Press Releases

Alum Susie Essman Hosts Purchase School of Arts Gala Mar. 15

Date Released: 2/5/2010

Honorees for Nelson A. Rockefeller Awards are: artist Kiki Smith, choreographer Paul Taylor, playwright Lynn Nottage, musician Paquito D' Rivera and philanthropists Jane and Donald Cecil.

Purchase hold’s its second School of the Arts Gala on Monday, March 15 at the Millennium Broadway Hotel/Hudson Theatre in New York City.


Susie Essman the comedian, film and television actress and star of HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm will host the evening. She is a member of the class of '77.


Honorees include artist KiKi Smith, choreographer Paul Taylor, playwright Lynn Nottage, musician Paquito D’ Rivera and philanthropists Jane and Donald Cecil who will receive Nelson A. Rockefeller Awards for their contributions to the visual and performing arts.


The evening includes cocktails at 6:30 PM, dinner, and tribute performances for each honoree by students from the School of the Arts Conservatories.  Performances will take place in the Hudson Theatre of the Millennium Hotel.


The Gala will raise funds for the School of the Arts Fund which supports scholarships for students in the visual arts, music, dance, and theatre arts and film.  It also supports art exhibitions and fully staged student productions of the Purchase Opera, Purchase Symphony Orchestra, Purchase Jazz and Latin Jazz Orchestras, Purchase Dance Corps and Purchase Repertory Theatre.


Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller’s vision for Purchase College was to combine on one campus conservatory training in the visual and performing arts with prominent liberal arts and sciences programs. Purchase is now distinctive among other colleges in the country.  It’s School, of the Arts enrolls approximately 1,200 students and includes the Conservatory of Dance, the Conservatory of Music, Conservatory of Theatre Arts and Film and the School of Art + Design

Over the last 40 years, the students, faculty and administration of the College have actively pursued Governor Rockefeller’s founding vision of an educational community where the arts, the liberal arts, and the science flourish and mutually reinforce one another.


With the generous approval of Mr. Nelson A. Rockefeller—and in recognition of the continuing importance of Governor Rockefeller’s vision to the place of the arts in higher education—Purchase College inaugurated the Nelson A. Rockefeller Awards at its 40th anniversary Gala in 2007.  Rockefeller Awards are presented to individuals who have distinguished themselves through their contributions to the arts and philanthropy.


Nelson A Rockefeller Award Honorees, 2010


Paquito D’ Rivera

Grammy winning clarinetist and composer Paquito D’ Rivera has crossed musical boundaries by creating work in Jazz, Beebop, Latin and Classical styles.


Lynn  Nottage

Playwright. Pulitzer Prize winning author of Ruined, Intimate Apparel, and Crumbs From the Table of Joy.


Kiki Smith

Eminent artist known for evocative sculptures, drawings, and prints.  In Whitney Biennial and major museum collections.


Paul Taylor

An American icon. One of the most versatile and inventive American choreographers.


Jane and Donald Cecil, Jandon Foundation

Generous philanthropists for theatre, dance, music, the visual arts and education.


For more information visit and to purchase tickets please call 212-677-3173 ext. 236.  Patron tickets are $1,000 and individual tickets are $500.


Photos and biographies of honorees are available. 914-251-6951.