Arts, Media, and Athletics, N - Z

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Nicholas Paleologos, A75
Award-winning stage and screen producer and former legislator focusing on arts and education
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Tufts Degrees: B.A., cum laude, 1975

Other Degrees: MPA, Harvard University; Honorary Doctorate, Boston Conservatory, 2007

Awards & Honors: Primetime Emmy Award Nomination for In the Gloaming; two-time Tony Award winning producer; 2007 Lifetime Service to Public Education, Massachusetts Association of School Committees; 2014 Harvardwood Writers’ Competition for Best Feature Screenplay

Biography: Nicholas Paleologos is an award-winning theater and film producer and has spent nearly two decades in public service promoting education and the arts. A two-time Tony Award winning producer, his credits include both the London and Broadway productions of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. He is also the recipient of a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for the HBO film In the Gloaming, which marked the directorial debut of the late Christopher Reeve. Paleologos’ most recent film was the PBS documentary Louis Brandeis, The People’s Attorney. Prior to his career as a theater and film producer, he served for 14 years as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, where his primary focus was education and the arts. He championed several major initiatives during his tenure, including the 1985 Education Reform Act and the 1988 Boston/Moscow Cultural Exchange program. Later on he helped create the Boston Renaissance Charter Public School, where he served as a Founding Trustee for over a decade, and founded Boston’s Stuart Street Playhouse. From 2007 to 2010, Mr. Paleologos held the position of Executive Director at the Massachusetts Film Office. Under his leadership, the Office attracted over a billion dollars in spending during the making of many award-winning films, including Shutter Island and The Social Network. An author of various works on education, politics and the arts, he won the 2014 Harvardwood Writers’ Competition for Best Feature Screenplay. He currently serves as the Executive Director of the New Jersey State Arts Council.

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Dr. Joseph Polisi, F70
President of The Juilliard School, one of the most distinguished performing arts conservatories in the U.S., and accomplished bassoonist
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Tufts Degrees: M.A., The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, 1970

Other Degrees: M.M., M.M.A., D.M.A., Yale University; B.A., University of Connecticut; Honorary DM, Yale University; Honorary DFA, Brandeis University; Honorary DFA, University of Connecticut; Honorary DA, Middlebury College; Honorary DFA, Fordham University; Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, The Juilliard School; Honorary DMA, New England Conservatory; Honorary DM, Curtis Institute of Music; Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, Ursinus College

Awards & Honors: Samuel Simons Sanford Medal, Yale University School of Music; American Classical Music Hall of Fame Member; American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellow; The Dean’s Medal, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy; Educator of the Year 2005, Musical America; Recipient for The Juilliard School, National Medal of Arts; Royal Academy of Music Honorary Member

Biography:Dr. Joseph W. Polisi, F70, has served as the sixth president of The Juilliard School since 1984. His 31 years at Juilliard have been a time of vitality for the school. This period of growth has seen the construction of a residence hall and renovation of the Juilliard building, the creation of an exchange program with Columbia University and Barnard College, a new emphasis on community outreach, a school-wide initiative to develop interdisciplinary programs, the creation of the Institute for Jazz Studies – a collaborative program with Jazz at Lincoln Center – and the development of a mentoring program open to all students. He is further responsible for leading a $300 million campaign to increase student financial aid and faculty compensation, as well as to develop programming to prepare students for the changing demands of the 21st century.

An accomplished bassoonist, Dr. Polisi has performed extensively in the U.S. as both a soloist and a chamber musician. He has written many scholarly and educational articles for professional journals, is a frequent speaker on arts and education issues, has produced several sound recordings primarily focusing on contemporary American music, and has recorded a solo album of 20th-century bassoon music for Crystal Records. His two books – The Artist as Citizen and American Muse: The Life and Times of William Schuman – were published by Amadeus Press in 2005 and 2008, respectively. He currently serves as board member of The Wallace Foundation and of The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, and he is chair of the Avery Fisher Artist Program.

