Advisory Council members

Robert Blaich ’52, H’90

Industrial designer Robert Blaich received a bachelor of fine arts degree from VPA and an honorary doctor of fine arts degree from SU. He began his career with the furniture company Herman Miller, where he eventually served as vice president of corporate design and communications. He then joined Royal Philips Electronics in the Netherlands as head of design and, upon retirement in 1992, founded Blaich Associates in Aspen, Colorado. He is an active member of the Industrial Designers Society of America, which honored him with its Personal Recognition Award and recently named him chair of its Catalyst Jury. He was also knighted by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.


Richard Bovender ’02

Richard Bovender graduated from VPA with a bachelor of fine arts degree. He began his career as a web and graphic designer for Hospital Corporation of America in Nashville, Tennessee, and later served as an IT project manager. He last held the position of project manager of Pinnacle Construction Services in Nashville and started a commercial real estate asset management and development company. Richard recently took on the position of associate hospital administrator at Skyline Medical Center in Nashville for the Hospital Corporation of America. He has served on the University School of Nashville’s alumni council and is the board chair of L'ete du Vin, a Nashville-based cancer charity.


Robert Braun P’11

Robert Braun is president of S.M. Morgan Inc., a real estate management company. He is a member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Board of Overseers and is on the board of directors of the Museum of Latin American Art, LA Opera League, and Long Beach Opera. He has served as a board member/treasurer of the Los Angeles Committee for Philanthropic Arts and the Business and Professional Committee for Los Angeles Philharmonic. He and his wife, Joan Friedman, are founders of the Los Angeles Music Center. Their son Jonathan is a 2011 graduate of SU’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management.


Johanna Sturm Chehi ’78

Johanna Chehi graduated from VPA with a bachelor of fine arts degree in metalsmithing in 1978. Since then, she has enjoyed several careers, including work as a buyer for Syracuse-based C.E. Chappell and Sons, work in the printing industry, and real estate investment and management. She has two children, and over the years has volunteered and held leadership positions in many community organizations and fundraising projects. Johanna and her husband frequent Fogo Island, Newfoundland, where they sponsor an artist residency program and gallery.

Mary Cotter ’69

Mary Cotter served as president of Time Warner Cable in upstate New York from 1995-2008. She currently serves on the boards of Crouse Hospital, the Metropolitan Development Foundation, Cazenovia College, and Parks and Trails of New York Advisory Board. Her many recognitions include two Time Warner Cable Chairman’s awards for outstanding cable operations, two Cable World Magazine’s Most Powerful Women in Cable Awards, and the New York State Senate Women of Distinction Award. She received a bachelor of music degree from VPA.


Lauren B. Cramer G’94 (LAW), chair

Lauren B. Cramer graduated with a juris doctorate from SU’s College of Law in with a focus on the arts and law. She is an attorney at McLaughlin & Stern, LLP and specializes in private and charitable foundation formation and administration. She is involved with many not-for-profit organizations including, among others, Jacques d’Amboise’s National Dance Institute, Ballet NY and lower Manhattan’s Jewish Community Project. She is on the Board of the Gerald and Daphna Cramer Family Foundation.


Michael P. Falcone

Michael P. Falcone has been a principal in the Pioneer Companies since its inception in 1987 and currently serves as the chairman and CEO. Prior to joining the company, he worked as a broker in Boston for the Codman Companies, which at the time was one of New England’s largest commercial real estate brokerage companies. He serves as vice president, trustee, and executive committee member of the Eaglebrook School in Deerfield, Massachusetts, and is on the advisory board of the Skaneateles Festival, a chamber music festival in Skaneateles, New York. Professionally, he is a member of the Urban Land Institute, the International Council of Shopping Centers, the U.S. Green Building Council, the New York State Green Building Council, and the Congress for New Urbanism. He is a graduate of Georgetown University.


Ellen Baker Ghelardi ’73

Ellen Baker Ghelardi received a bachelor of science degree in drama from VPA. She is the executive director of her family’s foundation, which gives more than half its grants each year to arts and culture initiatives. Her past positions include leading the management, artistic, and educational staff of PA STAGE. She is also the founder and former executive director of Theatre on Wheels in Houston. She served as a consultant and trainer with the Texas Educational Theatre Association Inc./Creative Drama Network and has been a grants panelist for the New York State Council on the Arts, the Cultural Arts Council of Houston, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.


Dennis Gilbert ’73

Dennis Gilbert studied voice and percussion at VPA and earned a bachelor of music degree in music education. He taught instrumental and vocal music at the secondary school level before embarking on a successful career in the textile and real estate businesses. Now semi-retired, he works in a volunteer capacity, serving on the board and development committee of the White Plains Hospital Center in White Plains, New York, and working with other not-for-profits. He also serves the North American Reform Jewish Community in many capacities. He is a percussionist with the Westchester Symphonic Winds and a drummer with the Jewish rock band Mah Tovu.


