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Evelyn Shatkin ’40 Remembered for “Grace and Spirit”

Evelyn Bergman Shatkin ’40, who hosted a variety radio show, worked in theater sales, and promoted numerous high-profile public relations campaigns during her long career, passed away April 2 after a brief illness. She was 97 and lived in Bristol, Rhode Island.

Shatkin remained a committed and spirited Emerson alumna for 75 years, serving as a former officer of the Emerson College Club of Southeastern New England and attending alumni events well into her 90s. At Alumni Weekend 2010, Shatkin, celebrating her 70th reunion, “partied the hardest” of anyone there, according to an article in Emerson College Today.

“’Is Evelyn coming?’ These few words always managed to bring such a smile to my face whenever Alumni Weekend was approaching,” said Barbara Rutberg, associate vice president of Development and Alumni Relations.

Shatkin could be counted on to bring a sense of fun and joy to the annual event, and reveled in working the room, from the youngest student to the most distinguished faculty to gray-haired alumni, Rutberg said.

“There was never a generation gap with Evelyn; she was always ready to make connections and listen to all of the wonderful perspectives that are brought together during the Alumni Weekends,” said Rutberg. “Her special grace and spirit were something to be admired, and she touched so many lives that will all be just a little less brilliant without her in them.”

Shatkin reached across the generations in her work life as well as her social life. In 1997, when WERS invited her to host a jazz show, she asked an Emerson graduate student to be her co-host, according to her obituary on

Radio was Shatkin’s first profession. Just a few years out of Emerson, she was host of the Five O’Clock Follies show on Boston’s CBS radio station, according to her obituary. Working as Evelyn Howe, she interviewed musical legends Louis Armstrong, Oscar Hammerstein II, Cole Porter, Ella Fitzgerald, and Glenn Miller. She would also co-produce two programs for the We the People talk show and was honored by Massachusetts Governor Maurice Tobin for organizing theater critics to produce talent shows for servicemen and women.

On Saturday, June 4, during this year’s Alumni Weekend, Shatkin will be posthumously inducted into the WERS Hall of Fame, Rutberg said.

Shatkin eventually moved to Rhode Island, having married Perry Shatkin, a lawyer for the Rhode Island Tax Division. There, she began a career in theater sales, starting at the Warwick Musical Theatre and eventually moving on to group sales for Paramount Pictures, according to Legacy.

When WJAR-TV offered her a job promoting the station’s image during an anniversary year, Shatkin embarked on a public relations career, eventually promoting programs such as Providence Adult Education, Trinity Repertory Theatre, American Cancer Society, Weight Watchers, and the United Way. After she retired, she did media relations for AmeriCorps agencies.

She was an active member of the former Women’s Advertising Club of RI, where she was a PR director, and she served on the PR Committee of Temple Beth-El, Providence. She and her husband were active in the civic life of Cranston, Rhode Island, including the Cranston Charter Campaign and the Cranston Committee for Better Schools, according to her obituary.

Shatkin leaves two daughters: Susan Shatkin of Bristol, Rhode Island, and Dr. Jo Anne Shatkin of Boston. Contributions in her memory may be made to the Rabbi Leslie Yale Gutterman Religious School Fund at Temple Beth-El, Providence, or to a charity of the donor’s choice, according to Legacy.

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