Cathy and Marc Lasry established the chair in race relations at the University of Pennsylvania in 2004 to allow a distinguished scholar, academic and educator to teach and do research in the School of Arts and Sciences with a special focus on the subject of race relations. This is not the Lasry family’s only venture into the support of University programs; the couple has also served as joint chairs of the Penn Parent Leadership Committee. Cathy also contributed her time to the School of Arts and Sciences Board of Overseers.
After graduation Bershad became the first associate at a prestigious New York law firm, specializing in securities litigation. He became a partner in 1970, and the firm has since expanded with offices around the country.
James Meredith became active in the American civil rights movement of the 60s and 70s, and was the first African American to attend the University of Mississippi. Perhaps Meredith is most famous for running against Adam Clayton Powell for the Congressional seat representing Harlem as a Republican, in 1967. Powell was re-elected to the seat after Meredith withdrew his candidacy.
Fellow class of ’68 graduate Robert Cover was a law professor, scholar and activist. From 1972 until he died at the age of 42 in 1986 he taught at Yale Law School. The most famous essay he wrote is entitled, “Violence and the Word.” The article inspired many debates about how law language and violence are interrelated.
After graduating from Columbia Naomi Reice Buchwald practiced law for five years. She then went on to become an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York. In 1999 Buchwald was appointed by then President Bill Clinton to sit on the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.
After a successful career in front of the camera, Nancy Glass has made the switch to reality TV program production in an unusual location for this industry: Philadelphia.
It has been more than ten years since Nancy Glass left her last on-air role as a pop-music radio morning host. Prior to that Glass was a co-host on KYW-TV’s Evening Magazine during much of the 1980s. In 2002 she decided to go into production and launched her business, Nancy Glass Productions, choosing Philadelphia, her hometown.
“We do great incredible television in Philadelphia,” Glass says.
Glass is not exaggerating. She produced an episode about Cuba for the Travel Channel series Dangerous Grounds using some of the first scenes shot in that country since the ban on travel to Cuba was ended. Her company produces Tanked, which is now in its fifth year, for Animal Planet. It is distributed to over 100 million households via cable and satellite. For the upcoming year the cable network has ordered 15 more shows from Nancy Glass Productions. Overall Glass’s company has produced 50 cable specials, 24 series, and three documentaries.
It is especially impressive that Nancy Glass Productions has been so successful from its headquarters in Bala Cynwyd, on the western edge of Philadelphia.
“Very few companies outside of New York and Los Angeles have found real success, and Nancy is one who has,” said Brent Montgomery, CEO of Leftfield Entertainment in New York. Leftfield describes itself as one of the biggest TV production companies on the East Coast.
When necessary, Glass will make the trip to New York or Los Angeles, pitching as many as ten new ideas in one day. If she were based in those hubs she could space out her pitches since she would be only a subway ride or taxi ride away.
“We go to everybody,” she said. “We talk to online platforms; we talk with cable; we talk with broadcast networks.”
Glass says Philadelphia has its good points, like lower real estate costs, taxes, and a more stable workforce-staff turnover is minimal.
“You take a risk on things you like,” Glass said. “That’s what you do. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.”
One would not necessarily expect a Los Angeles based entrepreneur like Barrett Wissman to be igniting a Renaissance in the classic art forms, but he most certainly is. Called by some the “Medici of the 21st century,” Wissman began his quest with a simple idea, to “convey a new meaning for performance arts.”
As a business visionary and a patron of the arts, Barrett Wissman is perfectly appointed to lead what can be called a “paradigm shift” in what has essentially become a performing arts monopoly held by a few bottom-line motivated moguls cheapening the world of art.
As Gulf Elite explained, “With 500 artists, 200 specialists, 30 years of experience, 10 offices, 6 divisions, 5 continents, Barrett invested time and effort into turning the company from a one among many to a leading player in the performance art scene. The story doesn’t end here. Barrett Wissman helped turn IMG artists into a comprehensive one stop shop firm for art. Among the services IMG put in place are Ballets, events planning and recently the world’s largest fireworks celebration in Dubai. IMG manages some of the greatest companies spanning across the discipline, from the grand Bolshoi Ballet and National Ballet of Canada to the innovative LA Dance Compnany, Gallim and Ballet Black. IMG also books and manages tours for the world’s most prestigious orchestras and ensembles including the Vienna Philharmonic, The Cleveland orchestra and the London symphony orchestra.”
Wissman sees “innovation as differentiation,” and implemented his dream of promoting higher arts and world class performances as universal. He decided early on that the best way to achieve this was through the creation of an arts festival. Choosing the smaller, off-the-beaten-path location of Tuscany, Wissman parleyed a small performance in an abandoned 18th century opera house into what became the internationally recognized “Tuscan Sun Festival.”
The success of the Tuscan Sun Festival brought Wissman acclaim, and within a short period of time he was in demand to help promote similar festivals in other locales. In Northern California Wissman’s involvement helped launch the Napa Valley Festival del Sole, a frenetic embrace of high-class performance art in a pastoral, magical setting.
Barrett Wissman is also the force behind IMG, a Los Angeles, California-based entertainment and media agency. Under the leadership of Wissman IMG has been organizing events around the world. Through IMG Wissman planned the world’s largest fireworks display in Dubai, manages the Bolshoi Ballet and the innovative Los Angeles Dance Company.
As the “Medici of the 21st century” Wissman has this to say:
“One has to lead when doing something important. No matter what your job is, no matter what your work is, you have to lead.”