—Producer Bonnie Comley MA ’94 and venture capitalist Paul Santinelli ’91 to be honored with Distinguished Alumni Awards; video gaming host Veronica Belmont ’04 and automotive designer Jason Castriota ’97 to be presented with Young Alumni Achievement Awards—
BOSTON (May 24, 2012)—On Saturday, June 2, Emerson College will honor four distinguished alumni during the school’s Alumni Weekend festivities (June 1–3). Each year, the College recognizes alumni who excel in their fields with the Distinguished Alumni Award and Young Achievement Award. The award honorees return to the campus, located in the heart of Boston’s Theatre District, to accept their individual awards among more than 300 fellow Emerson alumni.
The Distinguished Alumni Award recipients for 2012 are renowned producer Bonnie Comley whose Broadway 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; and Paul Santinelli, a general partner at North Bridge Venture Partners in Silicon Valley, California, specializing in Internet communications and infrastructure. This year’s Young Alumni Achievement Award honorees are Veronica Belmont, a gaming-centric video host based out of San Francisco, known for her one million Twitter followers and sharing her tech insights in numerous outlets, including the weekly tech help show Tekzilla on Revision3 Internet Television; and Saab design director Jason Castriota, who was named one of Fast Company magazine’s 100 Most Creative People in Business in 2011.
Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations Barbara Rutberg explains that the Alumni Association Board of Directors and the Emerson community (students, faculty, and staff) nominate individuals who best represent and share Emerson's commitment to diversity and innovation. “It’s our highest honor bestowed upon alumni—recognizing those who have shown exemplary professional achievements in their fields and share a long-standing commitment to students, programs, and initiatives at Emerson College,” said Rutberg.
Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients:
Bonnie Comley MA ’94 is a producer and vice president of Stellar Productions, Int'l Inc. She won her first Tony award for producing Broadway's Jay Johnson: The Two and Only in 2007. She 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. 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. Comley is currently in development to produce Stormy Weather on Broadway and several other theater and film projects. She also 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. Comley 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 has been a general partner at North Bridge since 2005. He specializes in communications and infrastructure and is based in California. Santinelli focuses on investments in open source, software, security, Internet applications, and infrastructure & 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. Santinelli also served as the director of global information systems and technology during his tenure at Red Hat. Prior to Red Hat, he was founder and CEO of NOCpulse, a Silicon Valley software start-up that was acquired by Red Hat in October 2002. While at NOCpulse, Santinelli was nominated for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award of 2002. Previously, 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 twelve years, Santinelli has held various engineering, product management, and marketing positions at companies including IBM, Lotus Development, and Compuware.
Young Alumni Achievement Award Recipients:
Veronica Belmont ’04 is a technology and gaming-centric 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. Veronica 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 more than one 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 founded Jason Castriota Design LLC (JCD) in 2009, a Premium Design and Brand building consultancy based out of New York, USA, and Torino, Italy. Renown 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 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 hails from New York and graduated from Emerson College before attending the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA. In 2001, he joined Pininfarina’s design studio in Turin, Italy. Pininfarina is the most respected automotive “tailor” in the world, developing concept or show cars and designing production models for Ferrari and Maserati. In June 2011, Castriota was named one of Fast Company magazine’s 100 Most Creative People in Business.