Emerson will honor four outstanding alumni during Alumni Weekend 2012. Tony Award–winning Broadway producer Bonnie Comley, MA ’94, and venture capitalist Paul Santinelli ’91 will receive Distinguished Alumni Awards. Technology and gaming video host Veronica Belmont ’04 and Maserati GranTurismo designer Jason Castriota ’97 will receive Young Alumni Achievement Awards. All four recipients will receive their awards at an event on June 2, at Emerson's Cutler Majestic Theatre. A celebration will follow at the Ritz-Carlton in Boston.
Other events taking place during Alumni Weekend include a showcase featuring Emerson students, alumni, and faculty, including a performance by Professor Emeritus Ken Crannell; a night of dinner and dancing at the Ritz-Carlton; a farewell reception for recently retired Professor Emeritus Stephen Shipps; a sunset Boston Harbor cruise; workshops led by Emerson alumni and faculty; Phi Alpha Tau’s 110th Anniversary Celebration; and the 4th Annual WERS Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.
Biographies of the Alumni Award winners follow:
Bonnie Comley MA '97
Comley won her first Tony Award for producing Broadway’s Jay Johnson: The Two and Only in 2007. The vice president of Stellar Productions Int’l Inc., Comley most recently produced the Tony–nominated and Drama Desk award–winner Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps, the longest running comedy on Broadway at the Helen Hayes Theatre. Her current productions include Gore Vidal's The Best Man, the 2012 revival of Tennessee William's Pulitzer Prize-winning play A Streetcar Named Desire, War Horse, and Priscilla Queen of the Desert.
Comley’s other Broadway credits include Legally Blonde and Broadway revivals of American Buffalo; Sunday in the Park with George; Cyrano de Bergerac, starring Kevin Kline, Jennifer Garner, and Daniel Sunjata; Fiddler on the Roof, starring Alfred Molina; and Gypsy, starring Bernadette Peters. Her film production credits include Show Business: The Road to Broadway, Brooklyn Rules starring Alec Baldwin, and American Bandits: Frank and Jesse James starring Peter Fonda. She is currently in development to produce Stormy Weather on Broadway and several other theater and film projects.
Comley serves on the Board of the Directors for the Drama League, the Board of Advisors for The Theatre Museum, the Dean’s Advisory Council at Emerson College, and the Chancellor’s Advisory Board for The University of Massachusetts Lowell. She is married to Tony award–winning producer Stewart F. Lane. Together they were honored with the Distinguished Producer Award at the Drama League's 2009 Benefit Gala and given the Arts Horizons Paul Newman Award in 2009. In 2008, the couple received the Medal of Honor from The Actors Fund.
Paul Santinelli ’91
Santinelli has been a partner at North Bridge Venture Partners since 2005. Based in California, he focuses on investments in open source, software, security, Internet applications, and infrastructure and communications. Previously, he served as director of Red Hat Network and was responsible for product definition, strategy, engineering, product management, marketing, and lifecycle management for the company’s flagship software services offering. He also served as the director of global information systems and technology during his tenure at Red Hat.
Prior to Red Hat, Santinelli was founder and CEO of NOCpulse, a Silicon Valley software start-up focused on delivering the next–generation enterprise systems management platform. While at NOCpulse, Santinelli was nominated for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award of 2002. Before founding NOCpulse, he was chief technology officer of Global Center and vice president of technology for Global Crossing, a telecommunications company that built and operated the world’s first independent global fiber optic network. During the past 12 years, Paul has held various engineering, product management, and marketing positions in companies including IBM, Lotus Development, and Compuware.
Veronica Belmont ’04
Belmont is a technology and gaming video host based out of San Francisco. Her current projects include Tekzilla (a weekly tech help and how-to show on Revision3.com); and The Sword and Laser, a science fiction and fantasy podcast and community, co-hosted with Tom Merritt. She has also written for Slate, DoubleX, MaximumPC, and PC Gamer, and was the original host of Qore on the PlayStation Network.
Belmont initially made her mark as a producer and on-air talent for CNET Networks (now CBS Interactive). She worked on such shows as Buzz Out Loud, MP3 Insider, Crave, and Prizefight. In 2007, she left CNET to host the eclectic video show Mahalo Daily, which was named one of the top new podcasts in 2008 on iTunes.
An avid gamer and social-networking fanatic (with over 1 million Twitter followers), Veronica often speaks about her interests at conferences and panels. She has also been the emcee at events for companies such as gdgt, Boxee, MacHeist and RiffTrax, and advises for companies such as About.me, gdgt, Goodreads, Soundtracking, WeGame, and others.
Jason Castriota ’97
Castriota founded Jason Castriota Design LLC (JCD) in 2009, a Premium Design and Brand building consultancy based out of New York, USA, and Torino, Italy. Renowned for premium design appreciated universally, JCD is currently engaged in design, strategy and brand building for a multitude of industries including fine furnishings, high-end home appliances, apparels and footwear, and automotive. Current non-confidential automotive clients of the company include Saab and Shelby Supercars.
In 2010, Mr. Castriota and his team were hired by Saab AB to rebuild and re-launch the brand—designing the next generation of vehicles. In March of 2011, Mr. Castriota and his team introduced their first design effort for Saab, the PhoeniX Concept, which went on to win multiple design awards and generate significant conversation around the Saab brand.
Castriota began his career in car design in 2001 by joining Pininfarina’s design studio in Turin, Italy. Pininfarina is the most famous of the Italian coach builders, developing concept or show cars and designing production models for Ferrari and Maserati.
Castriota hails from New York and graduated from Emerson in 1997 before attending the prestigious Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. In June 2011, Castriota was named one of Fast Company magazine’s 100 Most Creative People in Business.