As dean, I am frequently asked the question about the value of a liberal arts education. My often-repeated response is that through our emphasis on analysis and interpretation, our students learn the importance of critical thinking, writing, and oral communication. As majors in the liberal arts, they are not tied to a single set of skills that, in this rapidly changing world, may quickly become outdated. Rather, by learning how to learn, they are able to thrive even in the most challenging environment.
On Thursday, October 20th, we are delighted to present a forum that illustrates just how true those words are. While our alumni have succeeded at a wide variety of careers, the draw of Hollywood has attracted many Tulane liberal arts majors. Five of these individuals have graciously agreed to participate in a panel in which they will narrate the path that took them from Tulane to the heights of the entertainment business. As reflected in the brief biographies below, during their time at Tulane, their interests and academic pursuits were diverse; their majors spanned the range of the social sciences, humanities, and performing arts. Yet each left the University with knowledge and talents that have made them leaders in their field.
The Tulane to Hollywood Panel will take place on October 20th from 3-5 in Freeman Auditorium and is co-sponsored by the Newcomb-Tulane College Office of Cocurricular Programs. The presentation will be followed by a reception in which audience members will have the opportunity to meet these outstanding individuals.
Moderated by Dr. Beretta Smith-Shomade, of the Department of Communication, the panelists are:
Jimmy Horowitz ’83, President, Universal Pictures
A key member of Universal for nearly two decades, Horowitz is involved in all of the movie studio’s business initiatives and helps manage day-to-day business operations. Under his leadership, Universal Pictures Stage Productions has enjoyed a growing live stage business, having had its biggest critical and commercial success with Wicked, which has grossed more than $1 billion worldwide, and Billy Elliot, which won 10 Tony Awards. Prior to Universal, Horowitz served as counsel for the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), and earned his JD degree from George Washington University Law School. He graduated cum laude from Tulane University in 1983 with a BA in political science.
David Lonner ‘84, CEO, Oasis Media Group
David Lonner is the founder of Oasis Media Group, a management and production company based in Los Angeles. Under Oasis’ banner, Lonner represents writers, directors, and producers in the film, television, and online content arenas. Prior to founding his own company, Lonner was a talent agent at William Morris Agency from 2003-09. He was previously a partner at Endeavor where he established their Motion Picture division. Lonner also spent several years at Creative Artists Agency and began his career at ICM. Lonner is a committed philanthropist working with numerous organizations. He serves as a former board member of the Early Childhood Center at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles and former chairman of the entertainment division of the United Jewish Fund. Additionally, he is a board member of the Phase 1 Cancer Institute, American Pardes Foundation, and Entertainment Industry Foundation. Lonner graduated from Tulane with a BA in Sociology.
Steven Pearl '85, Co-owner/Producer/Writer, Scarlet Fire Entertainment
Since graduating from Tulane with a political science degree, Steven Pearl, has become a film and television producer and writer, and the co-owner of Scarlet Fire Entertainment, which was founded in 2006 with his production partner Allan Loeb. Through Scarlet Fire, Pearl is working on projects for Working Title Films (Universal), Disney, Warner Bros., Sony Pictures, Lionsgate TV and 20th Century Fox TV Studios. He also co-wrote the screenplay and produced So Undercover, the upcoming film for singer/actress Miley Cyrus which was partially filmed on Tulane’s campus.
Chris Petrikin '88, Executive Vice President, Fox Filmed Entertainment
As Executive Vice President of Corporate Communications for Fox Filmed Entertainment (which includes Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight and Twentieth Century Fox Animation) Petrikin oversees the studio's internal and external corporate communications and strategy. He previously served as Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications for the William Morris Agency. A former journalist, he also was Executive Editor of Inside.com and Inside the Magazine, News Editor and Senior Reporter for Variety, and has written for or contributed to the Los Angeles Times, GQ, Esquire, Premiere Magazine, and National Public Radio, among others. He graduated from Tulane with a degree in English
Harold Sylvester ’72, Actor/Writer/Producer, President of Blue Bayou Productions
Harold Sylvester is a veteran actor, screenwriter, and Emmy Award-winning writer/producer, whose credits include 17 feature films and more than 400 TV shows. His film credits include An Officer and a Gentleman, Uncommon Valor, and Corrina, Corrina. On TV, he has starred and guest-starred in programs such as Hill Street Blues; Murder, She Wrote; NYPD Blue; A Different World; The Army Show; City of Angels, where he also served as a writer/producer; and “Married…With Children, where he played the role of Griff, a shoe salesman working with Al Bundy (Ed O'Neil). Also a successful screenwriter, Sylvester has sold several screenplays: “Passing Glory,” a “TNT Original Movie” about a New Orleans high school basketball game between a black high school and a white high school based on a true story; “Fast Girls,” about a girls’ track team; and “The Muhammad Ali Story.” He graduated from Tulane with a major in Theatre.
We hope that you will join us for this exciting event.
All my best,
Tulane University, School of Liberal Arts, 102 Newcomb Hall, New Orleans, LA 70118, (504) 865-5225, email@example.com