 

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Joshua Seftel, A90
Award-winning director and executive producer
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Tufts Degrees: B.A., French, 1990

Awards & Honors: Emmy Award Recipient, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy; Emmy Award Nomination, Lost and Found; Time Magazine’s “One of the Ten Best Programs of the Year” for Taking on the Kennedys; James Beard Award Nomination, Lidia Celebrates America; AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Award, PBS NOVA; National Arts Journalism Program Fellowship, Columbia University; Tribeca Film Festival Official Selection, War, Inc. and The Many Sad Fates of Mr. Toledano; South by Southwest Selection, The Home Team

Biography: Joshua Seftel is a critically acclaimed American film and television director. He received his first Emmy nomination at age 22 for his film Lost and Found, a documentary about Romania’s orphaned and abandoned children. The PBS broadcast of Lost and Found spurred thousands of American adoptions of Romanian orphans and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the cause. Seftel followed this with many highly regarded independent films, including Taking on the Kennedys (PBS’ P.O.V.), which was chosen by Time Magazine as “one of the ten best television programs of the year;” It’s the Hard Knock Life (PBS), which the New York Times called “delightful;” Ennis’ Gift (HBO); The Home Team (SXSW 2014); and The Many Sad Fates of Mr. Toledano (Tribeca, 2015).

In the 1990s, Seftel was a producer at CBS News, working with Dan Rather, Bryant Gumbel, and Harry Smith. He also directed the Emmy Award-winning premiere season of Bravo’s groundbreaking Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. His feature film directorial debut came in 2008 with War Inc., a political satire starring John Cusack, Marisa Tomei, and Ben Kingsley, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and played in movie theaters across the globe. His stories have been featured on Ira Glass’ Peabody Award-winning This American Life, and his essays have appeared on NPR, Salon.com, and CBS Sunday Morning. He is represented by the Creative Artists Agency.

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Neal B. Shapiro, A80
Award-winning producer and news executive with a 25-year career in print, broadcast, cable, and Internet media
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Tufts Degrees: B.A., History & Political Science, 1980

Awards & Honors: P.T. Barnum Award for Excellence in Entertainment, Tufts, 2008; Light on the Hill award; Emmy Awards, DuPont-Columbia Awards, George Polk Award; Sigma Delta Chi Awards; Chris Awards; Investigative Reporter and Editor Award

Biography: Neal Shapiro is the CEO and President of WNET.ORG where he oversees two of the largest public television stations in the country: Thirteen/WNET and WLIW21. In his three years there, he has revitalized and revamped programming, built a state-of-the-art glass-walled studio and set new fund-raising records. From 2001-2005, Mr. Shapiro worked for NBC as Executive Producer of Dateline NBC, where he guided the show from a one night a week to a five night a week program, and later as the President of NBC News. He personally directed the successful anchor transition from Tom Brokaw to Brian Williams in December 2004, the first such transition in more than 20 years. He also oversaw the network's number-one-rated news programs: Today, NBC Nightly News and Meet the Press. Mr. Shapiro has taught journalism at Tufts and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and has lectured at many universities including MIT and Stanford. He currently chairs the Communications and Media Studies program at Tufts.

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Deke Sharon, A91
Prolific a cappella arranger, performer, and producer credited with popularizing modern a cappella
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Tufts Degrees: B.A., Child Study, 1991

