Playwright Douglas Carter Beane Delivers Keynote Address at 135th Commencement

Tony-nominated writer gives class of 2013 his list of 'seven things I wish someone had told me'

Keynote speaker Douglas Carter Beane.

Updated May 21, 2013

Watch a webcast of the 135th Commencement Ceremony >>

Tony Award-nominated playwright and screenwriter Douglas Carter Beane delivered the keynote address at the University of the Arts' 135th Commencement Ceremony held May 16, 2013, at Philadelphia's Academy of Music.

Watch Beane's speech >>

His "wisdom-packed as humanly possible" speech followed a New Orleans-style jazz band from the School of Music that first led the class of 2013 up Broad Street from Hamilton Hall to the Academy, where UArts President Sean T. Buffington presided over the ceremonies.

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Beane, who has two shows currently on Broadway – Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella," which just earned him a Best Book of a Musical Tony nod, and "The Nance" starring Nathan Lane – gave the graduating students a list of the "seven things I wish someone had told me and I pass them on to you with love." His list included such "things that I've picked up" as "you are an artist," "keep your sanity" and "you have all the power."

Standing ovation for Douglas Carter Beane, whose commencement address had the audience rolling in their seats.

The "Sister Act" and "Xanadu" writer also received an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts (HDFA) degree. Also receiving an HDFA was Professor Emeritus Kenneth Hiebert, an innovative designer and educator who founded the UArts Graphic Design department and was its chair for 14 years.

Other honorees included Silver Star Alumni Award recipients Kate Flannery BFA '87 (Acting), who has starred for the past decade as Meredith on NBC's hit comedy "The Office," and Jayson Scott Musson BFA '02 (Photography), best known as his YouTube alter-ego "Hennessy Youngman" and for his "paintings" crafted from disassembled Coogi sweaters, made famous by "The Cosby Show" and rapper Notorious B.I.G.

Silver Star Alumni Award recipient Jayson Musson tweeted this photo of him and fellow award winner Kate Flannery.

College of Art, Media & Design (CAMD) graduating senior Claire Kalala '13 (Multidisciplinary Fine Arts) delivered the valedictory address to her fellow classmates and Alumni Council Chair Meg Clifton BM '01 (Vocal Performance), MM '02 (Jazz Studies) greeted the soon-to-be alumni.

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Three students received the President's Award, which recognizes students who have demonstrated academic and artistic excellence of the highest order. Winners included Mason Owens '13 (Multidisciplinary Fine Arts) from CAMD, Marc Crousillat '13 (Dance) from the College of Performing Arts (CPA) and Kristine Strawser MFA '13 (Studio Art) from the University's graduate programs.

Academic Achievement Awards were given to the highest academically ranked student within each college. Camille Sassano '13 (Multidisciplinary Fine Arts) represented CAMD, while Jonathan Lacy '13 (Instrumental Performance) was the CPA honoree.

The Class of 2013 heads up Broad Street to the Academy of Music.

Provost Kirk E. Pillow announced the winners of this year's Distinguished Teaching Awards, which included MFA in Studio Art Associate Professor Carol Moore, who received the Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award; Illustration Assistant Professor Matthew Curtius, who was named the Richard C. von Hess Faculty Prize winner; and School of Music Adjunct Assistant Professor and alumnus Chris Farr '94 (Saxophone), MAT '95 (Music Education), who was the recipient of the President’s Award for Distinguished Faculty.

Ronald Naples, chairman of the board of trustees, presented the University's inaugural Distinguished Service Award to UArts Trustee Emeritus Irvin J. Borowsky for his "significant role in the leadership and development of this institution."

Vocal Performance students perform "With a Little Help from My Friends."

Highlights of the 135th Commencement Ceremony included a stellar performance by the Studio Ensemble and UArts Vocalists, who brought the crowd to its feet with a rendition of "With a Little Help from My Friends," and the irresistible samba troupe Alo Brasil, who closed the ceremony by leading the new graduates and their families back down Broad Street to Hamilton Hall for a post-ceremony celebration.

Watch the performance of "With a Little Help from My Friends" >>

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