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HFA Dean's Advisory Council

The HFA Dean's Advisory Council, comprised of alumni, parents, and friends from across the college's fourteen departments, includes leaders and innovators from a range of industries and professions. Council membership reflects the diversity of our student and alumni populations, and council members share a commitment to the college's mission ofsupporting: excellence in education and research through diversity and inclusion in education and research and equipping students with the knowledge, skills and resources they need to succeed in college and beyond.

The HFA Dean's Advisory Council serves to extend the volunteer community through meaningful engagement with alumni, faculty, students, and staff. Enhancing these connections contributes to the success of the college and its students by expanding the network of alumni ambassadors for the college, raising the level of philanthropic support for the college's programs and students, and identifying new opportunities to enhance students' educational and career readiness experiences.

Andy Arons '81, Philosophy - UMass Amherst HFA Dean's Advisory Council

Andy Arons '81, Philosophy

Andy Arons is the Founder and former CEO of Gourmet Garage, a retail off-shoot of the wholesale distribution company, Flying Foods International, which he co-founded in 1981 and which was acquired by Kraft Foods. Gourmet Garage operated 6 locations in Manhattan for 28 years until 2019, when the stores and the brand were acquired by the Shoprite/Wakefern group. Mr. Arons has interest and expertise in fundraising and has served on numerous educational and philanthropic advisory bodies including Grace Church School's High School, The South Bronx Early College Academy and WIN NYC. Andy lives lives in Manhattan's West Village with his wife Elyce and their three daughters. Andy holds a BA in Philosophy from University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Judith Barter '91, History - UMass Amherst HFA Dean's Advisory Council

Judith Barter '91, History

Dr. Judith Barter is Field-McCormick Chair and Curator Emerita of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is the author numerous books and articles including, Mary Cassatt: Modern Woman; Apostles of Beauty: Arts and Crafts from England to Chicago; Edward Hopper; Art and Appetite: American Painting, Culture and Cuisine; and America After the Fall: Painting in the 1930s. In 2017 she received the Legion d'honneur from the government of France for her contributions to French culture and in 1999 she received the Chancellor's medal from the University of Massachusetts for her outstanding contributions to scholarship. In 2005 she was awarded "Chicagoan of the Year" by the Chicago Tribune for her reinstallation of the Art Institute's galleries. Under her direction, the Department of American Art at the Art Institute over four hundred acquisitions were added to the permanent collection. Dr. Barter lectures widely and currently teaches at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Gisela Carbonell MA'02, Art History - UMass Amherst HFA Dean's Advisory Council

Gisela Carbonell '02MA, Art History

Dr. Gisela Carbonell is Curator at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum, at Rollins College in Winter Park Florida. Carbonell received her Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2009), an M.A. in Art History at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (2002), and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras (1997). Prior to joining the team at the Cornell in 2018, Carbonell was Director of Curatorial Affairs at Artis—Naples, The Baker Museum. She was previously Associate Professor of Art History and Humanities at the University of Puerto Rico at Cayey, and Curatorial Assistant at the Krannert Art Museum at the University of Illinois, where she discovered her passion for museum work in academic settings. With a background in art history and political science, Carbonell is particularly interested in the intersections of art and political history in modern art.Carbonell's recent projects include the exhibition Marcus Jansen: E Pluribus Unum (fall 2020), the first solo museum exhibition of Jansen's work in the U.S.; Rania Matar: On Either Side of the Window, Portraits During Covid-19 (spring 2021); a new series of themed tours in Spanish, Arte y café con la curadora; and the development of a collection of works by Puerto Rican artists from the island and the diaspora. She is currently organizing the exhibition Gallardo/Budoff: Growth, Breadth, and Terrain, which explores environmental and socio-political issues in Puerto Rico in the art of Frances Gallardo and Nathan Budoff. Carbonell lives in Orlando.

Rick Guimond '75, Dance - UMass Amherst HFA Dean's Advisory Council

Rick Guimond '75, Dance

Rick Guimond began his professional dance training at UMass Amherst, and graduated magna cum laude in 1975. Over the course of twenty-five years Rick performed with many modern dance company including HARRY-Dance and Other Works by Senta Driver, Molissa Fenley and Dancers, The New England Opera Company, NYU Calliope Dancers, The Elinor Coleman Dance Ensemble and The Contemporary Dancers of Winnipeg, Canada. For 20 years Rick was resident choreographer of the 200-voice New York City Gay Mens Chorus. He also directed his own dance company, Guimond Dance Associates, and was a founding partner of Kidrich Corporation, makers of dance books, games and videos. Rick currently teaches dance to thousands of students in New York City public schools.