Biography: Heralded as "The Father of Contemporary A Cappella," Deke Sharon is responsible for the current sound of modern a cappella, having created the dense vocal-instrumental sound at Tufts while directing the Beelzebubs. He subsequently popularized it through the a cappella group House Jacks, NBC’s The Sing-Off, and the feature film Pitch Perfect. As the founder, director, and arranger for the House Jacks, the original "Rock Band without Instruments," Mr. Sharon has shared the stage with countless music legends, including Ray Charles; James Brown; Crosby, Stills and Nash; and The Temptations, and performed for luminaries such as President Bill Clinton. He produces The Sing-Off worldwide, which had the highest ratings of any new, unscripted television show in the US in 2009 and was the third highest rated show on NBC in 2010. In addition, Mr. Sharon served as arranger, on-site music director, and vocal producer for Universal's Pitch Perfect (2012). He founded the Contemporary A Cappella Society while in his dorm room at Stratton Hall, and is responsible for many seminal a cappella programs, such as the CARAs (Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards) and the first contemporary a cappella conference (the A Cappella Summit). Mr. Sharon is also contemporary a cappella's most prolific arranger, having arranged over 2,000 songs. His first book, A Cappella Arranging, was published in 2012. He has produced dozens of award-winning a cappella albums (including Straight No Chaser, Committed, Nota, Street Corner Symphony, and the Tufts Beelzebubs), created a cappella groups for Disneyland and Disneyworld, and frequently tours the world teaching a variety of topics to students and professional singers. His voice can be heard in commercials and video games, most recently in "Just Dance Kids 2." He will star in a new a cappella TV show on Lifetime in 2015.

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Anita H. Shreve, J68
Bestselling author whose themes of home and family life garnered her a spot in Oprah's Book Club
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Tufts Degrees: B.A., English, 1968

Awards & Honors: John P. Marquand Prize in American Literature, 2010; PEN/L. L. Winship Award, 1998; New England Book Award, 1998; O. Henry prize (Past the Island, Drifting), 1976

Biography: Anita Shreve began her writing career while working as a high school teacher. She met with early success as one of her first published short stories, Past the Island, Drifting was awarded an O. Henry Prize. Ms. Shreve then tried her hand at writing and editing for a number of New York magazines. Later, when she started her family, she did freelance work, publishing stories in the New York Times Magazine, New York magazine and dozens of other publications. In 1989, she published her first novel, Eden Close. Since then, she has written 14 other novels, among them The Weight of Water, The Pilot's Wife, The Last Time They Met, A Wedding in December, and Body Surfing. Her newest novel, Rescue, comes out November 30 of this year. In 1999, The Pilot's Wife became the 25th selection of Oprah's Book Club and an international bestseller. In April 2002, CBS aired the film version of The Pilot's Wife, starring Christine Lahti, and in fall 2002, The Weight of Water, starring Elizabeth Hurley and Sean Penn, was released in movie theaters.

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Adam Sol, A91
Famous Canadian-American Poet
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Tufts Degrees: B.A., English, cum laude, 1991

Other Degrees: MFA, Creative Writing, Indiana University. 1995; Ph.D., English, University of Cincinnati, 2000

Awards & Honors: 2004, Trillium Award for Poetry; 2009, short-listed, Trillium Award for Poetry

Biography: Adam Sol is a Canadian-American poet and professor whose poems deal with Jewish subjects and the inherent difficulties of allying oneself with a community, whether religious or otherwise. He has published four collections of poetry, the latest of which, Complicity, was released in 2014 by McClelland & Stewart. His previous collections include Jeremiah, Ohio, a novel in poems which was shortlisted for Ontario’s Trillium Award for Poetry; Crowd of Sounds, which won the award in 2004; and Jonah’s Promise. He has published fiction, scholarly essays, and reviews for a variety of publications, including The Globe and Mail, Lemonhound, and Joyland.com. He is currently an Associate Professor of English at Laurentian University in Ontario, and lives in Toronto with his wife, Rabbi Yael Splansky, and their three sons. Mr. Sol comes from a family of esteemed Tufts alumni, including his mother, Roberta Sol (J65); sister, Rabbi Felicia Sol (A93); and uncle, Dr. Jeff Sol (M68).

