Award-Winning Author and Graphic Novelist Neil Gaiman Headlines University's 134th Commencement

'Philadelphia Inquirer' editorial cartoonist, Dance and Illustration alumnae to be honored

April 19, 2012

Commencement Speaker and Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts
Neil Gaiman
Award-Winning Author of 'Coraline'

Best-selling English author Neil Gaiman, whose dark fantasy tales and graphic novels have won him Newbery and Carnegie Medals as well as Hugo, Nebula and Bram Stoker awards, will be the keynote speaker at the 134th Commencement of the University of the Arts. Credited with being one of the creators of modern comics with his graphic novel series The Sandman, Gaiman is an author whose work crosses genres and reaches audiences of all ages, with a body of work that includes fantasy, fairy tales, science fiction, novels, comics, picture books, short stories, poems and screenplays. His gothic horror/fantasy novel Coraline was adapted into an Academy Award-nominated animated film in 2009.

Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts
Tony Auth
Editorial Cartoonist

Award-winning cartoonist Tony Auth recently retired in 2012 from a 41-year career as staff editorial cartoonist and editorial board member of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Auth has won numerous awards, including five Overseas Press Club Awards, the Society of Professional Journalists' Award for Distinguished Service in Journalism, and the Pulitzer Prize. In 2002, he was named the eighth American recipient of the Thomas Nast Prize, and in 2005 was awarded the Herblock Prize, given for excellence in editorial cartooning. He is the author and/or illustrator of several books for children and will continue to publish his work with Newsworks.org, the website of WHYY, Philadelphia's National Public Radio affiliate.

Silver Star Alumni Award
Hilary Clark BFA '98 (Modern Dance)

When Hilary Clark was honored with a Bessie Award (New York Dance and Performance Award) in 2008, she was described as "a fearless and magnanimous performer, whose gorgeous, astute, 'take no prisoners' interpretations of experimental work – most notably that of Tere O'Connor, Luciana Achugar and Fiona Marcotty – enliven the very evolution of the form itself."

Clark has helped to define the downtown dance scene of NYC, most recently receiving acclaim for her performance with Young Jean Lee's Theater Company in "Untitled Feminist Show," now touring nationally and internationally. Her own work has been performed at Dixon Place, AUNTS, CATCH, the Painted Bride, Art Space (Hartford, Conn.), Mt. Tremper Arts, the Kitchen and the Dance Theater Workshop.

Silver Star Alumni Award
Alina Wheeler
BFA '70 (Illustration)

Alina Wheeler is a branding and design consultant and author of Designing Brand Identity (Wiley), the bestselling global resource for businesses and nonprofits.

From 1980 to 1992, Wheeler was the managing partner of Katz Wheeler Design, an internationally acclaimed design firm, co-founded with designer Joel Katz in 1980. Their firm received numerous national design accolades and designed a number of landmark projects, including the identity for Philadelphia’s Center City District.

Wheeler regularly works with leadership teams in the private and public sector to help them to achieve a competitive advantage for their brands. She describes her consulting service as "strategic imagination" and her passion is how organizations express who they are and what they stand for. Wheeler's signature mantra is, "Who are you? Who needs to know? Why should they care? How will they find out?"

The 134th Commencement will take place at the Academy of Music at 10:30 a.m. on May 17, 2012.

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