day. As a first-generation college student, Hunter is dedicated to supporting young graduates, as those before him had supported him.

2021 Award Recipients

Lisa Gregorian ’83, MA ’86 | Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient

Lisa Gregorian ’83, MA ’86, served as president and chief marketing officer of the Warner Bros. Television Group through December 2020. In the role, she built a best-in-class organization that oversaw the Studio’s global TV marketing unit, including creative services, distribution marketing, social, brand integrations, and publicity. Her team was responsible for working with television networks and stations worldwide to maximize and fully exploit the promotional marketing and publicity opportunities for all of the Studio’s television properties—including network, first-run, off-network, cable, digital and animated—produced and distributed by Warner Bros. Television Group’s various production and distribution business units. She and her marketing team also worked cross-divisionally with DC, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, Warner Bros. Consumer Products, and The CW Television Network, as well as WarnerMedia and AT&T. Gregorian also serves on the Emerson College Board of Advisors.

William Ludel ’70 | Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient

William Ludel ’70 has had a nearly 50-year career as a television and theater director and playwright. As one of the directors of the soap opera General Hospital for over 25 years, he’s received three Directors Guild of America Awards and nine Daytime Emmy Awards. His theater work has taken him across the country, including shows at WPA Theatre in New York, Long Wharf Theater, The O’Neill Theatre Center, Yale Rep, Williamstown Theatre, Hartford Stage, Pittsburgh Public, Milwaukee Rep, Antaeus Theatre, South Coast Rep, and ACT Seattle. His play A Death in the House Next Door to Kathleen Turner’s House on Long Island was produced by the Alliance Theater in Atlanta. Red and Scooter was a finalist for the National Repertory Theater Foundation Play Award. His scripts for The Oscillating Marbleman and Dr. Arthur Goldman’s Birthday Party were performed at the Yale Cabaret Hollywood. He has also been a mentor to aspiring film and television directors from the University of Southern California. Prior to attending Emerson, he was the recipient of the 1968 Dewey Prize from the University of Rochester. Following his graduation from Emerson, he attended the Yale School of Drama.

Charles Stewart ’86 | Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient

Charles Stewart ’86 is an award-winning executive producer, producer, and writer who has created, developed, executed, and supervised everything from live and taped TV news programs to documentaries, talk, digital, and entertainment shows on a local and national level. He worked as an executive producer on multiple newscasts for KCBS/KCAL Los Angeles and also served as an executive producer at NBC Los Angeles. In other roles, Stewart provided live coverage of some of the biggest stories in America and has also worked on national shows such as JFK: Inside the Evidence, Ripley’s Believe it or Not!, Hot Ticket, and the launch of the National Geographic channel. He is a winner of multiple Los Angeles–area Emmy, Golden Mike, and Associated Press awards. He began his television career during his junior year at Emerson. While taking on a full load of classes and working as a doorman and waiter at Ryles jazz club in Cambridge, he met a photographer from WNEV-TV Channel 7 (now WHDH). He asked if there were open positions at the station and was given a phone number to call for an internship. He applied and gained a position on the weekend assignment desk. It’s all history after that.

Merri Sugarman ’84 | Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient

Merri Sugarman ’84 started her career as an actress in national Broadway tours. After moving to Los Angeles, she worked on such shows as NewsRadio and The Larry Sanders Show. She then moved to Dreamworks Studios as the casting executive in charge of TV pilots and series. She also held the position of director of casting for dramas and movies at ABC Television before returning to the East Coast to teach and coach actors. She is currently a senior casting director at Tara Rubin Casting, where she casts Broadway and Off-Broadway, national touring, and international productions, including Jersey Boys, The Phantom of the Opera, School of Rock, and Dear Evan Hansen. Sugarman also casts for regional theaters, web series, and TV and film projects. She is an alumni officer of the professional sorority Kappa Gamma Chi at Emerson, where she earned a BFA in Musical Theater. She has been a Tony Voter for the past four years, is an adjudicator for the Roger Rees Awards, and is a member of Casting Society of America. She teaches, coaches, and advises for theater programs at a number of colleges and universities, including Emerson.