John Kendzierski '78, Philosophy - UMass Amherst HFA Dean's Advisory Council

John Kendzierski '78, Philosophy

John was born and raised in West Springfield and is a graduate of West Springfield High School. After graduating from UMass, he began sheetrocking houses with his brother and in 1979 formed his first business, J&W Drywall Inc. It grew to be the largest drywall company in the area, doing residential and then branching into commercial work. After some tough years in the early nineties including a bankruptcy, he continued on with PDC Construction Inc., which currently is the largest drywall company in western New England, employing between 150-200 union employees and staff. John sold the company in November of 2017. He continues to enjoy his property in West Springfield where his family has been for 100 years, and his home on Martha's Vineyard.

Bob LaRussa '76, History - UMass Amherst HFA Dean's Advisory Council

Bob LaRussa '76, History

Bob LaRussa is a member of the Shearman & Sterling's International Trade and Investment Practice. He has more than 30 years of experience in the regulatory issues surrounding international trade and investment, including as Commerce Department Under Secretary for International Trade during the Clinton Administration. His practice areas include CFIUS national security reviews, international trade law, export controls and national security matters before the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and the U.S. Departments of State, Commerce, Energy, and Defense. Mr. LaRussa uses his unique background as a former journalist, Administration official and congressional trade counsel to position clients, represent them in negotiations and regulatory and court proceedings, and advocate their positions before the highest levels of government.

Kathleen Mirabile-Wagner '82, Women's Studies - UMass Amherst HFA Dean's Advisory Council

Kathleen Mirabile-Wagner '82, Women's Studies

Kathleen Mirabile-Wagner was a Corporate Communications professional in the high tech industry for a decade. More recently she has focused her efforts in development for both national and local organizations including St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital. She has been on the parents advisory council for the Fessenden School and the Middlesex School. She had been on several 5013c Boards of Directors, such as A Safe Place in Nantucket, MA and the Wellesley Channel/ Comcast TV Station. She has an MFA in writing and publishing from Emerson College and a BA from the BDIC program/Women in Management, from UMass Amherst. She is married with two sons and splits her time between the United States and Switzerland.

Lan Morgan '09, Communication and Art History - UMass Amherst HFA Dean's Advisory Council

Lan Morgan '09, Communication and Art History

Lan Morgan is an Assistant Curator at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM), where she works on a variety of exhibition projects. Her recent work on PEM's Asian Export Art gallery received the 2020 Exhibition Award from the Association of American Art Curators. Prior to joining PEM, Lan worked for the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum ofArt, Sotheby's New York, and several New England historical societies. She earned her BA from UMass Amherst, and an MA from the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture at the University of Delaware. Lan lives in Beverly, MA, where you can often find her exploring the natural areas of the North Shore, visiting museums, and treasure hunting in antiques stores.

Bill Noland '86, Psychology - UMass Amherst HFA Dean's Advisory Council

Bill Noland '86, Psychology

Bill Noland received a BA in Psychology from UMass Amherst in 1986 and an MBA from Vanderbilt's Owen Graduate School of Management in 1992. Bill has worked in Human Resources for several nonprofit organizations in Boston, and has spent the last 15 years in the financial services industry. He is currently employed as a contract consultant with Client Server Specialists, Inc. where he serves as a subject matter expert in Advent software products and their implementation and application in financial advisory firms. Bill grew up in Amherst as his father was a Professor of English at UMass from 1965–2004. He enjoys travel, history, and music, playing bass and singing in two local bands.

Madeline Noland '86, Music - UMass Amherst HFA Dean's Advisory Council

Madeleine Noland '89, Music

Madeleine Noland received her Bachelor of Music from the UMass Amherst in 1989. She began her career in the television industry in 2004 with Backchannelmedia, Inc. In early 2013, Noland joined LG Electronics with a focus on development of industry standards and guidelines. She participates in a variety of industry organizations on behalf of LG Electronics, and currently services as TG3 Chair for ATSC 3.0. Noland also serves as Chair of the Guidelines Work Group within the Ultra HD Forum and Chair of the ATSC Advanced Emergency Information Implementation Team. She was the 2016 recipient of the prestigious ATSC Lechner Award. She was named one of Dealerscope's "Powerful Women in Consumer Technology" for 2018, and is a recipient of the 2019 Women In Technology "Futurist" award.

Sarah Oh ‘15, Art History - UMass Amherst HFA Dean's Advisory Council

Sarah Oh ‘15, Art History

Sarah Oh earned her bachelor's degree in Art History and certificate in Arts Management in 2015. Initially an undeclared major, she quickly found her home in the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, even working part time in the CFA Dean's office. Currently she is the Planning and Logistics administrator at Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, where she oversees the coordination of the Museum's many projects, activities, and daily operations. Prior to this role, she worked in fundraising and event management at deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum.

