three performing artists, a dancer, an actor, and a musician. the dancer is posed with their leg stretched over a graphic circle. the actor is in a swing. the musician is holding a guitar.

Performance Unleashed

University of the Arts’ 2023 performing arts gala to support student success

Experience the talent, artistry and resilience of students from the School of Dance, the School of Music and the Ira Brind School of Theater Arts.

Join us for cocktails, dinner, performances, an awards presentation and a live scholarship auction. Proceeds from the event will support and enhance the student experience. 

Event Overview

Thursday, April 13, 2023, 6 p.m.

Gershman Hall
401 S. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA 19147

Cocktail Hour and Entertainment 
6–7 p.m.

Dinner, Performances and Awards
7 p.m.

Sponsorship deadline: Monday, March 6, 2023
Individual ticket deadline: Friday, April 7, 2023



Performance Unleashed 2023 Ed Satell portrait in grayscale with a slight red tint.

2023 Excellence in the Arts
Hamilton Award

presented to Ed Satell

University of the Arts is proud to present the 2023 Excellence in the Arts Alumni Award to Ed Satell, Founder and Chairman of the Ed Satell Institute, who embodies the values and mission of the university.

An innovative entrepreneur, principled business and civic leader for more than 60 years, Ed Satell founded and served as CEO of a multi-division media ecommerce provider headquartered in the Philadelphia region. His company was well-known for a strong, supportive culture of accountability and dedication to corporate social responsibility (CSR). Ed believes, models and teaches, “Think we, not just me.”   

He established two charitable foundations with the belief that with success comes responsibility. His family foundation and corporate trust foundation have been among the quietest but most extensive in the region. Uniquely hands-on, Ed is known in the nonprofit world as a “thinking partner” who provides business expertise and understanding of best practices greatly valued by the nonprofit community. 

Most recently, Ed founded and dedicated a $15 million endowment to the groundbreaking Satell Institute, A Think and Do Tank Dedicated to CSR (SI). Like Ed himself, SI is committed to CSR in action. Nonprofit, nonpartisan and founded on free enterprise principles, SI has become the leading CEO member organization for CSR—for the greater good. Members support one or more community nonprofits of their choice via a four-year minimum commitment of $25,000 per year (a $100,000 total or more), paid directly to that nonprofit.  

Though he prefers little publicity, many nonprofits choose to honor him as an inspiration and role model. Such accolades include Philanthropist of the Year and Leader of the Year awards and Hall of Fame inductions from more than 20 nonprofits and universities. Ed has also been conferred with two honorary doctorates and an honorary international fellowship.
Ed is a proud graduate of the University of Connecticut School of Business and a longtime member of the Young Presidents and World Presidents Organization. He has also served on numerous nonprofit boards, both locally and nationally. 

Performance Unleashed 2023 Adam Blackstone portrait in grayscale with a slight red tint.

2023 Alumni Award

presented to Adam Blackstone ’04 (Instrumental Performance)

University of the Arts is proud to present the 2023 Alumni Award to Adam Blackstone, an alum who succeeded greatly in his field, is forward-thinking and continues to advance human creativity.

On TV, radio or at a live concert at your favorite stadium, the Adam Blackstone sound has certainly permeated your eardrums. Adam is not only a multifaceted bass player, musician, Emmy Award–winning music director and Grammy Award–winning writer, he is the musical mastermind behind the live shows of many of today’s biggest artists. 