Courtney Overton, MS ’13 | Young Alumni Award Recipient

Courtney Overton, MS ’13, CCC-SLP, is the owner and founder of Speech of Cake, Inc., a private practice in Alexandria, Virginia, that specializes in treating speech sound disorders, dyslexia, and dysgraphia. In 2020, she co-founded a microschool to help children learn in the middle of a pandemic. St. Clair Learning Center is an innovative educational environment for elementary-age students in Alexandria, Virginia. Overton is also the project manager of a federally funded grant at the University of Maryland, in which she and a team of consultants are researching the linguistic structures of African American English dialect in preschool-aged children in College Park, Maryland. She is also a doctoral student in literacy, culture, and language education at Indiana University with a minor in educational leadership. She has a master’s degree in speech-language pathology from Emerson and obtained a bachelor’s degree in speech-language pathology, minor in linguistics, and certificate in American Sign Language at the University of Pittsburgh.

Past Distinguished Alumni Award Winners

2020–2029

2020
Adele Lim ’96
Peter Loge ’87
Brian Smith ’95

2010–2019

2019
Andrea “Ange” Giannetti ’89
Alma Powell ’59
Dr. Scott Ratzan, MA ’86

2018
Drew Daywalt ’92
Frederick Nnoma-Addison ’02
Howard Zweig ’68

2017
Dorothy Aufiero ’80
Emily Rubin, MS ’97
Olen Steinhauer, MFA ’99

2016
Jared Bowen ’98
​Naketha Mattocks ’94
​Alyce Myatt ’74

2015
Pamela Abdy ’95
Carole Charnow ’79
Mike Gonzalez ’83
Dr. Bethany Nelson ’82

2014
Tisa Jackson ’95
David Klotz ’94
Tara Sandler ’84
Scott Wittman ’76

2013
Aaron Snipe ’94
Joel Stillerman ’84
Susan Wornick ’71

2012
Bonnie Comely, MA ’94
Paul Santinelli ’91

2011
Bonnie Brescia ’82
Brad Epstein ’85
Tony Goldman ’65
Raj Sharma, MA ’83

2010
Judith Johnson Elder ’67
Michael Mendenhall ’84
Clyde Terry ’74

2000–2009

2009
Holly Bario ’89
Susan Banks ’76
Larry Rasky ’77

2008
Alan Clendenning ’87
Sandra Goldfarb ’78
Michael McCusker ’88

2007
Jay Bienstock ’87
Lucia Cottone ’92

2006
Victoria ‘Tory’ Johnson ’92
Teresa Anne Nance ’73
Paul Tetreault ’84

2005
Brent Jennings ’74
Denise Kaigler ’85
Wayne Larrivee ’77

2004
Maxine Baker ’73
Randy Barbato ’82
Rev. John Coffee
William J. Miller ’74
Richard Charles Willis ’79

2003
Paul Beck ’69
Bill Bordy ’58
Kathryn ‘Kate’ Boutilier ’81
Elspeth Cypher ’80
Jim Vescera ’78

2002
Susan Batson ’64
Neil Davin ’72, MS ’79
Morton Dean Dubitsky ’57
Ira Goldstone ’71
Tobie S. Stein ’79

2001
Douglas Holloway ’76
Judith Spector Huret, MA ’69
Richard LaGravenese ’80
Evelyn Franz Woolston-May ’47
Stephen Young ’62

2000
Kevin Bright ’76
Marsha Glines ’70
Howard Atlee Heilen ’50
Richard Levy ’68
Michael Marge ’52
Robert Mehrman ’51
Stephen Shipps
Bernie Sweet ’60

1990–1999

1999
Francine Berger
Barry Freeman, MS ’71
Al Jaffe ’68
Gaynelle Griffin Jones ’69
Glenn Meehan ’83

1998
Alicia Brown ’76, MS ’80
Sara Green ’81
Judythe Kerman Isserlis ’67, MS ’69
Bobbi Brown Plofker ’79

1997
Iris J. Burnett ’68, MS ’70
Pamela M. Cross ’75
Don DeMesquita ’70
Robert Fleming
Dr. Norman M. Lear ’44, H’68
Robert W. Mullen Ph.D., ’60, MS ’62
Dr. Franklin H. Silverman ’60

1996
Roberta “Bobbi” Binder Aungst ’61
Gary Grossman ’70
Everett “Rett” Rich ’64, MS ’69
Sybil Siegel Tonkonogy ’58
Steven Wright ’78
Dr. Mickey Zemon

1995
Gary Berkowitz ’73
Rev. Dr. Suzan Johnson Cook ’76
Helen Ellis Klim ’51
Susan Elizabeth Lezon ’80
Che Madyun ’75
Michael Patti ’76
Marillyn Tufte Zacharis

