Class Notes

We welcome your career and professional development news and accomplishments. To submit a class note, please fill out our Update Your Alumni Information form.

    September 2023

  • Joanie Leeds FREADOM album cover

    Joanie Leeds (BFA ’00)

    Joanie, a Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter, released her latest children’s album “FREADOM: Songs Inspired by Banned Children’s Books” on September 15. “FREADOM” illustrates the melodic power of solidarity, resistance, and diversity. Joanie and her all-star Book Band celebrate many of the banned children’s books with a new collection of eight original songs that joyously amplify messages of love and inclusion.

  • Phillip Gregory Burke photo with text He's the First by Phillip Gregory Burke and OOB Festival

    Phillip Gregory Burke (BFA ’07)

    Phillip’s play, “He’s the First,” was a top 13 finalist out of 850 submissions at this year’s 48th Annual Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Festival.

  • Jeanne Finkelstein Goodman (BFA ’73)

    Jeanne’s work is included in numerous corporate collections in the United States, as well several university and college gallery collections, including Atlantic Shores Corporation, Capital One, Central Fidelity Bank, Charles H. Taylor Arts Center (Hampton, Virginia); Chowan University (North Carolina); Contemporary Art Center of Virginia, and many more. View a full list on her website.

  • Kieran Murphy, Pierce Brosnan, Brendan Murphy

    Kieran J. Murphy (BFA ’06)

    This past year Kieran had the opportunity to direct a TV series with his brother Brendan titled “History’s Greatest Heists” hosted by Pierce Brosnan. Debuting on the History Channel, it is currently on demand and also on KLM flights. For the series they used new volume LED technology to put Brosnan into the actual heist. Kieran also just finished his 10th anniversary of helming “Shark Week” as a director of photography for Discovery Channel. Recently, he finished a film starring Tyrese Gibson (“Fast & Furious” franchise), which will come out at the beginning of 2024.

  • Carole Saccone (MFA ’00)

    Carole Saccone is president of The Reel Film Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)3 dedicated to promoting independent film exhibition and education. She is also creative director of the Reel Deal Film Festival, an international festival in Central Florida’s East Coast. The festival raises funds for the foundation’s outreach, which includes filmmaking clubs for at-risk teens, free comprehensive college counseling for students seeking film-related education paths, and scholarships to declared film majors. Syracuse filmmakers can reach out for a discount code for submission.

  • August 2023

  • Kathryn Ferentchak

    Kathryn Ferentchak (BFA ’17)

    Kathryn was recently named 2023 Filmmaker of the Year/Visual Effects by Pro Moviemaker Magazine for artist JWalks’ music video “White Wine.” Ferentchak served as director and producer of the video, which was the first shoot at Cinepacks’ brand-new LED virtual production studio in Hollywood, combining mixed media, aerial dancing, and in-camera visual effects.

  • A child holds a stuffed hippo, a stuffed elephant, and a stuffed fox

    Sara Moore (BFA ’03)

    Sara recently launched Silver Lining Stuffies, a line of children’s book and companion stuffed animals helping kids understand and manage their emotions through playful, engaging stories. The first three books, “Andie & the Worries,” “Frankie & Gloob,” and “Slow Down, Alfie!” address feelings of worry, sadness and over-activity. They foster imagination and play so that children can see themselves in stories, know they are never alone, and discover their own methods for achieving mental wellness. Sara’s vision is that every child has the tools, skills, and community needed to develop a healthy mindset.

  • July 2023

  • Adair Heitmann

    Adair (Wilson) Heitmann (BFA ’75)

    Adair is a national first-place winner (website) and honorable mention (essay) awards recipient in the 2023 National Federation of Press Women Professional Communications contest. She is a four-time winner in the Connecticut Press Club’s 2022 Professional Communications Contest, including two first place awards, second place (speeches), and third place (speeches) in the state. She is a story artist creating personal narratives and performing them live and online in storytelling venues, theaters, libraries, churches, and schools. She is also active in the international visual storytelling platform PechaKucha. Her essays and poems are published in books and anthologies, and she is a poet-in-residence teaching artist in schools with Silvermine Art Partners in Norwalk and Bridgeport, Connecticut.

