Boston University College of Fine Arts announces 2008 Distinguished Alumni Award Winners

in Arts, College of Fine Arts, News Releases
October 9th, 2008

Contact: Ellen Carr, 617-353-8783 |
Contact: Jean Connaughton, 617-353-7293 |

(Boston) – The Boston University College of Fine Arts is pleased to announce the winners of its 2008 Distinguished Alumni Awards. Since 1986, this award has been presented to CFA alumni who have made a significant contribution to the arts. These alumni have distinguished themselves with outstanding achievements in their professions, communities, and service to the College. All awardees will be present for an awards ceremony on Friday, October 17 at noon at the CFA Concert Hall at Boston University, hosted by Walt Meissner, Dean ad interim of the College of Fine Arts. A luncheon reception will follow the ceremony and is open to all in attendance. This year’s winners include:

School of Music Distinguished Alumni Award
Edward Avedisian, BM ’59, MM ’61

School of Theatre Distinguished Alumni Award
Robin Bartlett, BFA ’73

School of Visual Arts Distinguished Alumni Award
Carol Keller, BFA ’80
Artist & Professor

Distinguished Faculty Award
William McManus, MM ’71, EDD ‘81
Associate Professor & Former Chair, Music Education

Meissner explains, “The CFA Alumni Awards ceremony is one of the highlights of our year. We honor those who have been here and gone on to stellar careers, and we are lucky to have them back so we can celebrate their accomplishments and thank them for their support of the College of Fine Arts.” In addition to participating in the awards ceremony, all of this year’s awardees will participate in sessions with CFA students during their visit.


Ed Avedisian served for 35 years as a clarinetist with the Boston Pops and is currently in his 43rd season with the Boston Ballet Orchestra. He was awarded a Fromm Fellowship for Contemporary Music Performance at Tanglewood under the direction of Aaron Copland and Gunther Schuller, and received an American National Theatre Academy Award for performances in Europe. Avedisian has taught at CFA as an adjunct professor and served as a panelist for the National Foundation for Advancement of the Arts. He is an active philanthropist, having established endowments and award grants to a number of nonprofit organizations, including the BU Tanglewood Institute and the American University of Armenia.

Robin Bartlett is an actress who has appeared in films such as Dying Gaul (2005); City of Angels (1998); Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves (1997); Dangerous Minds (1995); Regarding Henry (1991); Postcards from the Edge (1990); Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989); Moonstruck (1987); and Sophie’s Choice (1982). She also guest starred on the television shows Judging Amy, The West Wing, Miami Vice, and Touched by an Angel. From 1995-1999, she played the role of Debbie on the comedy Mad About You. Bartlett has also appeared in more than 35 Broadway and off-Broadway productions, including starring in the recent revival of Craig Lucas’ Prelude to a Kiss and winning an Obie award for her performance in The Early Girl.

Carol Keller has been Professor of Art at Amherst College since 2004 and taught previously at University of North Carolina Greensborough and Boston University. She has held solo exhibitions at the Eli Marsh Gallery in Amherst College, the Nielsen Gallery in Boston, and the Andrews Gallery at the College of William and Mary, among others. Keller has won numerous awards, including the Bogliasco Foundation Residency in Liguria, Italy; the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Award; the Artists’ Resource Trust Fund Grant; New England Foundation for the Arts Fellowships in Sculpture Finalist; and the International Sculpture Center Bronze Casting Competition Prize Winner.

Professor William McManus retired in 2008 as chair of the Department of Music Education and an associate professor of music education. A recognized leader in the field of music education, he has served as president of both the Massachusetts Music Educators Association (MMEA) and the Eastern Division of the National Association for Music Education. MMEA honored McManus with the Distinguished Service Award and the AIME/Visionary Leadership Award. He was named Conductor of the Year by the Massachusetts Instrumental and Choral Conductors Association.


Boston University is one of the leading private research and teaching institutions in the world today, with two primary campuses in the heart of Boston and programs around the world. The Boston University College of Fine Arts was created in 1954 to bring together the School of Music, the School of Theatre, and the School of Visual Arts. The University’s vision was to create a community of artists in a conservatory-style school offering professional training in the arts to both undergraduate and graduate students, complemented by a liberal arts curriculum for undergraduate students. Since those early days, education at the College of Fine Arts has begun on the BU campus and extended into the city of Boston, a rich center of cultural, artistic and intellectual activity.

The Boston University School of Music at the College of Fine Arts, founded in 1872, is the oldest degree-granting music program in the United States. The character of the School is shaped by its position at the center of a major university situated in the heart of Boston, a city that takes learning and music seriously. The School is committed to integrating professional training and the study of the liberal arts for undergraduate students. At the graduate level, students participate in a rich intellectual and artistic environment, vital for professional development. Alumni and faculty are members of major symphony orchestras, opera companies, prestigious ensembles, and educational institutions throughout the world.

A theatre conservatory within the embrace of a metropolitan university, the Boston University School of Theatre at the College of Fine Arts offers programs in acting, directing, design, production, management, theatre education, and theatre arts. Its programs foster the synthesis of imagination, intellectual inquiry, and technical skill by combining rigorous training with study in a traditional liberal arts curriculum. A diverse and accomplished full-time faculty and staff, augmented by guest artists and part-time trainers, serve approximately 240 undergraduate and 30 graduate students each academic year. The School produces six fully mounted productions each season, offers an additional 35 to 40 workshop projects, and enjoys professional affiliations with the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, Olney Theatre Center, Williamstown Theatre Festival, and the Huntington Theatre Company, the professional theatre in residence at Boston University.

The Boston University School of Visual Arts at the College of Fine Arts is a community of artists within a great university and in a city that offers diversity within a vibrant arts culture. Founded as a professional training school, it offers an intensive program of studio training combined with liberal arts studies leading to the Bachelor’s of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts degrees. The first-rate teaching and mentoring of its regular faculty is supplemented by a vibrant program of visiting artists, guest lecture series, and exhibitions. The School offers introductory and advanced classes in painting, sculpture, graphic design, art education, ceramics, photography, glassblowing, and printmaking. A solid background in art history, contemporary critical analysis, and liberal arts complements the studio arts courses.


To request high resolution photos or additional information, please contact either:
Jean Connaughton at 617-353-7293 or
Ellen Carr at 617-353-8783 or

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