One hundred and forty Emersonians came out to party at Emerson College Los Angeles (ELA) on August 13 during Sippin’ on Sunset, a celebration for alumni in Southern California.
Members of the Class of ‘66 all the way to the Class of ’16 dined on catered food, enjoyed music from a DJ, and watched the sun set with views of the Hollywood sign on a perfect Saturday evening on ELA’s fifth-floor Jackie Liebergott Terrace.
“We’re all just getting together to talk and have a good time,” said Ira Goldstone ’71, a newly appointed Emerson College Trustee. “As we get together across the classes, we’ll be better able to support Emerson.”
Joining Goldstone at the party were three other members of the Board of Trustees: Vin Di Bona ’66, Gary Grossman ’70, and Doug Herzog ’81. Having the opportunity to meet some of Emerson’s brightest stars and connect with other alumni was one of the reasons that Steven Ronaldson ’15, a freelance writer, attended the party.
“I’m a recent grad trying to meet alumni from all walks of life,” said Ronaldson, who participated in the ELA program in Spring 2015.
For many of the attendees, such as Kelly Morris ’95, the party was a chance to catch up with old friends and make new ones.
“I need to build my Emerson connection, so I’m working on it,” said Morris, a television editor. “I’m proud of my school and I’m so glad I got to go there.”
During a brief intermission at the party, Kevin Bright ’76, ELA’s founding director and senior advisor, welcomed Emersonians to the party and introduced new Vice President and Executive Director Allison Sampson.
“Though I’ve only been at Emerson LA for about a month, I can already tell this is a special place full of creativity, ingenuity, and spirit,” said Sampson. “I am excited to join the Emerson family and look forward to connecting with students and alumni.”
Di Bona feted outgoing Emerson Alumni LA Chapter Chair Kim Swann ’81, whom he said took 100 different coffee meetings with alumni, while Sampson introduced new Co-Chairs Gia Galligani ’98 and Scott Shipley ’04. Standing next to Galligani, Di Bona joked, “Gia and I are performing tonight as the school colors.”
Galligani and Shipley spoke briefly about how excited they were to connect with alumni through the LA Chapter. Working with ELA, the new co-chairs aim to energize the local chapter through a variety of events, including panels and networking opportunities for alumni in different stages of their careers as well as more get-togethers. They also provided information about ways for alumni to access space and services at the ELA Center.
Lucky attendees walked away from the party with some gifts. Among the items won during a giveaway: two grooming kits donated by Fernando Febres ’12, marketing manager at Baxter of California/L’Oréal; DVDs and T-shirts donated by Amanda Richards ’10, talent and casting coordinator at Sony Pictures Entertainment; and night tables donated by Shipley, brand and customer relations manager at MASH Studios. Wade Williams ’93, celebrity party planner and TV personality, catered the event.
“It’s an honor to cater this event for Emersonians across different generations,” said Williams. “Seeing old and new people in our new building is fantastic.”
Shannon Sullivan ’76 shared a few laughs with Bright, her former classmate. Together, they reminisced about hanging out by “The Wall,” which was located outside the former campus buildings near 130 Beacon Street in Boston.
“That’s where you got the local gossip,” said Sullivan, an actress and international travel production coordinator. “It’s great to be here to share memories, stay connected, and to get inspired by all the creative minds.”
Anna Correa, MA ’12, spent a couple of days as a volunteer with the LA Alumni Chapter, calling graduates to invite them to the party. For her, seeing the great turnout was gratifying for multiple reasons.
“I’m excited about meeting new people,” said Correa, who moved to LA a few months ago. “I love connecting with Emersonians and finding new friends in old places.”