Michael Partridge '92, English - UMass Amherst HFA Dean's Advisory Council

Michael Partridge '92, English

Michael Partridge (B.A. English, Honors '92) has served in a number of roles leading product communications, corporate branding and communications, and investor relations at Vertex Pharmaceuticals over the last 20 years. He is currently Vertex's Senior Vice President of Investor Relations and is responsible for Vertex's global investor relations program and is a member of the Company's management committee. He has been honored twice by Institutional Investor as Best Investor Relations Professional in the biotechnology sector. Prior to Vertex, Mr. Partridge spent four years at Decision Resources, a privately owned consulting and advisory firm for the healthcare, pharmaceutical and financial industries. His work on a report projecting the rapid evolution in HIV therapeutic development and treatment led him to his initial role at Vertex.

Jill Roberts '83, Art History - UMass Amherst HFA Dean's Advisory Council

Jill Roberts '83, Art History

Jill Roberts serves a an IT Project Manager at the Smithsonian's newest museum, The National Museum of African American History and Culture. After graduating from UMass Amherst, Jill moved to Washington D.C. to pursue a career in museums. She first served as a curatorial assistant at the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress. After relocating to New Orleans, Jill worked as a Cataloger at the Historic New Orleans Collection. Following marriage, babies and a lengthy residency abroad (France, South Africa, Germany and France again), Jill returned to the USA in search of her second act! She has worked for several Software Companies in Washington D.C. as a Project Manager before landing her dream job at the Smithsonian.

Zach Schlappi '95, English - UMass Amherst HFA Dean's Advisory Council

Zach Schlappi '95, English

Zach Schläppi is Art Director with Relic Entertainment | SEGA. Previously, he art directed for several studios including Avalanche Studios, Ubisoft Entertainment and Electronic Arts including consulting and mentoring with Agni Interactive, Turbo! Studios and Execution Labs. Before a career in game development, Zach was a technical director in lighting and compositing for feature animation with Amoeba Proteus, Big Idea Productions and Blue Sky Studios. He has spoken at various conferences and schools including the School of Visual Arts, Laguna College of Art, Santa Monica College, and Mercy College. Zach received his MFA from the School of Visual Arts.

Avery Sharpe '76, Economics - UMass Amherst HFA Dean's Advisory Council

Avery Sharpe '76, Economics

Bassist/Composer/Educator/Producer, Avery Sharpe is considered a major force of his generation. Avery worked with piano jazz legend McCoy Tyner's for 20 plus years, playing hundreds of gigs worldwide and appearing on more than 20 recordings with Tyner. Sharpe's credits also include sideman stints and recordings with jazz greats like Dizzy Gillespie, Wynton Marsales, Yusef Lateef, Bobby McFerrin, Pat Metheny Billy Taylor, and many more. In 1994 he started his own artist record label, JKNM Records. To date he has more than 13 titles as a leader for JKNM Records. Sharpe is equally adept at songs and longer compositional forms. He has composed for films, jazz bands, orchestras, choirs and plays. Avery Sharpe was the Sterling Brown ‘22 Distinguished Visiting Artist in Residence in Music at Williams College and is now Artist Associate in Jazz Bass, and Jazz Coach at Williams College. He is also Faculty Advisor for the Williams Gospel Choir and affiliated faculty for Africana Studies. Avery has served on the panels of National Endowment for the Arts, Chamber Music America, Meet the Composer, Rhode Island Foundation(for Composers), and more.

Keisha Tucker '06, Theater - UMass Amherst HFA Dean's Advisory Council

Keisha Tucker '06, Theater

Keisha Tucker is an Actress/Stuntwoman who was born in Boston, Massachusetts and raised in the suburbs. While in school, She stayed busy with other extra curricular activities such as Softball, Gymnastics, Chorus and Band. At age 18, Keisha started attending University of Massachusetts, Amherst. While majoring in Theater, she performed in many university productions. She also did some acting, dancing, and singing in shows at Six Flags New England. After she graduated, Keisha moved out to Los Angeles. While in LA, she has had the pleasure of working as an actress and a stuntwoman in productions, such as "Black Panther" and "Birds of Prey."

Dawn Monique Williams '11, MFA Theater - UMass Amherst HFA Dean's Advisory Council

Dawn Monique Williams '11MFA, Theater

Dawn Monique Williams [she/her] is Associate Artistic Director of Aurora Theatre Company in Berkeley, CA. She is a theatre director and educator and frequently lectures on Black theatre in the U.S., and Shakespeare performance. Her artistic practice is concerned with confronting and dismantling systems of oppression and her writing interrogates contemporary, multiracial Shakespeare performance and adaptation. Dawn holds an MFA in Directing and an MA in Dramatic Literature.