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Celebrity Philanthropy News 2  3
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Black Tie International:
NYU Tisch School of the Arts 50th Anniversary Gala
 Dean Allyson Green (in yellow) walks the red carpet with alums Spike Lee, Martin Scorsese and Alec Baldwin at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts 50th Anniversary Gala. Photo by: ©NYU Photo Bureau: Asselin
 Dean Allyson Green (in yellow) walks the red carpet with alums Spike Lee, Martin Scorsese and Alec Baldwin at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts 50th Anniversary Gala
Photo by: ©NYU Photo Bureau: Asselin

NYU Tisch School of the Arts 50th Anniversary Gala, 
Celebrating the Past/Creating the Future

Hosted by Alec Baldwin and Spike Lee
Honoring the Tisch Family, Wendy Calhoun, Paul Tazewell and Lili Cheng

Over $2 Million Raised to Support Education of Talented Artists
 from Around the World

New York, NY – April 6, 2016: Nearly 1,000 alumni, donors and supporters gathered at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall on Monday night for the NYU Tisch School of the Arts 50th Anniversary Gala, Celebrating the Past/Creating the Future, honoring the Tisch family and notable alumni Paul Tazewell, Wendy Calhoun and Lili Cheng. Hosted by Alec Baldwin and Spike Lee, and co-chaired by alumni Jonathan Cohen and Michael D. Ratner, the event featured performances by current students and alumni of NYU Tisch, including a special performance byHamilton’s Javier Muñoz. Also in attendance were Martin Scorsese, Billy Crystal, Vanna White, Julie Menin, Iris Cantor and NYU President Andrew Hamilton. Over $2 million was raised to fund scholarships to support the education of talented young artists from around the world.Photos from the red carpet, performance and dinner are available for download here. (Photo credit:  ©NYU Photo Bureau: Asselin)

“It is an absolute joy and privilege to lead the Tisch School of the Arts every day, and to feel the energy pulsating through our buildings,” said Allyson Green, Dean, NYU Tisch School of the Arts. “We are nurturing artists and scholars who are leaders and change agents, who excel in a range of fields, engaged with the stories and critical issues of our world. No matter the discipline, we have a singular mission—to support, challenge and celebrate our students first.”

The gala marked the culmination of a year-long celebration of the school’s 50th anniversary, celebrating the impact of the NYU Tisch community on the cultural landscape over the last 50 years and envisioning how the school can continue its legacy of excellence in arts training over the next 50 years. Virtual reality artist Aiden Terry (’16) opened the show with a brief history of the school, illustrated with Oculus Rift technology. After co-hosts Alec Baldwin and Spike Lee welcomed the crowd, Dean Allyson Green took the stage, sharing a bright, exciting vision for the school’s future. NYU President Andrew Hamilton also congratulated the school on 50 years of success.

The gala performances, produced by Broadway producer Amanda Lipitz, included an excerpt from “Dream’d in a Dream” by the Seán Curran Company and a performance by Tisch alumnus and Hamilton star Javier Muñoz, who sang a rendition of “Midnight Radio” from Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Over 900 guests enjoyed the show, which also included performances by over 100 talented students from numerous Tisch programs, showcasing the depth and breadth of the school’s offerings, which include acting, dance, cinema studies, design for stage and film, dramatic writing, film and television, game design, interactive telecommunications, moving image archiving and preservation, musical theatre writing, performance studies, photography, art and public policy and recorded music.

Paul Tazewell (’89), five-time Tony Award nominee and costume designer for Hamilton and The Wiz Live!, Wendy Calhoun (’91), writer and producer of Empire, Nashville and Justified and Lili Cheng (’93), distinguished Microsoft engineer, were honored with Big Apple Alumni Awards at the gala. The alumni honorees looked back at how their Tisch educations propelled them toward success. They were presented with their awards by current Tisch students, embodying a future of possibility for a school that has launched many illustrious careers.

“Throughout my career, I've had the opportunity to work with a huge array of entertainment greats,” said Paul Tazewell. “Each opportunity and experience with these institutions and amazing talents has built one on top of the other to create who I am today as a designer, artist and person. I'm very grateful to have had my creative seed germinate at Tisch School of the Arts and hope that I can continue to inspire young minds—and old minds—to create brilliant designs for the entertainment industry today and for years to come.”