Nancy Shapiro Gilbert ’74 (EDU)

Nancy Gilbert received a bachelor of science degree with a dual major in elementary education and English from SU’s School of Education. After graduation, she worked for the Rockefeller Foundation and then embarked on a 13-year career in advertising. Beginning as an assistant, she ultimately became a senior account executive at NW Ayer ABH International in New York City. After her two sons were born, her work focus shifted to community service volunteer work. She held numerous volunteer positions with the PTA, serving two years as a vice president as well as chairing numerous projects at her local synagogue in Scarsdale, New York. For more than 20 years she has been deeply involved with the auxiliary of White Plains Hospital Center, serving as its president for two terms and chairing the organization's numerous fundraising activities over the years.


Warren Kimble ’57

Warren Kimble earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from VPA and is now America’s best-known contemporary folk artist. He is considered one of the top home furnishings designers today, with his images translated into dinnerware, wall coverings, framed prints, rugs, furniture, and textiles by his 35 licensing partners. Warren and his wife/business partner, Loraine, live and work in Brandon, Vermont, where they have been deeply involved in small-town civic life and philanthropy for more than 30 years. They continue to be a strong force in community development, working together with other artists and community leaders to begin an artist’s guild, renovate the historic town hall, and rehabilitate a now-thriving downtown. His honors and awards include SU’s George Arents Pioneer Medal, the University’s highest alumni honor, and an honorary doctor of fine arts degree from Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont.


Charles "Chuck" Klaus ’07 (NEW)

Chuck Klaus is a consultant and curator with the Grand Emporium in San Pedro, California. He is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.


Marylyn Klaus ’56, G’57

Marylyn Klaus graduated from VPA with a bachelor of fine arts degree in art education and went on to earn a master of science degree in art education from SU. Previously an art educator and now an entrepreneur, she is the owner of the Grand Emporium, Whale & Ale, and Grand House Management Company in San Pedro, California.


Edwin London ’49 (MAN/NEW)

Edwin London recently retired as New York managing partner of Gelfand, Rennert and Feldman (GR&F), where he helped expand the firm’s services for an elite clientele in the creative and performing arts. He has represented such high-profile clients as George Benson, James Taylor, and Billy Joel. Prior to working at GR&F he served as president and chair of Photographic Research Organization and was a strategic planning consultant. He graduated from SU with a dual bachelor of science degree in management and journalism from the Martin J. Whitman School of Management and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. He is also a recipient of the George Arents Award, SU’s highest alumni honor.


Peter Lynch ’74

Peter Lynch has served on the Advisory Council since its inception. As executive vice president of ChaseDesign, a firm with offices in Skaneateles, New York, and San Francisco, he works with national and multinational clients on product design, package design, retail design, and strategic development. Since joining the firm in 1987, he has been involved in projects in North America, Europe, and the Pacific Rim. He graduated from VPA with a bachelor of industrial design degree and is a member of the Association of Professional Design Firms.


Peter Maciulewicz

Peter Maciulewicz is the president and owner of Mack Studios, a company in Auburn, New York, that creates displays and retail environments for clients ranging from museums to Fortune 500 companies. A musician who specializes in jazz bass, he attended the Berklee College of Music and has performed and recorded professionally since 1974. He is also a painter whose work often draws on the energy and imagery from his love of music.


Arielle Tepper Madover ’94

A Tony Award-winning producer, Arielle Tepper Madover has produced theater on and off Broadway since 1998, receiving 74 Tony nominations and 34 Olivier nominations. Broadway credits include Red (nominated for seven 2010 Tony Awards and winner of six, including Best Play), Hamlet, Mary Stuart, Hair, Equus, Frost/Nixon, and Monty Python’s SPAMALOT. Off- Broadway credits include De La Guarda “ Villa Villa” and The Last Five Years. She has also produced the U.S. national tour of Frost/Nixon and the U.S. national tour and Vegas production of Monty Python’s SPAMALOT. In 2005 she formed “The Living Room for Artists,” a not-for-profit that also founded the Summer Play Festival. She is a member of the board of trustees at the Public Theater and the Dalton School as well as a member of the Juilliard Drama Council and the League of American Theaters and Producers.


Iris Magidson ’64

Iris Magidson graduated from VPA with a bachelor of fine arts degree in advertising design. Thirty-six years later she returned to SU as a full-time professor to teach communications design from 2000-2006. In between, she worked for New York City design consulting offices and in-house for Bristol-Myers Squibb's domestic and worldwide businesses from 1969-1995, first as a designer and then as a design director. She has in-depth knowledge of and experience with all aspects of strategic brand development. Concurrently she worked as a visual communications consultant with her own firm since 1970. She now volunteers her time solving communications design problems for nonprofit organizations on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, where she lives with her husband, Frank D. Sullivan.


Richard McAuliffe Jr. ’90

Richard McAuliffe is chairman of the Mayforth Group, a government relations firm in Rhode Island. Before founding the company, he served in the public sector as a legislative assistant for U.S. Senator Jack Reed and ran State Senator Charles J. Fogarty’s successful campaign for lieutenant governor, after which he served as Fogarty’s chief of staff. He served as U.S. Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy’s district director and was responsible for Kennedy’s successful re-election campaign in 2000. In the private sector, Rick worked as a community relations officer for the Royal Bank of Scotland’s U.S. subsidiary, Citizens Financial Group. He is a member of the Rhode Island Judicial Nominating Committee, the Rhode Island Democratic State Committee, and the Sons of Irish Kings. He has also been active in raising money for various nonprofit and educational entities throughout Rhode Island. He holds a bachelor of science degree in speech communication from VPA.


