Pulitzer, Tony and Emmy Award-Winning Composer Tom Kitt Headlines UArts' 138th Commencement Ceremony

April 29, 2016

Musical director, conductor, arranger and musician to give keynote address, receive honorary doctorate; Silver Star Alumni Awards presented to gallery owner Fredric Snitzer BFA ’73 (Sculpture) and PHILADANCO’s Kim Yvonne Bears-Bailey BFA ’84 (Ballet); former Board chair to also receive HDFA




Award-winning composer, musical director, conductor, arranger and musician Tom Kitt (left) will deliver the keynote address at UArts’ 138th Commencement ceremony, taking place on Tuesday, May 10 at the University’s Merriam Theater on the Avenue of the Arts. He will also receive an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts (HDFA) degree. Longtime UArts Board of Trustees member and former board chairman Ronald J. Naples (2nd left) will also receive an HDFA.

Sharing the spotlight will be Silver Star Alumni Award recipients Fredric Snitzer BFA ’73 (Sculpture) [3rd left], a Miami-based art gallery owner and Art Basel selection committee member, and UArts Associate Professor Kim Yvonne Bears-Bailey BFA ’84 (Ballet) [right], assistant artistic director of innovative dance company PHILADANCO.

Tom Kitt
Tom Kitt received the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, as well as two Tony Awards for Best Original Score and Best Orchestrations, for the rock musical “Next to Normal.” The Off-Broadway production received the Outer Critics’ Circle Award and a Drama Desk nomination, both for Outstanding Score. Kitt is also the composer of the Tony-nominated "If/Then," Broadway’s "High Fidelity" and "Orphans," and with Lin-Manuel Miranda is the co-composer of Broadway’s "Bring it On: The Musical." Other compositions include "The Winter's Tale," "Cymbeline," "From Up Here," "All’s Well That Ends Well," "The Madrid" and "The Retributionists." Kitt is also responsible for music supervision, arrangements and orchestrations for Green Day's "American Idiot: The Musical" on Broadway, and provided additional arrangements for the group’s Grammy Award-winning album 21st Century Breakdown and their album trilogy, ¡Uno! ¡Dos! ¡Tré! He received an Emmy Award as co-writer of the 2013 Tony Awards' opening number, "Bigger."

Ronald J. Naples
Ronald J. Naples has been a member of the University of the Arts Board of Trustees since 1978, serving as its chair for 14 years. He helped to guide the merger of the Philadelphia College of the Performing Arts and the Philadelphia College of Art that created the University of the Arts. During his tenure as chair, the University expanded its campus, improved its educational facilities, added new programs and reinvented existing ones. Naples is also the retired chairman and chief executive officer of Quaker Chemical Corporation. He has served as executive director of a Presidential Task Force on energy problems, is a former White House Fellow and held multiple positions in the Gerald Ford administration. In addition to his role at UArts, he has served as chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Award, the Liberty Medal Award, Greater Philadelphia First and the Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation. He has also served on the boards of directors of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Franklin Institute, the American Red Cross Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter, the Foreign Policy Research Institute and other organizations

Fredric Snitzer BFA ’73 (Sculpture)
Fredric Snitzer is the founder of Fredric Snitzer Gallery in Miami, one of the country’s leading galleries for contemporary art. Snitzer’s gallery has launched international careers in art for four decades, and he was one of the early champions of contemporary Latin American art in the United States. Artists represented by his gallery have exhibited their work at institutions such as the Palais de Tokyo, Kunsthaus Basell, Serpentine Gallery, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art and others. Snitzer serves on the selection committee of Art Basel Miami Beach, one of the world’s most prestigious art shows. Representing mid-career and emerging contemporary artists on both a local and global scale, the Fredric Snitzer Gallery nurtures young artistic talent as well as presenting international artists. Snitzer earned a BFA in Sculpture from the Philadelphia College of Art (now the University of the Arts) and an MFA in Sculpture from Penn State University.

Kim Yvonne Bears-Bailey BFA ’84 (Ballet)
Kim Y. Bears-Bailey is an award-winning dancer, artistic director and University of the Arts faculty member. She is assistant artistic director for the renowned PHILADANCO company and was the first non-New Yorker to win a prestigious “Bessie” Award for dance. Bears-Bailey represented PHILADANCO at the 1988 American Dance Festival as a soloist, where she performed two works by modern dance pioneer Pearl Primus. She also appeared in the movie “Beloved,” and is an artist-in-residence at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Bears-Bailey is one of only a few artists granted permission to remount the works of many world-renowned choreographers including Talley Beatty, Pearl Primus, Gene Hill Sagan and Louis Johnson. She received UArts’ 2011 Mary Louise Beitzel Award for Distinguished Teaching and is a member of the International Association of Blacks in Dance’s Next Generation of Leaders.