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David Sonenberg, A68
Highly successful music producer, entertainment lawyer, and CEO of DAS Communications
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Tufts Degrees: B.A., Drama and Political Science, 19689

Other Degrees: J.D., Harvard Law School, 1971

Awards & Honors: Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature Film, When We Were Kings

Biography: A Harvard Law School graduate, David Sonenberg is the founder and CEO of the music management label DAS Communications, where he has managed the likes of Meat Loaf, The Fugees, John Legend, the Black Eyed Peas, Fergie, Jimmy Lovine, and Natasha Bedingfield. He has also won an Academy Award for his documentary feature film, When We Were Kings. Mr. Sonenberg began his career at the prestigious entertainment law firm Weissberger & Frosch, which represented clients such as Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. While at the firm, he represented Broadway and Off-Broadway musical productions, including Hair, Godspell, and Cabaret. Later, he established his own law firm and began DAS Communications Ltd., a full service management company located in New York, representing artists in the entertainment and amusement industries. DAS’s first management project, "Bat Out Of Hell", set an industry record for a debut album, with worldwide record sales of more than 50 million units. To date, artists represented by DAS Communications have written, produced, and performed recordings with sales totaling in excess of 400 million records worldwide. In addition to producing the highly acclaimed documentary When We Were Kings, starring Muhammed Ali, Sonenberg is also recognized for his popular film Dead Ringer, a dark comedy about the rock star Meat Loaf, and for the film Soul Power. Currently, he is working on the sequel to the cult classic The Harder They Come, starring Jimmy Cliff. Pursuant to an agreement with Yoko Ono, Sonenberg established the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus Inc, a 501c(3) corporation that operates buses both in the United States and Europe. To date, over 3 million students have had the opportunity to board these buses and work with highly trained and talented producers, engineers, and video artists.

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Nancy Stern, J86
Award-winning producer and director whose remarkable talents include a vast expertise in producing live events, network television specials and scripted dramas
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Tufts Degrees: B.A., Political Science, 1986

Awards & Honors: Distinguished Service Award, TUAA, 2007; shares 16 Emmys with her business partner and sister Lisa Lax

Biography: Nancy Stern is an award-winning producer and director with expertise in news, sports, and entertainment. One of Nancy's most notable accomplishments was being the first woman and youngest to produce the world's most famous bicycle race, The Tour de France.

Along with her twin sister, Lisa Lax, Ms. Stern founded LOOKALIKE Productions, a production company devoted to creating stories that educate and excite through short and long form documentary films; television specials and series; live events; award shows; commercials; and films for schools, corporations and not-for-profit organizations. One of the company’s most successful productions is the 2005 award-winning documentary Emmanuel's Gift, which highlights the courageous efforts of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah as he fought for the rights of his 2,000,000 fellow disabled peers in Ghana, West Africa. The film sparked a passionate global discussion about human rights and in July, 2006, Ghana's Parliament passed a Disability Bill which guarantees rights for this previously neglected community.

Ms. Stern and her sister also directed and produced 2008's Let It Out: The Movie, a documentary film presented by Kleenex where Olympic legends and their fans share their most poignant memories of the Games. The sisters share 16 Emmys. Before forming LOOKALIKE Productions, Stern served as an executive producer of Jumbolaya Productions.

Most recently, in conjunction with Sesame Workshop and Worldwide Pants, Lookalike Productions has completed three prime time specials for PBS. When Families Grieve, hosted by Katie Couric, was just nominated for a primetime Emmy award in the nonfiction children’s programming category. Coming this September, Lisa and Nancy have directed and produced Unmatched, a documentary film for ESPN's prestigious series, 30 for 30.

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Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr., A74
Publisher of The New York Times who has deftly ushered the newspaper giant into the 21st century
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Tufts Degrees: B.A., 1974

