Choreographer, MOMIX Founder Moses Pendleton Headlines 132nd Commencement

Pendleton, late arts advocate Peggy Amsterdam and former Settlement Music School Executive Director Robert Capanna each received honorary doctorates at the University's largest graduation

May 20, 2010

Famed choreographer and MOMIX dance company founder Moses Pendleton (below) received an honorary doctorate of fine arts (HDFA) and delivered the keynote address at the 132nd commencement of the University of the Arts held May 20 at the Academy of Music.

Read Moses Pendleton's Keynote Address.

President Sean T. Buffington presided over the ceremony that included nearly 600 graduates, making the class of 2010 the largest in the University's history.

Read President Buffington's 2010 Commencement remarks.

Browse through Commencement, Graduate Hooding Ceremony, and CAD and CPA Award Ceremony photos on Flickr.

Peggy Amsterdam, the former president of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance who passed away on December 26, 2009, after battling cancer, received an HDFA posthumously. The honor was accepted by Hal Real, chair of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance. Recently retired executive director of the Settlement Music School Robert Capanna '73 (Composition) was also honored with an HDFA.

One of America's most innovative and widely performed choreographers and directors, Pendleton is a founding member of the groundbreaking Pilobolus Dance Theater. He formed MOMIX in the early 1980s and after more than 20 years, MOMIX has become widely known for conjuring up worlds consisting of inventive, surrealistic images using props, light, shadow, humor and the human body. MOMIX closes the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Center’s "Dance Celebration" season with its latest work, "Botanica," May 20 – 23

As president of the Cultural Alliance, Amsterdam established a new vision for the organization, focusing on arts and culture as a unifying force for the region. Under her direction, the Cultural Alliance doubled its membership to 385 arts and cultural nonprofits and greatly expanded its reach to the broader community.

After nearly three decades, Capanna recently retired as the executive director of Philadelphia's Settlement Music School, the largest community school of the arts in the United States. As executive director, Capanna oversaw the expansion of the school from three to six locations that serve more than 9,000 students on-site and 6,000 students off-site.

Read the Valedictory Speech given by Clare Anne O'Malley '10 (Musical Theater).

Read "Ode to the Class of 2010" by Professor Peter Stambler, Dean of the Liberal Arts Division.

Honorees are selected because they are role models for graduating seniors and represent the tradition of educational and artistic excellence that the University's faculty works hard to achieve. One of the nation's leading furniture makers Alphonse Mattia '69 (Dimensional Design), a senior critic in the Rhode Island School of Design's graduate program in Furniture Design and a faculty member at the Center for Turning and Furniture Design at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, received the College of Art and Design Silver Star Alumni Award. Pilobolus Dance Theater rehearsal director and artistic associate Renee Jaworski '94 (Modern Dance) received the College of Performing Arts Silver Star Award.

Given to one graduating senior from each college and the University’s graduate programs who, over the course of his or her time at the University, has demonstrated academic and artistic excellence of the highest order. University President Sean T. Buffington bestowed this honor upon Sebastian Brauer (Industrial Design), J.J. Sereday (Multimedia), Mark Allen (Instrument Performance) and H. John Thompson (Graduate program in Ceramics, Painting and Sculpture).

Justin Rubich (Art and Design), Jose Saca (Media and Communication)
and Mark Allen (Performing Arts) were honored for maintaining the highest grade point averages in each of their colleges.

Writing for Film and Television Professor Diane Walsh earned the Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award. The Mary Louise Beitzel Award for Distinguished Teaching went to Museum Studies Professor Polly McKenna-Cress. Art Education Professor Randy Granger was awarded the Richard C. von Hess Faculty Prize. The President’s Award for Distinguished Faculty went to Mikhail Sergeev, a Liberal Arts adjunct associate professor.

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