In the Loop
Alumni News : Feb 25, 2016

Dean Lavelli travels to New York City to meet with UF College of the Arts Alumni

By Bailey Benningfield

Dean Lucinda Lavelli recently travelled to New York City to visit with and celebrate the accomplishments of UF alumni and staff who have achieved exceptional success in their respective fields.

The dean’s first stop was the Alexander Gray Art Gallery in Chelsea to view the work of Coco Fusco, a professor with the School of Art + Art History and the Andrew Banks Family Endowed Chair for the College of the Arts. Fusco premiered her latest installation, Confidencial, Autores Firmantes (2015), which examines Cuba’s systematic censorship of key literary voices during the 1970s as well as the politics of identity, military power, the history of racial thought in post-revolutionary Cuba.

Next, the dean visited with Carl Byrd who received his Bachelor of Arts in graphic design. Byrd founded the major advertising company, CarlByrd&Co, which represents big names such as Gap, Macy’s, Amazon, and Target.

The dean also met with John Pinckard, a two-time Tony Award-winning Broadway producer who currently produces A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder. Pinckard is a School of Theatre + Dance alumnus who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from UF in 1988.

“Visiting college alums is a rewarding experience,” says Dean Lavelli.  “They consistently share fond memories and significant experiences from their Gainesville days that have propelled their careers. Relationships with faculty are at the heart of their experiences.”

Scott Hemerling, a University of Florida grad, works at Disney Theatrical Productions as the National Press Representative for Disney’s The Lion King on Broadway, overseeing the marketing, advertising, and publicity aspects of the touring company. When the dean visited Hemerling, she was able to obtain a behind-the-scenes look at the production and promotion of The Lion King.

“Often alums are willing to share advice and financial support to continue to enable the college to serve its students.  This cycle of giving back is an essential component of the university’s plan for preeminence,” says Dean Lavelli.

The dean also met with band supporters and other alumni whose generosity has greatly benefitted the College of the Arts.