Alumni in the News

Alvin Kass ’57, GSAS’58; Dede Gardner ’90; and Robert K. Kraft ’63

Photo of Alvin Kass is courtesy of NYPD; photo of Dede Gardner is by Eileen Barroso; photo of Robert Kraft is by David Silverman

Tech Insider published a roundup of “100 of the most exciting startups in New York City” in December, and College alumni were well represented. Featured were Codecademy, founded by Ryan Bubinski ’11 and Zach Sims; Compass, founded by Robert Reffkin ’00, BUS’03; Fundera, co-founded by Jared Hecht ’09; and Upworthy, co-founded by Peter Koechley ’03.

In early January, Xiyin Tang ’09 and Kendall Tucker ’14 both made the 2017 Forbes “30 Under 30” list in the law and policy category. Tang is an intellectual property associate at Mayer Brown, where she works on copyright litigation with a focus on digital music and licensing, while Tucker is the CEO and founder of Polis, a mobile canvassing and in-person analytics startup.

On December 16, Rabbi Alvin Kass ’57, GSAS’58 was awarded a third gold star — a first for an NYPD chaplain — at a ceremony marking his 50 years of NYPD service.

The New York Times reported on February 6 that Janice Min ’90, JRN’91 planned to step down after seven years as The Hollywood Reporter’s top editor at the end of February. Min has joined Eldridge Industries in a new role in which she will devise a “media-investment strategy.”

On December 15, President Donald Trump nominated David Friedman ’78, LAW’79 as the United States Ambassador to Israel. Friedman is a founding partner of the law firm Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman and advised Trump on Israeli and Jewish issues during the presidential campaign. He was confirmed on March 23.

Robert K. Kraft ’63, owner of the New England Patriots, made the news during Super Bowl LI when his team made a spectacular comeback against the Atlanta Falcons. Coming from a 25-point deficit in the second quarter, the Patriots tied the game in the fourth quarter, forcing the first overtime in Super Bowl history. A final touchdown gave the Patriots a 34–28 victory and their fifth title.

In January, President Barack Obama ’83 appointed Herbert Block ’87 to the role of member, Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad, “an independent Federal agency established to help preserve cultural sites in Eastern and Central Europe associated with the heritage of U.S. citizens. These include synagogues, cemeteries and other historic Jewish places, as well as sites of other faiths, and Holocaust memorials in the region.”

Erik Feig ’92, co-president of Lionsgate, and Dede Gardner ’90, a producer with and co-president of Plan B Entertainment, both had films rack up multiple 2017 Academy Awards. Lionsgate’s La La Land won six awards while Moonlight took home three, including Best Picture. With her 2017 win, Gardner became the first female producer to win two Best Picture awards (she won in 2013 for 12 Years a Slave). Films produced by Lionsgate earned 26 nominations, including a record-tying 14 for La La Land, while Plan B’s Moonlight received eight.

— Anne-Ryan Heatwole JRN’09