School of The Arts Honors
Artists With Eyes Wide Open
three decades on the comedy trail, Susie Essman returned
from Hollywood to emcee a fundraising event for her alma mater,
Purchase College State University of New York. Her performance
as emcee of the second School of the Arts gala at the Millennium
Broadway Hotel in Manhattan helped raise $1.3 million.
"I graduated in 1977," Susie said. "It
doesn’t feel like yesterday—it was a long time ago."
Her major was urban studies. Urban
"I did nothing with that," she
confessed, "except decide whether to take an apartment on the
Upper West Side or Chelsea. That’s as far as my urban studies
The sassy Susie has been a regular for
all seven seasons of HBO’s highly acclaimed series Curb Your
Enthusiasm. Last year Simon & Schuster brought out her book,
What Would Susie Say—Bullsh*t Wisdom about Love, Life and
College President Thomas J. Schwarz
presented Nelson A. Rockefeller Awards to artist Kiki Smith
who’s best known for her sculptures, famed choreographer Paul
Taylor, playwright Lynn Nottage who won the
Pulitzer Prize 2009 for Ruined, clarinetist/saxophonist
Paquito D’Rivera who’s earned nine Grammy Awards, and
Jane and Donald Cecil whose Jandon Foundation has
sustained theater, dance, music and the visual arts at the
Nottage summed it up for everyone:
"The role of an artist is to keep their eyes open when everyone
else’s are closed."
The School of the Arts boasts a
distinguished list of alumni, including actor Parker Posey ’91,
actor Stanley Tucci ’82, and Sybil Yurman ’76 who’s a partner
with husband David in David Yurman Jewelry.