1994
Noma Bennett Anderson, MS ’73
George Exoo ’64
David Glodt ’70
Stephen Langley ’60, MA ’61
Walt Littlefield
Peter Meade ’70
Arthur Teitelbaum ’60
John Wentworth ’81

1993
Ken Catandella
Ed Conture ’67
Linda Corradina ’81
Denis Leary ’79
Ric Poole ’69
Howard Rogut ’68
Mary Sweit Wilson, MA ’66

1992
Jeremy Alliger ’75
Michele Gillen ’77
Tim Kelly ’55
Charles J. Klim ’50, MS ’53
Paul Kreppel ’69
Elma Ina Lewis ’43
Kim Swann ’81
Sema Ullian

1991
Dr. Phil Amato ’60, MA ’61
Joe Boren ’69
Sean Driscoll ’60
Myra Gutin ’70
Doug Herzog ’81
Lloyd Roach ’71
Charles Rosen ’68
Arleen Sorkin ’77
Julian Wolinsky ’59

1990
Kathie Berlin ’65
Bill Dana ’50
Vin Di Bona ’66, H’94
Howard Feuer ’70
Jeff Greenhawt ’68
Dr. Jacqueline W. Liebergott
Frank S. Napal III ’69, MS ’70
Rick Sosny ’70
Henry Winkler ’67

1980–1989

1989
C. Thomas Bauer ’68
Chris Beck ’68, MS ’69
Spalding Gray ’65
Jay Leno ’73
Andrea Martin ’69
Dallas Mayr ’68
Eugene Roche ’53
A. Brooks Russell ’72, MS ’76

1988
Edythe Avery ’40
Bruce Barbieri ’69
Randolph W. Brooksbank ’69
Sally Wimmer Fishman ’38
John Goodman ’70
Dr. Bernadette MacPherson ’53
Phil Ramuno ’68
Helen Rose 
Barbara Segal Rutberg ’68
Al Valletta ’63

1987
Mario Cantone ’82
Gayle Carson ’59
Martha Hansen ’77
Robbie Jason ’82
Sidney Myer ’71
Anna Hamilton Phelan ’65
Dr. Edna Ward ’55
John C. Zacharis ’58, MS ’59, H ’92

1986
Harry Morgan ’59, MS ’65
George Quenzel

1985
Paul Beck ’69
William Bordy ’58
Helen Cross ’76
Haig Der Marderosian ’54, MS ’56

1984
Janet Bookspan ’54
Irma DiRusso ’47
Frances Crowley LaSoto ’44, MA ’48
Louise Pellegrino
Lincoln Stulik ’58

1983
Vin DiBona ’66
Ruth Mansur Fritz H’88
Lawrence H. Lentz ’69
Patricia Moeser ’70
Colette Phillips ’76

1982
Kenneth C. Crannell ’55, MA ’57
Debra Jane Douden Lentz ’69
Vito "Vic" Silvestri, MS ’59

1981
Richard Dysart ’56, H’83
Marcia Southwick Levis ’73
David Maynard ’51
June Hamblin Mitchell ’35, MA ’44
Oliver Woodruff H’79

1980
Rev. W. David Crockett ’41
Jeffrey Goldstein ’66
Thomas N. Lux ’70
Leonidas A. Nickole ’49, H’63

1978–1979

1979
Richard D. Rapiti ’69

1978
John Gantos, Jr. ’76
Robert D. Gatti ’64
Kenneth W. Mellgren ’68
Dr. Albert T. Murphy ’49
Leonidas A. Nickole ’49, H’63
Camille Poisson Pantalone ’43

Past Young Alumni Achievement Award Winners

The Young Alumni Achievement Award is given to an alumnus/alumna who has already begun making their mark in their chosen profession and has graduated within the last 10 years.

2020 | Brittany Martin Porter ’10
2019 | Alexander Freeman ’14
2018 | Stacey Barney, MFA ’04 and Emily Skeggs ’12
2017 | Barry Pousman ’06 & Jae Williams '08, MA ’16
2016 | Opus Moreschi ’00
2015 | Flora Charner ’04
2014  | Jason E. Grossman '02 & Shira Lazar ’04
2013 | Seth Grahame-Smith ’98
2012 | Veronica Belmont ’04 & Jason Castriota ’97
2011 | Morgan First ’06
2010 | Brendan McCarthy ’04
2009 | Iliza Shlesinger ’05
2008 | Maria Menounous ’00
2006 | Sam Presti ’00
2004 | Alex Tse ’98
2003 | Glenn Jones ’99