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Lacerte family endows Writing and Academic Resource Center

lacerte family academic resource center staff

The Lacerte Famly Writing and Academic Resource Center’s Linda Miller (left); Associate Director of Student Accessibility Services Diane Paxton; Director of the Center for Innovation, Teaching, and Learning Karen St. Clair; Jacqueline Holland (Lacerte Center), and Matthew Phalen (Lacerte Center).

The Writing and Academic Resource Center at Emerson College was formally dedicated as The Lacerte Family Writing and Academic Resource Center on May 3 in recognition of a $1 million gift from the family of Madison Lacerte ’10.

“When we asked Madison which program she wanted to support,” said Joyce Lacerte from the family’s home in Dallas, Texas, “she said the Writing and Academic Resource Center because it was so helpful to her during her time at Emerson College.”

The Lacertes are philanthropists who have contributed to the Republican National Committee, Boston College, the Dallas Zoological Society, and to the Hockaday School in Texas, where another Lacerte child attended school. Joyce Lacerte also volunteers her time at the Dallas Zoological Society, the Catholic Foundation, and the Distinguished Lecture Series at Southern Methodist University.

“The writing center helped me out so much,” said Madison, who studied Visual and Media Arts. “I know that students don’t know much about what [the Center does], so I was hoping this would help expand the Center’s resources so that it can impact more students.” 

The Lacerte Family Writing and Academic Resource Center is a one-stop location for students seeking academic support. The Center provides support in writing, study approaches, test preparation, and reading comprehension. It has a staff of 15 graduate assistant writing tutors, more than 20 peer tutors, and four full-time professionals: Jodi L. Burrel, assistant director of academic support and special programs; Jacqueline Holland, administrative assistant; Linda A. Miller, assistant director of international support services; and Matthew Phelan, assistant director of writing and special programs.

Madison recalled spending a lot of time in the writing center while at Emerson, working with tutors on her academic papers and other projects. “I would meet with the graduate students and staff there, and they were incredibly helpful. I met with Jodi, who would help me out with note-taking and the tests. She was amazing. She helped me prepare for my classes and with time management. There was also Matthew, who helped me choose my classes at the end of the semesters. He helped me to determine which classes would be most beneficial to me.”

“This is really a remarkable gift that the Lacerte family has given us,” said Linda Moore, Emerson’s vice president for academic affairs. “Many times when people want to support the College, they think of things that are more glamorous than a place for students to come and get help. So the fact that they have made a commitment to students becoming better at what they do is terrific.”

In 1978, Larry Lacerte founded Lacerte Software Corp., which provides software for professional tax preparers. Today he is recognized as one of the leading entrepreneurs in the technology industry. He has also served on the boards of CT Holdings Enterprises, Universal Display Corp., Teraglobal Communications Corp., Citadel, and Parago, Inc.

Madison lives in Los Angeles and is working as a production secretary/office production assistant on Celeste and Jesse Forever, an upcoming feature film. Most recently, she completed work as an office production assistant on Rampart, an independent film starring Ben Foster, Woody Harrelson, Sigourney Weaver, Robin Wright, Ice Cube, and Steve Buscemi. 

“I learned so much while at Emerson College, and the skills that I acquired there help me in my work today,” said Madison, who wants to eventually produce movies.

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