He has served as musical director for acts such as Justin Timberlake, Rihanna, Janet Jackson, Alicia Keys, Maroon 5 and other artists. Recently, Adam cultivated the explosive Super Bowl 56 Halftime Show featuring Dr. Dre, Enimem, Snoop Dogg and Mary J. Blige. With each new endeavor, these artists become family and fall in love with Adam’s easy demeanor and standard for excellence. His TV legacy continues to expand as music director and onscreen personality, and his expertise has shaped today’s biggest shows, including the Oscars; NBC’s The Voice; the Grammy Awards; numerous BET, VH1 and MTV specials; and for the hit FOX show The Masked Singer and NBC’s That’s My Jam, for which he was music director, a role he also held for the 94th annual Academy Awards. 
Adam was born in Trenton, New Jersey, and it was there that he began to hone his craft under the guise of his father and jazz musician Rod Blackstone, who remains one of his greatest musical influences. It was in a church playing drums at the age of six that his father discovered Adam had rhythm and perfect pitch. Once his family moved to Willingboro, New Jersey—an area that has never been short on talent—he picked up bass in high school, and the rest is history.
After earning a scholarship to University of the Arts, it didn’t take long for Adam to become engulfed in the soul music pulse that flowed through the city at that time. He began as a session musician, and shortly after his start, Adam was touring the world.

In 2009, he partnered with his wife to start the company BASSic Black Entertainment LLC (BBE). BBE is a broad-based music service company that specializes in live music production, connecting musicians and studio production. Under the same moniker, they launched the BBE record label in 2013.

Adam Blackstone’s versatility and musical ability keeps him on stages and screens around the world, but his faith and family keep him on the ground as he continues to create his own musical legacy.


Performance Unleashed Committee

Marc Brownstein, chair
President and CEO, Brownstein Group

Steven Abramson
President and CEO, Universal Display Corp.

David Binswanger
President and CEO, Binswanger

Norman* and Suzanne Cohn
Chairman, Advertising Specialty Institute®*

Anthony Conti
Retired, Managing Partner, PwC

David DeStefano
CEO, Vertex Corp.

James F. Dever Jr. 
Market President, Bank of America

Joseph A. Dougherty
Chairman and CEO, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney

Brian Effron
CEO, Healthcare Administrative Partners

Greg Hagin
Principal and Managing Director, CCS

Mike Innocenzo
President and CEO, PECO

Bruce Kardon
President and Chief Investment Officer, Conservest Capital Advisors, Inc.

Dr. Keith Leaphart* & Ebonne Ruffins**
Founder, Philanthropi*
Vice President, Comcast**

Rev. Dr. Lorina Marshall-Blake
President, Independence Blue Cross Foundation

Mary Meder
President, Harmelin Media

William R. Sasso
Chairman Emeritus, Stradley Ronon Stevens and Young

Bernie Shields
Regional President, M&T Bank


Corporate Sponsors


Presenting (above $10,000)

a black background with logos for M&T bank, Philadelphia Magazine, Satell Institute and SEI

Partner ($10,000)

Brownstein Group
Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney
Conservest Capital Advisors Inc.
CCS Fundraising
FS Investments
Ginsburg Family Foundation
Healthcare Administrative Partners
Riggs Distler
Universal Display Corp.

Investor ($5,000)

Allied Universal
Archer & Greiner PC
Harmelin Media
Metro Commercial Real Estate
Stradley Ronon

Sponsor ($2,500)

Baker Tilly
Bank of America
Bittenbender Construction LP
Bruce E. Brooks & Associates
JP Morgan
Morgan Lewis
Royer Cooper Cohen Braunfeld LLC
TD Bank

Individual Sponsors


Above $10,000

Harriett & Larry Weiss 


Anthony & Linda Conti
Peter Haas
Nathaniel P. Hamilton Jr. ’07
Ebonne Leaphart 


Joseph Aristone
Eleanor L. Davis
Deanna S. DeCherney ’66
Seth Lehr
Laurie Wagman


Judson A. Aaron ’81
Ralph Citino
William R. Gast ’68
Patricia Fowler
Travis Gaylord
Bruce Kardon
Meredith & Jeff Lutsky
Lawrence Reichlin 
Raj Tewari

A circle graphic is slightly left aligned with diagonal, parallel, hair-thin lines (resembling those of a stringed instrument) running both behind and in front of the circle. the word "performance" sits on one of the more central lines, partially extended beyond the circle. the word "unleashed" s tilted to the right and each letter is spaced slightly. the text is black, lowercase, sans-serif type. graphic has a harmonious composition.