The annual Newhouse School and College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) reception kicked off the Spring 2023 semester of the Newhouse LA program late last month. Held at the Skirball Cultural Center in northwest Los Angeles, the reception was filled with Syracuse University students, staff, faculty and alumni who mingled, ate and posed for photos. The students were invited to meet the alumni and build connections that last beyond the LA semester.
Though the Newhouse LA program began in 2009, this reception began 40 years ago when Syracuse University development officer Larry Martin brought a group of Newhouse seniors to Los Angeles for a week to meet alumni. Assistant vice president of regional programs Joan Adler has planned the annual event for the last several years.
“The January reception continues to be an annual event that allows the opportunity for our semester students to experience LA and meet with alumni,” Adler says. “It continues to give the alumni the opportunity to meet students and to catch up with each other.”
As the relationship between the Newhouse School and the College of Visual and Performing Arts blossoms, both Newhouse dean Mark J. Lodato and VPA dean Michael Tick shared their excitement at the opportunity to work with one another.
“The alumni are the role models for the students who are in this program right now, and to see them together is really exciting,” Tick said, speaking at the event. “This signals a turning point for VPA because we now have a presence in this SULA program.”
Dean Lodato, entering his third year at Newhouse, mentioned how he was continuously impressed by “the engagement level of our alumni and their ability and desire to give back to the school, to engage with our current students, and to help lift up the next generation.”
Guest speaker and alumnus Rob Light ’78, Creative Arts Agency partner and music division head, reminisced about his time at the University.
“I would not have the success I have had in my career if I had not gone to Syracuse University,” he said. “The friendships, the education and the hands-on experience all came out of that school.”
As a student, Light was concert chair for the University Union, producing his first concert through the organization. While standing on the Skirball stage, Light reflected on that moment. “It was the first time I could see my future, and I thought…I could do this for a living. I wouldn’t have had that opportunity anywhere but Syracuse.”
Professors, students and alumni all took away something from this remarkable tradition.
“In addition to the Newhouse and VPA reception being a great opportunity for students and alumni to connect with the deans of both Newhouse and VPA, it was a personally wonderful experience for me to be able to see so many of my former SULA Semester students who have gone on to create successful careers here in Los Angeles,” says Robin Howard, director of the Newhouse LA program.
Television, radio and film junior Emily Farrell is just one of many students who appreciates the opportunities that this reception generates. “Being a junior in college and getting to talk to alumni at events like this really helps me grow in my networking abilities and to prepare me for the future,” she says.
Anastasia Frazier is a junior broadcast and digital journalism major at the Newhouse School.