Beau Willimon CC’99, SOA’03, will be the speaker at the School of the Arts Celebration of Graduates on Wednesday, May 20, 2015. The ceremony will be held in Miller Theatre at 2 p.m. on the Morningside campus.
A screenwriter, playwright and producer, Willimon is the creator of Netflix’s original series House of Cards, for which he serves as showrunner and executive producer. House of Cards made television history in its first season, earning nine Emmy nominations, including Best Drama, the first online streaming show to ever be so honored. Since then the show has garnered multiple Emmy, Golden Globe and Producers Guild, and SAG-AFTRA and WGA nominations, and has gone on to win in many categories.
Willimon’s play, Farragut North, became the basis for the motion picture screenplay Ides of March, which he co-wrote with George Clooney and Grant Heslov. The film earned Willimon Academy Award, Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay.
His recent stage productions include The Parisian Woman (South Coast Rep, 2013) and Breathing Time (Fault Line Theatre, 2014). South Coast Rep and the National Theatre of Great Britain have recently commissioned work.
Willimon was a recipient of the Lila Acheson Wallace Juilliard Playwriting Fellowship, was named 2008 Playwright-in-Residence at the Donmar Warehouse and is a two-time winner of the Lincoln Center Le Comte du Nouy Award.
Willimon is the co-founder of Westward Productions, a film and television production company. Through Westward Productions, Willimon is currently producing several documentaries. One of them – about adventurer Karl Bushby’s quest to walk around the world on foot – will air on National Geographic this year.
A St. Louis native, he now resides in Brooklyn, NY.
“Each year, we select a graduation speaker working in one of our four disciplines of the School of the Arts—Film, Theatre, Visual Arts, Writing—who exemplifies the creative brilliance of our students and faculty,” said Carol Becker, dean of facutly at the School of the Arts. “This year we asked the noted playwright and House of Cards creator and writer, Beau Willimon. Beau is daring, visionary, engaged in the world and its complexities and a fabulously original artist. We are delighted that he has accepted our invitation.”
“Beau Willimon has shown himself to exemplify the values we hope to see and instill in all of our graduates: innovative, dynamic, multi-disciplinary, and collaborative,” noted Christian Parker, Chair of the Theatre Program at Columbia University School of the Arts. “He is a writer of great distinction. His plays are complex, insightful, and deeply theatrical. His work for the big and small screen challenges the audience to see the world a little differently and to think hard about morality, ambition, and the foundations of our culture and political system. We are proud to claim him as an alumnus of the Theatre Program, and thrilled to welcome him back to Columbia to address our graduates.”