Purchase College Design/Tech Faculty, Students, and Alumni Behind the Scenes at Clinton Global Initiative


The Clinton Global Initiative’s (CGI) annual meeting is being held this week in New York City, and behind the scenes, a team of top designers, stage managers, and technicians, many of whom hail from the Purchase College Design/Technology Program in the Conservatory of Theatre Arts, will ensure the stage management, lighting, and scenery befit an occasion of this prestige.

“This is one of the most important meetings in the world geared toward philanthropic endeavors. It is vitally important to make sure the event’s environment conveys the message of the organization’s mission and allows participants—some of the most notable anywhere—to be as effective as possible,” says Dan Hanessian, associate professor of Theatre Design/Technology and a scenic design technical liaison for the CGI event.

Among the top experts from Purchase College helping manage the event are Dave Grill ’86, who is the Lighting Designer and Creative Director; Patrick Fahey ’91, who is the Scenic Designer; and Jeffrey Markowitz ’84, who is the Production Stage Manager.

“It’s an honor to lead the Stage Management team of 25 professionals for the ninth year on this unique occasion,” said Markowitz. “We bring together an exceptional group to do our best to shepherd an exceptional event with the highest-profile participants and attendees with courtesy, punctuality, and technical excellence through an arduous climate of security, expectations, and endless changes, all leading to a successful conclusion. Those of us fortunate to have years at SUNY Purchase in the Design/Technology program in our background are well prepared from the outset of our careers to develop the energy, diplomacy, technical skills, and care to play our part.”

Grill added, “It’s great to be able to work on a project like this with so many former and current students from the Design/Technology Program. It reminds me just how lucky we are to have such a successful program and so many talented folks who have gone through it.

In addition to Grill, Fahey, Markowitz and Hanessian, 19 more from Purchase College are involved in the CGI event, including: Associate Scenic Designers Corey Atwood ’05, Jennifer Colombo ’05, Robert John Andrusko ’90, Veronica Kimmel ’08, Danielle Shultz ’13, and Chris Thompson ’10; Stage Manager Meghan VonVett ’07; Assistant Stage Manager Jason Quinn ’01; Production Crew members Niklas Anderson ’02 and Steven Loehle ’85; Stage Management student interns Peter Chang ’14 and Natalie Price ’14; Lighting Director Jay Woods ’01; and Lighting Design student interns Nathan Avakian ’14, Catherine Clark ’14, Kelley Finn ’14, Rebekah Gould ’14, Dana Ioppolo ’14, Laura Panno ’14, Christina Robinson ’14 and Emily Rodriguez ’14.

The Clinton Global Initiative meeting convenes more than 1,000 CGI members and leaders from business, government, the nonprofit sector, and philanthropy to create solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

The event features such notable figures as President Barack Obama; philanthropist and singer Bono; former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair; former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates; Oxfam International Executive Director Winnie Byanyima; Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg; and countless others along with hosts Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton, front and center.

Photo: From the 2012 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting / Copyright: All rights reserved by Clinton Global Initiative.

The Purchase College Theatre Design/Technology BFA Program (Conservatory of Theatre Arts,School of the Arts) is a professional training program that places major emphasis on studio/classroom training under the guidance of established working professionals. Students learn every aspect of theatre design and technology.