The Alumni Achievement Award is given annually to an alumnus/alumna for outstanding achievements in their field. This award was originally recognized as the Issachar Hoopes Eldridge Award and was reestablished in 1978 as the Alumni Recognition Award. In 1987, the Board of Directors of the Alumni Association voted to change the name again to the Alumni Achievement Award in order to more accurately reflect the various achievements alumni are making in their fields.

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2021 Award Recipients

Lisa Gregorian ’83, MA ’86 | Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient

Lisa Gregorian ’83, MA ’86, served as president and chief marketing officer of the Warner Bros. Television Group through December 2020. In the role, she built a best-in-class organization that oversaw the Studio’s global TV marketing unit, including creative services, distribution marketing, social, brand integrations, and publicity. Her team was responsible for working with television networks and stations worldwide to maximize and fully exploit the promotional marketing and publicity opportunities for all of the Studio’s television properties—including network, first-run, off-network, cable, digital and animated—produced and distributed by Warner Bros. Television Group’s various production and distribution business units. She and her marketing team also worked cross-divisionally with DC, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, Warner Bros. Consumer Products, and The CW Television Network, as well as WarnerMedia and AT&T. Gregorian also serves on the Emerson College Board of Advisors.

William Ludel ’70 | Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient

William Ludel ’70 has had a nearly 50-year career as a television and theater director and playwright. As one of the directors of the soap opera General Hospital for over 25 years, he’s received three Directors Guild of America Awards and nine Daytime Emmy Awards. His theater work has taken him across the country, including shows at WPA Theatre in New York, Long Wharf Theater, The O’Neill Theatre Center, Yale Rep, Williamstown Theatre, Hartford Stage, Pittsburgh Public, Milwaukee Rep, Antaeus Theatre, South Coast Rep, and ACT Seattle. His play A Death in the House Next Door to Kathleen Turner’s House on Long Island was produced by the Alliance Theater in Atlanta. Red and Scooter was a finalist for the National Repertory Theater Foundation Play Award. His scripts for The Oscillating Marbleman and Dr. Arthur Goldman’s Birthday Party were performed at the Yale Cabaret Hollywood. He has also been a mentor to aspiring film and television directors from the University of Southern California. Prior to attending Emerson, he was the recipient of the 1968 Dewey Prize from the University of Rochester. Following his graduation from Emerson, he attended the Yale School of Drama.

Charles Stewart ’86 | Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient

Charles Stewart ’86 is an award-winning executive producer, producer, and writer who has created, developed, executed, and supervised everything from live and taped TV news programs to documentaries, talk, digital, and entertainment shows on a local and national level. He worked as an executive producer on multiple newscasts for KCBS/KCAL Los Angeles and also served as an executive producer at NBC Los Angeles. In other roles, Stewart provided live coverage of some of the biggest stories in America and has also worked on national shows such as JFK: Inside the Evidence, Ripley’s Believe it or Not!, Hot Ticket, and the launch of the National Geographic channel. He is a winner of multiple Los Angeles–area Emmy, Golden Mike, and Associated Press awards. He began his television career during his junior year at Emerson. While taking on a full load of classes and working as a doorman and waiter at Ryles jazz club in Cambridge, he met a photographer from WNEV-TV Channel 7 (now WHDH). He asked if there were open positions at the station and was given a phone number to call for an internship. He applied and gained a position on the weekend assignment desk. It’s all history after that.

Merri Sugarman ’84 | Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient

Merri Sugarman ’84 started her career as an actress in national Broadway tours. After moving to Los Angeles, she worked on such shows as NewsRadio and The Larry Sanders Show. She then moved to Dreamworks Studios as the casting executive in charge of TV pilots and series. She also held the position of director of casting for dramas and movies at ABC Television before returning to the East Coast to teach and coach actors. She is currently a senior casting director at Tara Rubin Casting, where she casts Broadway and Off-Broadway, national touring, and international productions, including Jersey Boys, The Phantom of the Opera, School of Rock, and Dear Evan Hansen. Sugarman also casts for regional theaters, web series, and TV and film projects. She is an alumni officer of the professional sorority Kappa Gamma Chi at Emerson, where she earned a BFA in Musical Theater. She has been a Tony Voter for the past four years, is an adjudicator for the Roger Rees Awards, and is a member of Casting Society of America. She teaches, coaches, and advises for theater programs at a number of colleges and universities, including Emerson.

