Carnegie Mellon Press Release: October 17, 2003
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Eric Sloss

For immediate release:
October 17, 2003

Carnegie Mellon to Host a Star-Studded Homecoming on Oct. 24

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University College of Fine Arts alumnus Ted Danson (A'72), Rob Marshall (A'82), Ricky Ian Gordon (A'80) and Ann Roth (A'53) will be honored at the Carnegie Mellon Alumni Awards Ceremony at 7 p.m. Friday, October 24, 2003, in Rangos Hall in the University Center on the Carnegie Mellon campus.

Few universities in the United States could host such a star-studded homecoming celebration.

"In the entertainment industry, there is absolutely a comradeship and connection of Carnegie (Mellon) alumni, even if they are not in the same class. I think we've all come away with a feeling of a wonderful theatre education," said television producer Gary Smith (A'56), one of last year's Alumni Award winners. The following is a list of awards to be presented Friday night:

  • Distinguished Achievement, Ted Danson (A'72). All of America knows his name. From the hit sitcom "Cheers," which ran on NBC from 1982 to 1993 and is currently in syndication, to roles in a number of network miniseries and major motion pictures, Danson has enjoyed more than three decades of success as an award-winning actor and producer. He currently portrays the title role of John Becker in the CBS sitcom "Becker," for which he has received a Golden Globe nomination.

  • Alumni Merit Award, Ricky Ian Gordon, (A'80). Ricky Ian Gordon sets poetry by such greats as Langston Hughes, Edna St. Vincent Millay and W.S. Merwin to music—his music. Praised for his passion for words, energy and ability to write a memorable tune, the composer-lyricist turns to celebrated poets for inspiration. Although Gordon has received a good deal of recognition in recent decades for his musical talent, he was born into show business. His mother, Eve Saunders, was a singer and Borscht Belt comedienne, and his family memoir, "Home Fires: An Intimate Portrait of One Middle-Class Family in Postwar America," was written by Donald Katz and published by Harper Collins in 1992.

  • Alumni Merit Award, Rob Marshall (A'82). Directing and choreographing the cinematic hit, "Chicago," the winner of both the 2003 Academy and Golden Globe Awards for Best Picture is no small feat. But when you're passionate and talented enough to begin professional musical theater at the age of 12, as Marshall did, success comes as no surprise. Marshall was born in Madison, Wisconsin, and raised in Pittsburgh. While attending Carnegie Mellon's musical theater program, Marshall took time off to join a touring company of the 1970's Broadway smash, "A Chorus Line." After earning his fine arts degree, he moved to New York City, where he sang and danced in several Broadway shows—working his way up to assistant choreographer.

  • Distinguished Achievement Award, Ann Roth (A'53). An Academy Award-winning costume designer for films and theater for nearly four decades, Roth has been praised for her fastidiousness and her perfectionism. Explaining her role in the creation of a film or a play, Roth says, "I'm creating a character that's been written on a page. My job is to help an actor or actress make that person live." Roth is adamant that her costume designs be distinguished by their simple realism; they often lack the glitzy glamour of the attire crafted by some of her peers, but have helped actors create some of their most memorable roles.

The awards ceremony will begin with opening remarks by Carnegie Mellon President Jared L. Cohon.

The schools within Carnegie Mellon's College of Fine Arts are world-renowned conservatories placed within a university setting. This relationship provides students and faculty to a unique fine arts educational training that has produced such entertainment leaders as Stephen Bochco, Holly Hunter, Cherry Jones, Ming-Na, Tamara Tunie, Gary Smith, Blair Underwood, Paula Wagner, John Wells and Patrick Wilson.

The College of Fine Arts is a community of nationally and internationally recognized artists and professionals organized into five schools: Architecture, Art, Design, Drama and Music, and their associated centers and programs. To arrange interviews with alumni award recipients or for information about the winners and their activities on campus, please contact Eric Sloss at 412-268-5765 or by email at

For a complete listing of Carnegie Mellon alumni award recipients, visit


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