Meg Mortimer ’79

Meg Mortimer is a partner at Principal Entertainment, a bicoastal talent and literary management firm. She has represented talent for more than 25 years. Her client list includes David Harbour, Daniel Sunjata, Michiel Huisman, Jordana Spiro, Hilarie Burton, Giancarlo Esposito, Kevin Chamberlin, Krysta Rodriguez, Paul James, and Maximillian Osinski. Meg produced the film Off the Black starring Nick Nolte and Timothy Hutton, which premiered at the Sundance Festival. Prior to becoming a manager, Meg owned the talent agency Ambrosio/Mortimer for 15 years; her clients included Edie Falco, Samuel L. Jackson, Angela Bassett, Steve Buscemi, Taye Diggs ’93, and Vera Farmiga ’95. She graduated from VPA with a bachelor of fine arts degree in drama.


Leslie Shemin-Lester ’84

Leslie Shemin-Lester graduated from VPA with a bachelor of music degree in music industry. She then worked for more than 10 years for WEA Warner/Elektra/Atlantic Records, where she was responsible for the sales, marketing, and promotion of all three labels. She now volunteers her time to a variety of organizations in her community, working on such projects as establishing an art appreciation class in a local elementary school.


Terry M. Skuse G’75 (HD)

Terry holds a master of arts degree from SU as well as an undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin. For several years she taught interior design as an adjunct instructor at the Rochester Institute of Technology. She retired as a designer and buyer for Mangurians, Inc., a family-owned corporation. She has been an active volunteer for the First Presbyterian Church of Pittsford, New York. Her sons, Brian ’04 and Jeffrey ’05, both graduated from VPA.


Aaron Sorkin ’83 H’12

Aaron Sorkin graduated from VPA’s Department of Drama and is the executive producer and writer of The Newsroom on HBO. He wrote the Academy Award- and Golden Globe-winning screenplay for the award-winning film The Social Network and is the award-winning creator/executive producer of NBC’s The West Wing, which won more than 20 Emmys, a Golden Globe for Best Television Drama Series, two consecutive Peabody Awards for Broadcast and Cable Excellence, and two Humanitas Prizes and Television Critics Awards. Aaron has been named Writer of the Year by the Caucus for TV Producers, Writers and Directors. He received the Outer Critics Circle Award as Outstanding American Playwright for A Few Good Men, and his screen adaptation of the play was nominated for four Academy Awards and five Golden Globes. He has received awards for the films The American President, Malice, and the television series Sports Night. He is a recipient of SU’s George Arents Pioneer Medal, the highest alumni honor awarded by the University.


Kenneth Sparks ’56, G’61 (NEW), G’64 (NEW)

Ken Sparks is president and CEO of Ken Sparks Associates LLC, a management and consulting company that specializes in public affairs and economic development. He is also a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Virginia, and a faculty member at the College of William & Mary Law School. He was named Washingtonian of the Year and has received many other honors, including the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation’s Globe and Anchor Award and membership into the Washington Business Hall of Fame. He received a bachelor of science degree in speech communication from VPA and also holds master of science and doctor of philosophy degrees in communication from SU’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. He is a recipient of the George Arents Award, SU’s highest alumni honor.


Kipp Stevens ’74

Kipp Stevens graduated from VPA with a bachelor of industrial design degree. He began his career in the exterior design studio of American Motors Corp. in Detroit. He moved to New York City to take design positions with industrial design firms Raymond Loewy International and Henry Dreyfuss Associates. During this time, he also served as co-creator of Chief Executive Magazine. In 1978 he moved to Milwaukee to lead Brooks Stevens Design for 30 years. For nine years he served as a board member and then chairman of the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. He now lives in New York City and is a member of the Industrial Designers Society of America.


Peter Yenawine ’69

Peter Yenawine graduated from VPA with a bachelor of industrial design degree. He has served as master designer at Steuben Glass and director of design at Franklin Crystal, Franklin Mint, and D. Swarovski & Co. He founded PYNN Corporation in 1981, where he was president and director of design, concept, and product development, and he also founded Crystal Signatures Inc., where he is president and director of design. His 35 years of design and product development experience has included the formation of strategic partners around the world who produce his exclusive designs. He most recently designed the 2008 George Arents Award for SU.


Gianfranco Zaccai ’70 H’09

Gianfranco Zaccai graduated from VPA with a bachelor of industrial design degree. He is the co-founder, president, and Chief Design Officer of Continuum, an award-winning pioneer in the interdisciplinary field of using design research to identify compelling opportunities for innovation. He and Continuum are dedicated to exploring the power of design in relation to developing nations and have engaged in development projects in Mexico, Colombia, South Africa, India, and Chile. He is chair of the board of directors of the Design Management Institute in Boston and is a visiting lecturer at the SDA Bocconi School of Management in Milan, Italy.