Courtney Overton, MS ’13 | Young Alumni Award Recipient

Courtney Overton, MS ’13, CCC-SLP, is the owner and founder of Speech of Cake, Inc., a private practice in Alexandria, Virginia, that specializes in treating speech sound disorders, dyslexia, and dysgraphia. In 2020, she co-founded a microschool to help children learn in the middle of a pandemic. St. Clair Learning Center is an innovative educational environment for elementary-age students in Alexandria, Virginia. Overton is also the project manager of a federally funded grant at the University of Maryland, in which she and a team of consultants are researching the linguistic structures of African American English dialect in preschool-aged children in College Park, Maryland. She is also a doctoral student in literacy, culture, and language education at Indiana University with a minor in educational leadership. She has a master’s degree in speech-language pathology from Emerson and obtained a bachelor’s degree in speech-language pathology, minor in linguistics, and certificate in American Sign Language at the University of Pittsburgh.

Past Distinguished Alumni Award Winners


Adele Lim ’96
Peter Loge ’87
Brian Smith ’95


Andrea “Ange” Giannetti ’89
Alma Powell ’59
Dr. Scott Ratzan, MA ’86

Drew Daywalt ’92
Frederick Nnoma-Addison ’02
Howard Zweig ’68

Dorothy Aufiero ’80
Emily Rubin, MS ’97
Olen Steinhauer, MFA ’99

Jared Bowen ’98
​Naketha Mattocks ’94
​Alyce Myatt ’74

Pamela Abdy ’95
Carole Charnow ’79
Mike Gonzalez ’83
Dr. Bethany Nelson ’82

Tisa Jackson ’95
David Klotz ’94
Tara Sandler ’84
Scott Wittman ’76

Aaron Snipe ’94
Joel Stillerman ’84
Susan Wornick ’71

Bonnie Comely, MA ’94
Paul Santinelli ’91

Bonnie Brescia ’82
Brad Epstein ’85
Tony Goldman ’65
Raj Sharma, MA ’83

Judith Johnson Elder ’67
Michael Mendenhall ’84
Clyde Terry ’74


Holly Bario ’89
Susan Banks ’76
Larry Rasky ’77

Alan Clendenning ’87
Sandra Goldfarb ’78
Michael McCusker ’88

Jay Bienstock ’87
Lucia Cottone ’92

Victoria ‘Tory’ Johnson ’92
Teresa Anne Nance ’73
Paul Tetreault ’84

Brent Jennings ’74
Denise Kaigler ’85
Wayne Larrivee ’77

Maxine Baker ’73
Randy Barbato ’82
Rev. John Coffee
William J. Miller ’74
Richard Charles Willis ’79

Paul Beck ’69
Bill Bordy ’58
Kathryn ‘Kate’ Boutilier ’81
Elspeth Cypher ’80
Jim Vescera ’78

Susan Batson ’64
Neil Davin ’72, MS ’79
Morton Dean Dubitsky ’57
Ira Goldstone ’71
Tobie S. Stein ’79

Douglas Holloway ’76
Judith Spector Huret, MA ’69
Richard LaGravenese ’80
Evelyn Franz Woolston-May ’47
Stephen Young ’62

Kevin Bright ’76
Marsha Glines ’70
Howard Atlee Heilen ’50
Richard Levy ’68
Michael Marge ’52
Robert Mehrman ’51
Stephen Shipps
Bernie Sweet ’60


Francine Berger
Barry Freeman, MS ’71
Al Jaffe ’68
Gaynelle Griffin Jones ’69
Glenn Meehan ’83

Alicia Brown ’76, MS ’80
Sara Green ’81
Judythe Kerman Isserlis ’67, MS ’69
Bobbi Brown Plofker ’79

Iris J. Burnett ’68, MS ’70
Pamela M. Cross ’75
Don DeMesquita ’70
Robert Fleming
Dr. Norman M. Lear ’44, H’68
Robert W. Mullen Ph.D., ’60, MS ’62
Dr. Franklin H. Silverman ’60

Roberta “Bobbi” Binder Aungst ’61
Gary Grossman ’70
Everett “Rett” Rich ’64, MS ’69
Sybil Siegel Tonkonogy ’58
Steven Wright ’78
Dr. Mickey Zemon

Gary Berkowitz ’73
Rev. Dr. Suzan Johnson Cook ’76
Helen Ellis Klim ’51
Susan Elizabeth Lezon ’80
Che Madyun ’75
Michael Patti ’76
Marillyn Tufte Zacharis