Wendy Calhoun looked the part of award-winner in a glamorous floor-length red gown, walking the carpet with her mother Marilyn. “Thank you, Tisch School of the Arts,” she said, while accepting her award. “I am a student of your excellence. I am honored to be here, and accept this moment as a supreme call to action. My best work is ahead of me. I promise to blaze new paths for future artists to follow and use as a launching pad for their dreams. I’m standing here as proof that all things are possible.” Wendy was called back onstage for a hug from the evening’s co-host Spike Lee, whose film She’s Gotta Have It inspired her to apply to his alma mater, NYU Tisch, all those years ago.

Lili Cheng, who walked the red carpet with her son, Eli Boss, spoke lightheartedly about Microsoft's latest artificial intelligence experiment, Tay, and shared her deep wish for the future of Tisch. “It’s my dream that tonight isn’t just a celebration of everything that we’ve achieved, but also that we can work together and collaborate more. It’s really a privilege to be able to create this world, and I hope that we can do that together,” said Cheng.

Playwright Tony Kushner presented the Big Apple Award for Leadership in the Arts to longtime Dean’s Council members Andrew Tisch, Jonathan Tisch and Steve Tisch, who accepted the award on behalf of the Tisch family and were met with a standing ovation from the crowd. The family's heartfelt acceptance speeches showed their deep commitment to New York University, their passion for the arts and their belief that giving back is essential to creating a brighter and more vibrant future.  

“As a filmmaker, I believe in the power of storytelling, and that stories told through the arts – be it performing, cinematic or emerging media – can break down barriers, increase understanding, and stimulate meaningful conversations,” said Steve Tisch, filmmaker, producer andChairman, the New York Giants. “Thank you Tisch School of the Arts for educating and training remarkable talent that allows guys like me to keep doing what I love.”

“While we are all proud to be here tonight to celebrate this wonderful school, one of the leading schools of the performing, cinematic and emerging media arts in the country, if not the world,  tonight is, for me and my family, a celebration and tribute to its most devoted champions—Larry and Billie, and Bob and Joan. We, and all members of the NYU family, thank them for their vision,” said Andrew Tisch, co-chair, Loews Corporation, while remembering his parents and relatives’ early contributions to the school.

“Art can be subjective—you may like a show, you may not like a show, you may like a song, you may not like a song, you may like a costume, you may not like a costume,” said Jonathan Tisch, Co-Chairman, Loews Corp and Chairman, Loews Hotels. “What isn’t subjective is heart, soul, determination, courage and character. And all the young people you saw on the stage tonight that are currently students at Tisch School of the Arts possess all those traits and more.”

The program also featured a message from former Dean Mary Schmidt Campbell and a powerful video tribute to the Tisch family, documenting the naming of the school following a generous donation by Preston Robert Tisch and Laurence A. Tisch.

In true Tisch style, the show closed with a performance by alumna Emily Warren performing Jessie J’s “Masterpiece,” a song Warren wrote during her time at the school. She was joined by student performers onstage and in the aisles amongst the audience of alumni and supporters—all together truly embodying the theme of the night, Celebrating the Past/Creating the Future.

Thousands of Tisch alumni have gone on to enjoy fulfilling careers in the arts. Tisch graduates include renowned artists such as Pulitzer Prize winners Tony Kushner, Doug Wright and Chang Lee; Academy Award winners Marcia Gay Harden, Keiko Ibi and Ang Lee; Tony Award winners Nina Arianda, Steve Kazee, George C. Wolfe, Idina Menzel, Stephen Spinella, Jeff Whitty and Frank Wood; Emmy Award winners Alec Baldwin, Billy Crystal, Kristen Johnston, John Leguizamo, Camryn Manheim and Debra Messing; and acclaimed filmmakers Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee and Amy Heckerling.

About the NYU Tisch School of the Arts

For almost 50 years, the NYU Tisch School of the Arts has drawn on the vast artistic and cultural resources of New York City and New York University to create an extraordinary training ground for the individual artist and scholar of the arts. Today, students learn their craft in a spirited, risk-taking environment that combines the professional training of a conservatory with the liberal arts education of a premier global university with campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, Shanghai and 11 academic centers around the world. Learn more at


Gerard Mc Keon and Joyce Brooks.  Photo by:  Rose Billings/

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