Other Degrees: Harvard Business School, Management Development, 1985

Awards & Honors: Light on the Hill Award, Tufts

Biography: Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr. comes from a long line of newspaper businessmen. The son and grandson of New York Times publishers, he has dedicated his entire career to the newspaper business. He became the publisher of The New York Times in 1992 and chairman of the board of its owner, The New York Times Company, in 1997, succeeding his father, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger. During his time as publisher, The Times has earned 42 Pulitzer Prizes in recognition of momentous journalism such as its breakthrough series "How Race is Lived in America," its internationally acclaimed coverage of the September 11 terrorist attack in a "A Nation Challenged" and "Portraits of Grief," "Class Matters," a 11-part series exploring class in American society, "Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts," an expose of the Bush Administration's use of wiretaps and "China Rises," a four-part, multimedia series. While maintaining his role as publisher, Mr. Sulzberger has enacted print, online, and broadcast initiatives in his new position as senior executive that enable the Company to compete successfully in the 21st century global media marketplace. In addition to his duties as publisher, Mr. Sulzberger was instrumental in the establishment of the Times Square Business Improvement District in 1992 and served as the first chairman of the civic organization. He also helped found and serves as on the board of the New York City Outward Bound Center.

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Dr. David S. Wiley, A89
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Tufts Degrees: B.A., Religion, 1989

Other Degrees: B.A., Piano Performance, New England Conservatory of Music; D.M and M.M., Instrumental Conducting, Indiana University

Awards & Honors: Citizen of the Year in the Arts, NAACP, 2009; Perry F. Kendig Award for Service to the Arts, Winner of the Aspen Conducting Prize and a Conducting Fellowship to Tanglewood

Biography: Maestro David Stewart Wiley is Music Director and Conductor of New York's Long Island Philharmonic and the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra in Virginia. Under his leadership, both the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra and the Long Island Philharmonic have grown impressively in artistic achievement and patronage, and his work with education and outreach in the arts has brought countless people of all ages to appreciate great instrumental and choral music. Prior to these positions, he served as Assistant Conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and served for seven successful summers as the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Wintergreen Summer Music Festival in Virginia, where he founded the orchestra and performance academy. Active as a guest conductor, pianist, lecturer, and composer, Mr. Wiley has conducted acclaimed professional orchestras in nearly every state and in dozens of countries abroad. He has collaborated with a diversity of acclaimed solo artists and groups including John Williams, Billy Joel, Bernadette Peters, Art Garfunkel, the Pointer Sisters, and Kool & The Gang, among others. He is the co-founder of the Tufts co-ed a cappella group the Amalgamates, now celebrating its 25th anniversary.

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Colin Woodard, A91
Award-winning foreign correspondent, investigative journalist, and author
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Tufts Degrees: B.A., History, 1991

Other Degrees: M.A., International Relations, University of Chicago, 1996

Awards & Honors: 1991 John S. Gibson Award Recipient; 2004 Jane Bagley Lehman Award for Public Advocacy Recipient; 2007 Morton A. Kaplan Prize Recipient; 2012 Maine Literary Award Recipient; 2012 George Polk Award Recipient; 2013 and 2014 Gerald Loeb Award Finalist

Biography: Colin Woodard is an award-winning author and journalist. He is currently the State & National Affairs Writer at the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram, where his investigative reporting on “The Profit Motive behind Virtual Schools in Maine” won a 2012 George Polk Award. He also writes for Washington Monthly, Politico Magazine, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, and reviews books for the Washington Post. A native of Maine, he has reported from more than fifty foreign countries and six continents and was a long-time foreign correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor. He was recently named one of the ""Best State Capitol Reporters in America"" by the Washington Post and Journalist of the Year by the Maine Press Association. He is also a skilled public speaker who has provided keynote presentations to numerous industry, government, and policy conferences. Mr. Woodard is the author of four books, including The Republic of Pirates and American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America. The latter was named one of the Best Books of 2011 by the editors of The New Republic and The Globalist and earned him the 2012 Maine Literary Award for non-fiction; the former is a New York Times bestseller and the basis for the 2015 NBC series “Crossbones.” His fifth book, American Character: A History of the Epic Struggle between Individual Liberty and the Common Good, will be published in March 2016. He is a former John Hopkins University Pew Fellow in International Journalism and Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe Policy Fellow, and is a currently a trustee of the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences and a member of the Cosmos Club in Washington, DC.

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