Noma Bennett Anderson, MS ’73
George Exoo ’64
David Glodt ’70
Stephen Langley ’60, MA ’61
Walt Littlefield
Peter Meade ’70
Arthur Teitelbaum ’60
John Wentworth ’81

Ken Catandella
Ed Conture ’67
Linda Corradina ’81
Denis Leary ’79
Ric Poole ’69
Howard Rogut ’68
Mary Sweit Wilson, MA ’66

Jeremy Alliger ’75
Michele Gillen ’77
Tim Kelly ’55
Charles J. Klim ’50, MS ’53
Paul Kreppel ’69
Elma Ina Lewis ’43
Kim Swann ’81
Sema Ullian

Dr. Phil Amato ’60, MA ’61
Joe Boren ’69
Sean Driscoll ’60
Myra Gutin ’70
Doug Herzog ’81
Lloyd Roach ’71
Charles Rosen ’68
Arleen Sorkin ’77
Julian Wolinsky ’59

Kathie Berlin ’65
Bill Dana ’50
Vin Di Bona ’66, H’94
Howard Feuer ’70
Jeff Greenhawt ’68
Dr. Jacqueline W. Liebergott
Frank S. Napal III ’69, MS ’70
Rick Sosny ’70
Henry Winkler ’67


C. Thomas Bauer ’68
Chris Beck ’68, MS ’69
Spalding Gray ’65
Jay Leno ’73
Andrea Martin ’69
Dallas Mayr ’68
Eugene Roche ’53
A. Brooks Russell ’72, MS ’76

Edythe Avery ’40
Bruce Barbieri ’69
Randolph W. Brooksbank ’69
Sally Wimmer Fishman ’38
John Goodman ’70
Dr. Bernadette MacPherson ’53
Phil Ramuno ’68
Helen Rose 
Barbara Segal Rutberg ’68
Al Valletta ’63

Mario Cantone ’82
Gayle Carson ’59
Martha Hansen ’77
Robbie Jason ’82
Sidney Myer ’71
Anna Hamilton Phelan ’65
Dr. Edna Ward ’55
John C. Zacharis ’58, MS ’59, H ’92

Harry Morgan ’59, MS ’65
George Quenzel

Paul Beck ’69
William Bordy ’58
Helen Cross ’76
Haig Der Marderosian ’54, MS ’56

Janet Bookspan ’54
Irma DiRusso ’47
Frances Crowley LaSoto ’44, MA ’48
Louise Pellegrino
Lincoln Stulik ’58

Vin DiBona ’66
Ruth Mansur Fritz H’88
Lawrence H. Lentz ’69
Patricia Moeser ’70
Colette Phillips ’76

Kenneth C. Crannell ’55, MA ’57
Debra Jane Douden Lentz ’69
Vito "Vic" Silvestri, MS ’59

Richard Dysart ’56, H’83
Marcia Southwick Levis ’73
David Maynard ’51
June Hamblin Mitchell ’35, MA ’44
Oliver Woodruff H’79

Rev. W. David Crockett ’41
Jeffrey Goldstein ’66
Thomas N. Lux ’70
Leonidas A. Nickole ’49, H’63


Richard D. Rapiti ’69

John Gantos, Jr. ’76
Robert D. Gatti ’64
Kenneth W. Mellgren ’68
Dr. Albert T. Murphy ’49
Leonidas A. Nickole ’49, H’63
Camille Poisson Pantalone ’43

Past Young Alumni Achievement Award Winners

The Young Alumni Achievement Award is given to an alumnus/alumna who has already begun making their mark in their chosen profession and has graduated within the last 10 years.

2020 | Brittany Martin Porter ’10
2019 | Alexander Freeman ’14
2018 | Stacey Barney, MFA ’04 and Emily Skeggs ’12
2017 | Barry Pousman ’06 & Jae Williams '08, MA ’16
2016 | Opus Moreschi ’00
2015 | Flora Charner ’04
2014  | Jason E. Grossman '02 & Shira Lazar ’04
2013 | Seth Grahame-Smith ’98
2012 | Veronica Belmont ’04 & Jason Castriota ’97
2011 | Morgan First ’06
2010 | Brendan McCarthy ’04
2009 | Iliza Shlesinger ’05
2008 | Maria Menounous ’00
2006 | Sam Presti ’00
2004 | Alex Tse ’98
2003 | Glenn Jones ’99