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Cornish College of the Arts Elects New Trustees and Officers

June 08, 2011

At the 2011 Annual Meeting of the Cornish College of the Arts Board of Trustees, the board confirmed four new trustees, Jody Cunningham, Donna James, Lawrence Matsuda and Marc Schwarz. They also elected officers for the 2011-12 term, including John Gordon Hill, chair; Virginia Anderson and Roger J. Bass, vice-chairs;  Heather Howard, secretary; Robin Amrine, Treasurer;  and Alex Alben and Marianne Francis, members-at-large.

Cornish College of the Arts completed the 2010-11 academic year with record enrollment of 836 students and the class of 2011 graduated on May 14, 2011 with nearly 150 students receiving Bachelor of Fine Arts or Bachelor of Music degrees.

Culmination of the 2010-11 academic year also marks the retirement of Cornish President Sergei P. Tschernisch, who led Cornish through significant growth since 1994. Dr. Nancy J. Uscher, currently Provost and co-acting President of CalArts, will assume the position of president on August 1, 2011.

New Trustees

Jody Cunningham
After working many years in the computer industry, Ms. Cunningham retired and began working as a community volunteer.  For the past 11 years she has served on the Overlake Hospital Foundation Board.  She has been a member of the Bellevue Schools Foundation Board for nine years, was PTSA President for two years in the Bellevue School District, and chaired the Hopelink Reaching Out luncheon for three years.  Recently, she joined the Kappa Alpha Theta Corporation Board at the University of Washington. Her involvement with Cornish started when her uncle, renowned choreographer and dancer Merce Cunningham, received the Nellie Cornish Arts Achievement Award in 1996. She became a member of the Cornish Players Club, an organization created to raise money for student scholarships at Cornish and later served two years as co-chair for Cornish Celebrates an Evening of the Arts, also raising scholarship funds. A graduate of the University of Washington, Ms. Cunningham and her husband, Mark Mennella, have twin boys in college. 

Donna James
In 1984, Donna James began an influential career in local government, joining the staff of Mayor Charles Royer as an assistant covering issues ranging from the arts to children and families. In 1990, as Deputy Chief of Staff to Mayor Rice, she was responsible for coordinating all Mayoral appointments to City Boards and Commissions and became liaison to the film community, the arts, and Seattle Public Library. From 1994 to 2005, Ms. James served as director of the Mayor’s Film Office and as City liaison to the tourism industry, connecting production companies, City departments, neighborhoods and local businesses. She represented the Mayor on city Special Events as the Office lead for Presidential visits, a Major League All Star Game, Bumbershoot, the Apolo Ohno Event and many others. She also chaired the Olympic Torch Run through Seattle and the WTO closing night gala. Ms. James continues her efforts to promote Seattle as film-friendly and consults on film-related projects, including development work with the Seattle International Film Festival. She holds a BA/Education and an advanced degree in educational media. She has two grown sons and lives in downtown Seattle with her husband. She serves on the executive board of the Seattle-Perugia Sister City Association and as vice-chair of WashingtonFilmWorks.

Lawrence Matsuda
Lawrence Matsuda has a Ph.D. in education from the University of Washington.  He was a junior high language arts teacher, university counselor, state level administer, K-6, K-8 and middle school principal, assistant superintendent, visiting professor, and educational consultant.  In 2005 he and two colleagues wrote and co-edited the book Community and Difference: Teaching, Pluralism and Social Justice, Peter Lang Publishing, New York.  The book won the 2006 National Association of Multicultural Education Phillip Chinn Book Award.  In July of 2010 his book of poetry entitled, A Cold Wind from Idaho was published by Black Lawrence Press in New York.  His volunteer experiences include:  president, University of Washington Alumni Association Board of Trustees; co-founder, Multi-cultural Alumni Partnership; Washington State Liquor Board Wine Tasting committee member; chair of the Seattle University Japanese American Remembrance Garden; board member, Friends of Minidoka; and volunteer/grant writer, The Hutch School, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.  Mr. Matsuda lives with his wife, Karen, in Seattle and his son attends Cornish College of the Arts.  Currently, he is a consultant helping to re-design schools as better physical learning environments. 

Marc Schwarz
Mr. Schwarz is a Director of Marketing Strategy and Analysis with SapientNitro’s global strategy practice and has deep experience in bringing data from multiple channels, sources and types into a story that informs and drives business. He brings more than 20 years of multi-channel experiences, on both the client and agency side, in driving how to collect, manage, and use data. He cut his teeth on Fortune 500 companies like Airborne Express, AT&T Wireless, Cingular Wireless, PacifiCare (managing the regional marketing for the Pacific Northwest) and Microsoft. Through this path, he learned about the art and science of the digital world, changing in the approach as the customer changed.  His journey continued as he focused on developing integrated data strategy for Microsoft. While working with Microsoft, he developed engagement strategies for Windows Mobile, Zune (he was part of the launch team), X-Box, Windows Live, Live Search, and MSN. These strategies ranged from helping to develop games to drive search activity to supporting retail POS for Windows Mobile.  The ability to harness data and information are now central tools to building brand, leveraging CRM and direct response, and driving social strategies for the likes of Coke, CA Technologies, etc.  He is passionate about connecting companies with their customers in a way that is relevant and using data (media, online, offline, customer…doesn’t really matter what kind) to drive relevance and interest. Mr. Schwarz is a graduate of Webster University, with an MBA.  He also has a BA in Math from Duke University.  He currently lives with his partner and five children.  His oldest daughter is a freshman at the University of Washington and his oldest son is the state wrestling champion at 189 lbs.

About Cornish College of the Arts
Cornish College of the Arts is nationally recognized as a premier college of the visual and performing arts offering Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in dance, theater, art, design and performance production, and a Bachelor of Music degree. A pioneer in arts education, Cornish College of the Arts sprang from the remarkable vision of Nellie Cornish, a woman determined to cultivate the arts in Seattle when it was scarcely more than a frontier town. Her philosophy of educating the artist through exposure to all the arts was progressive at the time, and continues to be innovative today.


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