  • Book cover for Five Minutes to Curtain

    Linda Lori Burgess (MA ’80)

    Released in December, 2022 by J.Gordon Shillingford Publishing, Linda’s “Five Minutes to Curtain” was launched in March 2023. Replete with invaluable information, humorous anecdotes, and encouraging tips, this little book serves as an excellent resource for teachers of theater arts as well as for anyone who wishes to create and stage original plays.

  • May 2023

  • Cheryl Patton Wu

    Cheryl Patton Wu (BFA ’75)

    Cheryl was recently named a Grand Jury Award finalist for Manifest Gallery’s (Cincinnati) 17th exhibition season (2020-2021) for her fiber piece “Strata.” Cheryl also is pleased to announce that she will be exhibiting her fiber and fabric art at Gallery 50, Bridgeton, New Jersey, for the month of June, and at Perkins Center for the Arts, Collingswood, New Jersey, for the month of October. You can view Cheryl’s fiber art on her website, and you can follow her on Instagram (cherylpattonwu).

  • Jay Aubrey Jones

    Jay Aubrey Jones (BS ’76)

    Jay spent April and May in Hilton Head, South Carolina, playing Larry in “Company” at the Art Center of Coastal Carolina. On July 24 Jay will be featured in “Jerry Orbach’s Broadway” with Jill O’Hara, Lee Roy Reams, William Michals, and Chris and Tony Orbach (Jerry Orbach’s sons) at 54 Below in New York City. Later this year Jay can be seen as an imperious usher at a celebrity funeral on “Only Murders in the Building” on Hulu with Steve Martin, Martini Short, and Selena Gomez.

  • Dusty Rhodes

    Dusty Rhodes (BS ’61 )

    Dusty retired in March after serving 32 years as Hamilton County (Ohio) auditor. The county commissioners declared March 9 “Dusty Rhodes Day” in Hamilton County.

  • Michael Ambrosino (BS ’52, MS ’55)

    Michael is a retired series creator and executive producer at WGBH-TV and Public Broadcasting Associates whose credits include “Nova” (1974, PBS, creator and executive producer);”Odyssey” (1982, PBS, creator and executive producer): “The Ring of Truth” (1987, PBS, executive producer); and “Journey to the Occupied Lands” on “Frontline” (1993, PBS, producer-correspondent).

  • A person points at a stone wall that says Benjamin D. Watkins Company in carved type

    Sue Howard Youngblood (MFA ’86)

    After careers designing and teaching, Sue recently was awarded the AIGA Fellow from the Atlanta chapter. The award recognizes designers who have made a significant contribution to raising the standards of excellence in practice and conduct within their local design community as well as in their local AIGA (the professional association for design). Learning about AIGA while at Syracuse University, Sue has been an active member ever since. She currently guides Type Walks in historic areas of Atlanta to raise education scholarship funds. The walks weave the stories behind letterforms, plaques, graffiti, and signs with Atlanta’s history.

  • April 2023

  • Five Minutes to Curtain book

    Linda Lori Burgess (MA ’80)

    Linda has published the book “Five Minutes to Curtain – A Teacher’s Guide for Creating and Staging Original Plays” (J. Gordon Shillingford Publishing, 2022)

  • Gabriel Eng-Goetz

    Gabriel Eng-Goetz (BFA ’08)

    Gabriel was featured in the Walter Magazine article “The Runaway: Muralist and Graphic Designer Gabe Eng-Goetz.”

  • Bettina Jones (BFA ’75)

    Bettina was recently accepted into the west edition #162 of New American Paintings. The competition is juried by a museum curator; the west division is composed of 14 states, and 40 painters are selected for the issue.

  • Maria Nicholas

    Maria Nicholas (MA ’00)

    Maria has published a bilingual (Greek and English) visual monograph of her father, Apostolos Nikolaidis (1938–1999), a Greek music singer who lived and worked in the United States and Canada for over 25 years (Marilou Press, 2022). A comprehensive history of her father’s artistic contribution to Greek music, the book combines first-hand accounts with original research, rare artifacts, and historical detail to highlight unknown facets of Greek nightlife and music entertainment in North America during the back half of the 20th century. Popular Greek culture website called the book “a unique, even insurmountable measure of comparison in terms of how a popular Greek music artist can be presented in printed literature.”

