Recognizing Distinction

Marta Kauffman P’10, co–creator and executive producer of one of the most successful comedy shows on television, the Emmy Award–winning NBC series Friends, received the James L. McConaughy Jr. [’36 ] Award during Reunion & Commencement Weekend. The show ran for 238 episodes over 10 seasons; the award recognizes “creative work that conveys unusual insight and understanding of current and past events.”


Kauffman lives in Los Angeles, with husband Michael Skloff, the composer. She has three children: Hannah ’10, Sam, and Rose. Working Mother magazine named her one of the “25 Most Influential Mothers.”


Most recently, she served as executive producer of the documentary Blessed is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh, about a World War II–era poet and diarist who became a resistance fighter.


Additionally, the following individuals received Distinguished Alumnus/a awards:


GILBERT PARKER ’48, Wesleyan’s first theater major, who recently retired as a senior vice president of the William Morris Agency after representing writers and directors in the theater for almost 50 years. Some of the plays and musicals he helped bring to production are: Once Upon a Mattress, Candide, Children of a Lesser God, Kiss of the Spider Woman, and The Full Monty.


ALAN SHESTACK ’60, Hon ’78, retired deputy director and chief curator of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. He began his professional career at the National Gallery of Art as curator of graphic art. In 1971, he became director of the Yale University Art Gallery, a position he held until 1985.


AMY BLOOM ’75, the author of two novels (Love Invents Us, Away) and three collections of short stories, including the best–selling Where the God of Love Hangs Out, which was just published in January. She also was the creator, writer, and co–executive producer of the 2007 dramatic series, State of Mind, and is the Kim–Frank Family University Writer in Residence at Wesleyan.


ROBERT S. FELDMAN ’70, professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and dean of its College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Winner of the College Distinguished Teacher Award, he is known for his innovation in teaching. He studies self–presentation in adults and children, focusing on how, when, and why people are verbally deceptive.


JUNE M. JEFFRIES ’75 retired in 2008 as an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, where she’d served since 1983. She dedicated her career to ensuring that the perpetrators of the worst crimes, including homicide and child–homicide cases, were prosecuted.


TOBY D. EMMERICH ’85, president and COO of New Line Cinema. Named to this new post in March 2008 (and president of production since 2001), he has overseen the most successful period in the company’s history, with the releases of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Wedding Crashers, The Notebook, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and more.


Outstanding Service Awards went to:



Richard “Dick” Huddleston served Wesleyan as a volunteer and an employee. His service includes a lengthy term as secretary for his class, co–class agent, and Reunion co–chair. His work here served to lay the foundation for the current development programs. His professional career was solely in the nonprofit world, with 22 years at Wesleyan and service to such organizations as Winrock International, a Rockefeller international agricultural research and development foundation, as well as World Learning.


CHARLES W. SMITH ’60, P ’92, P ’94

Charles W. Smith is professor emeritus of sociology at Queens College and the Graduate Schools of the City University of New York. For 45 years he has studied how social practices and ideations mutually structure each other, particularly in auction markets of varying sorts, including financial markets. He served as co–class agent for much of the past four decades, as well as Reunion co–chair for several events.


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