Five acclaimed alumni working in children’s literature, television, journalism, and theater/film will be honored during Alumni Weekend, June 1–3.
Best-selling children’s book author Drew Daywalt ’92, journalist Frederick Nnoma-Addison ’02, and Emmy Award-winning technical director Howard Zweig ’68 will receive Distinguished Alumni Awards. Book editor Stacey Barney, MFA ’04, and actor/singer Emily Skeggs ’12 will be presented with Young Alumni Awards.
Daywalt is the author of The Day the Crayons Quit (2013), his debut picture book, which spent a year at #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List and has stayed on the list for the past five years. The sequel, The Day the Crayons Came Home, also stayed on the list for a year, and his third book, The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors, is a New York Times Bestseller.
In total, Daywalt has 65 awards and accolades for his children’s books, including the E.B. White Read Aloud Award and the Time magazine Top 100 Best Children’s Books of All Time. He has books coming out soon from Scholastic, Disney/Hyperion, HarperCollins, and Penguin Random House.
Daywalt started his career writing for animated television series, getting an Emmy nomination for The Wacky World of Tex Avery. He’s also done live action screenwriting and directing for Quentin Tarantino, Lawrence Bender, Tony Scott, Jerry Bruckheimer, and George Romero.
Nnoma-Addison is president and CEO of AMIP News, a Washington, DC–based media company covering US-Africa news and events. In January, the African Union (AU) permanent representative to the United States appointed him publisher of Invest in Africa, an AU magazine distributed to African heads of state; government ministers; and political, financial, and corporate leaders around the world.
In Maryland, he has served on the Governor’s Commission on African Affairs since 2013 and is a guest lecturer on African affairs at the Foreign Service Institute of the State Department, and a former guest lecturer with President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative at Morgan State University in Baltimore.
He has written for CNN and whitehouse.gov, and has granted interviews on CBS. He began his career in the 1990s as a young television presenter in his native Ghana.
Zweig started working at ABC-TV as a vacation relief technician upon graduating from Emerson and stayed for the next 41 years, earning 10 Emmy Awards and shooting/recording presidential inaugurations, political scandals, and daytime soap operas along the way.
He began his career on the road doing remotes for golf, football, and other Wide World of Sports segments. He was on the White House lawn for the inauguration of President Richard Nixon in 1969 and was back in Washington four years later for the Watergate hearings. He also worked the inaugurations of presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, as well as the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, for which he won an Emmy Award.
He spent 31 years working on the daytime drama All My Children, earning 19 Emmy nominations and winning 9. In 2009, when the show relocated to California, he retired and began working as a freelance technical director.
Barney is an executive editor at G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, where she has edited the #1 New York Times bestselling The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh, as well as Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award–winning Firebird by ballet soloist Misty Copeland, illustrated by Christopher Myers; and Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor–winning Ellen’s Broom by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Daniel Minter.
She also has edited award-winning authors Kristin Levine (The Lions of Little Rock) and Tara Sullivan (The Bitter Side of Sweet), as well as New York Times bestsellers The Reader by Traci Chee and Happy by Pharrell Williams.
Skeggs made her Broadway debut in 2015 as Medium Allison in Fun Home, a role that brought her a Tony Award nomination and a Theatre World Award. Previously, she was an understudy, and later, Medium Allison in the Off-Broadway production of the show.
She began her Off-Broadway career in 2008 while still at Emerson, playing Muriel in Irish Rep’s Take Me Along, as well as performing in the musical Ripcords at the New York International Fringe Festival. She returned to Irish Rep after college, playing Polly Cantwell in Transport and Young Dee in Signature Theatre Company’s And I and Silence.
In recent years, Skeggs has been taking on film and television roles. She took a hiatus from Fun Home to do a guest role on WGN’s Salem, and to star as a young Roma Guy in the ABC miniseries When We Rise. She recently shot the pilot for the upcoming TNT series Snowpiercer, and you can see her in theaters this summer in Peter Berg’s Mile 22, starring Mark Wahlberg, and opposite Chloe Grace Moretz in The Miseducation of Cameron Post, directed by Desiree Akhavan.
The awards will be given out at the Alumni Association Awards Breakfast on Saturday, June 2. Register online for Alumni Weekend.