  • Cyrille Phipps

    Cyrille Phipps (BFA ’87)

    Cyrille made a short film, “Mama Duke,” that was completed in 2022 and has screened at several film festivals, including the Pan African Film Festival and the Coney Island Film Festival. More recently, Cyrille’s work as a young media activist and a member of the film collective, Black Planet Productions, is included in the exhibition “Signals: How Video Transformed the World” at MoMa through July 8.

  • February 2023

  • Nancy Ring

    Nancy Ring (BFA ’78)

    Nan’s poem “These Almost Lost Pieces” is now published on Grey Sparrow Press. She will be an artist-in-residence at Millay Arts, New York, in March 2023. For more information about her work, visit

  • January 2023

  • Grant Dinsmore (BFA ’63, MFA ’67)

    After graduating cum laude with a B.F.A. in illustration, Grant worked at an ad agency on Connecticut Avenue in Washington, D.C., and went through the U.S. Marine Corps basic training (1964, non-com officer 1968). He received a graduate assistant scholarship to Syracuse University and graduated in 1967. He married Barbara Ullmann (B.F.A. advertising design ’67) and worked as an instructor at Penn State University (1967-1974) and a professor at La Roche University (1974-2007). He is now a professor emeritus and is retired and residing in Wexford, Pennsylvania.

  • Dale Lawrence and another person

    Dale Lawrence (BFA ’79)

    Dale is currently living in Soddy Daisy, Tennessee, near Chattanooga. His pre-retirement job is with Home Depot at the ProDesk. He notes that after almost 18 years at The Alliance Theatre in Atlanta as a stage manager and later house manager of three performance spaces, it was time to move to the country and slow down. Find him on Facebook.

  • Phillip Gregory Burke

    Phillip Gregory Burke (BFA ’07)

    Phillip’s play, “He’s The First,” will run in rep at The Fire This Time Festival at the Kraine Theater in New York City from January 16-29, 2023 and will be broadcast on PBS at a later date.

  • December 2022

  • Ken Milch (BM ’91)

    Ken serves as principal at Parcells Middle School in the Grosse Pointe Public School System (Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan). He is in his 30th year in public education, having previously served as a high school principal and assistant principal and as a classroom teacher for 14 years. He and his wife Carla reside in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, with their four children.

  • If There Is No Wind: Poems Margaret R Sáraco

    Margaret Sáraco (BFA ’81)

    In 2022, Margaret published her first poetry book “If There Is No Wind” (Human Error Publishing), received a Pushcart Nomination from Lips Magazine for her poem “Cookies,” and was a semi-finalist in the Laura Boss Narrative Book Contest. Her book is available online including at Barnes & Noble, Amazon,, and in store at I Am Books in Boston and Watchung Booksellers in Montclair, New Jersey. More information.

  • Aenea Kanaan (BS ’21)

    Aenea recently published “Gold,” her first poetry book. It is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the publisher’s website (Wipf and Stock). Visit Aenea’s website to learn more.

  • Jay Aubrey Jones

    Jay Aubrey Jones (BS ’76)

    Jay recently performed in “Bernstein on Broadway: A Celebration” with Chita Rivera at 54 Below in New York. He was also featured in Dylan Thomas’ “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” for Irish Repertory Theatre, also in New York.

  • Michael Ambrosino (BS ’52, MS ’55)

    Michael has retired after spending 40 years in public broadcasting, mostly creating TV series for PBS. Credits include: creator and executive producer, “Nova” and “Odyssey”; executve producer, “The Ring of Truth”; and consulting executive producer, “Eyes On the Prize.”

  • October 2022

  • Emily Wells (BM ’10)

    Emily is now the senior assistant dean of the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. She was previously the director of administration of the vocal arts department at The Juilliard School.

  • Windsor Gallery exterior

    Daniel Fenski (BFA ’81) and Barbara Battles (BFA ’80)

    Windsor Gallery, in Colts Neck, New Jersey, owned by Daniel and Barbara, will celebrate 20 years in business in October 2022. The gallery represents the work of local and nationally acclaimed artists. Daniel, former retail design director at R.H. Macy’s, does fine custom framing for discerning clientele. He is a member of the Society of Gilders; trained in gilding and frame restoration at West Dean College, Chichester, U.K.; and works as curatorial consultant for Monmouth Museum in Lincroft, New Jersey, having served on the board of trustees for 16 years. His wife Barbara recently retired as head of outreach services at South Brunswick Library, where she facilitated several library renovations and the design and acquisition of a new mobile library.