Temple University’s School of Media and Communication hosted the 16th Annual Lew Klein Alumni in the Media Awards in Mitten Hall on Oct. 7. The school honored six alumni for their professional achievements in the media industry and presented actor, producer and writer Tina Fey with the 2016 Excellence in the Media Award.
Alumni honorees included
- Michael Grossman, SMC ’81, director and executive producer for movies and television;
- Solomon Jones, SMC ’97, columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News and host of WURD Radio;
- Chanteé Lans, SMC ’06, reporter for CBS 4 Boston;
- Rich Lerner, SMC ’83, anchor, reporter and producer for The Golf Channel; and
- Rich Levy, SMC ’79, chief creative officer of FCB Health.
- Laurie Seidman, SMC ’98, director of daytime programming for CBS Entertainment
“Just as our students are doing amazing things, so are the illustrious alumni of the School of Media and Communication,” said David Boardman, dean of the School of Media and Communication. “Today we gather to honor six of them who were Temple Made and have made us particularly proud in the years since they left North Broad.”
Another alumnus, Peter Fey, SMC ’84—Tina’s brother—introduced the star before she accepted the 2016 Excellence in the Media Award. In her remarks, Fey said she owes her successful career to her family, especially her late father Don, SMC ’66, who impressed upon her a very strong work ethic. His high expectations led her to try her hardest, she said.
“My father taught us to write and speak concisely, that our words matter. [He taught us] not to be afraid of words, not to take words away from people,” Fey said.
My father taught us to write and speak concisely, that our words matter. [He taught us] not to be afraid of words, not to take words away from people.
-- Tina Fey
The annual awards event raises funds for the Lew Klein Scholarship, which supports SMC students who want to pursue internships or research projects or study away.
Joshua Combos, a senior media studies and production major, said his Lew Klein Scholarship allowed him to study away in Los Angeles and complete an internship for Fox Sports and The Tavis Smiley Show on PBS.
“I was able to jump-start my career while still in school,” he said. “My internship and connections would have never happened without the scholarship.”
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Watch the honorees accept their awards on YouTube.
Michael Grossman, SMC ’81, has directed more than 200 hours of television, including episodes of Chicago PD and Grey’s Anatomy. He recalled discovering his passion for filmmaking during his first film class at Temple. “It was like being in a room where they were speaking a foreign language I had never heard before, yet I understood everything they said,” he recalled.
Award-winning journalist and critically acclaimed author Solomon Jones, SMC ’97, shared how his struggles—such as beginning a journalism career while living in a homeless shelter—made him stronger. “When I came back to Temple University, it was with an earnestness, it was with ambition, it was with a drive that had come from seeing what it’s like to have nothing,” he said.
CBS 4 Boston reporter Chanteé Lans, SMC ’06, received the Rising Star award for her achievements as a young alumna. Lans spoke about how failures have led to her success. She said she suffered disappointments many times in the beginning of her career but quickly learned to stay confident in her abilities.
Rich Lerner, SMC ’83, looked up to sports media moguls when he was young. He called his role as an anchor, reporter and producer for The Golf Channel—where he’s worked since 1997—the “job of a lifetime.”
Rich Levy, SMC ’79, chief creative officer of FCB Health, is the mind behind Verizon’s iconic “Can you hear me now?” campaign. He credited his success to his colleagues. “Advertising is a collaborative industry,” he said. “I stand here thanks to the hard work of thousands, literally thousands, of people. Today is really their big day.”
Laurie Seidman, SMC ’98, said she owes her success to her professors, one of whom was Lew Klein, because they helped her realize her potential. “My professors at Temple inspired, encouraged and challenged me to be more than I thought I was capable of being,” she said. “They nurtured and fostered my talents and drive, and perhaps had an insight about me that I didn’t quite [have] about myself.”