Alumni Spotlights

Bridget Mundy, 2016

Named first Executive Director of Grammy-nominated, A Far Cry

university of akron bridget mundy alumni

Bridget Mundy began the Arts Administration master's program at The University of Akron in 2010. In just a few months, she also launched her career with The Cleveland Orchestra, growing within its Development office while continuing her UA education. Today, Bridget serves as the first Executive Director of A Far Cry in Boston!        

When asked to share advice to our UA students, Bridget shared time-honored wisdom, “Success is being prepared. Be proactive.” For those students interested, she recommended joining The Cleveland Orchestra’s Young Professional Group and to keep networking with open, sharing UA alumni like her and others.

Learn More - Visit A Far Cry

Susan Van Vorst, 1988

Passionate leader in arts management & music

University of Akron Arts Administration Susan Van Vorst

Susan Van Vorst, a 1980’s Arts Administration graduate, is now the Dean of Baldwin Wallace University’s nationally recognized Conservatory of Music. Susan credits her preparation for the world of arts administration to the influential leadership of her professors at The University of Akron. That leadership inspired Susan to pursue management positions at prominent arts organizations including The Cleveland Orchestra, the San Antonio Symphony and the Akron Symphony Orchestra.

Her 13 years at Akron’s own Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens as Foundation President and Vice President of Fund Development put her degree to the test. Susan was able to spread her wings by facilitating efforts like the creation of a supporting foundation and foundation board, introducing annual fund and planned giving programs, leading musical programming, and assisting the board and staff in leading several significant capital campaigns. She is grateful to have had the opportunity to serve such an iconic organization in the Akron community and states, “[Stan Hywet] lives in my heart every hour of every day, even still.” When asked if she would have been as fruitful in her leadership at Stan Hywet without her UA Arts Administration experience, she responded “there is no way.”

Susan’s career at Baldwin Wallace University began at the Conservatory of Music leading the recruitment of music students during the 1990’s. Years later, she returned to BW as Dean of the Conservatory of Music in April, 2012, and began impacting the lives of music students and the BW community as a whole. Referring to her role at Baldwin Wallace as her calling, she works diligently to oversee major initiatives such as introducing the country’s first undergraduate major in Arts Management & Entrepreneurship and, most recently, improving the resources for music students at the Conservatory and its Community Music School by leading a campaign to add Baldwin Wallace Conservatory to the roster of elite All-Steinway Schools worldwide.

Through her love of arts and culture and her competent expansive management abilities, Susan Van Vorst has touched the lives of many. A valuable lesson she learned during her time in the UA Arts Administration program and a piece of advice for future arts administrators from Susan is, “Don’t wait for this industry to carry you along… don’t think about it. Do it. Lead!”

Janis Harcar and Justyn Jaymes 
Two alumni working together in the arts

First Generation Leading the Arts - Arts Administration 1980's Graduates

When Janis Harcar and Justyn Jaymes attended The University of Akron in the 1980s, they were among the first to pioneer the Arts Administration graduate program. Now Weathervane Playhouse staff members, both Janis (Director of Advancement) and Justyn (Coordinator of Special Projects) share how their Akron experience prepared them to work as professional leaders in the business of the arts.

Justyn and Janis credit their Arts Administration professors for providing them the foundation in arts administration they use in the daily work at Weathervane Playhouse.

A native of Steubenville, OH, Janis taught music at places such as the Streetsboro City Schools and St. Joseph’s School in Mantua before beginning her Akron journey. Motivated by her desire to further grow in the arts, Janis chose Akron and found her Graduate Assistantship in Business Management to be a vital asset to her professional work in development and project management. Upon completion of her graduate studies, Janis found herself working for Weathervane Playhouse as their Marketing Coordinator. Twenty-two years later she remains with the theatre she loves, having advanced to her current position as Director of Advancement. When asked what she loves about her theatre, she smiled and said, “the rewarding work environment where everyone works well together and genuinely enjoys the entire process.” As she frequently says to her follow staff, “I look forward to having more fun tomorrow!”

Justyn is an arts professional with the credentials to prove it. A native of Cochranton, PA, Justyn completed his Arts Administration graduate degree while pursuing his J.D. from the Law School after serving at multiple positions in higher education administration. Additionally, he has earned his B.A. in Theatre, M.A. in Educational Psychology and Counseling, M.F.A. in Theatre Design and is all-but-dissertation completed on his M.A. Ed. in Higher Education Administration. Of all his professional degrees, he shared his Arts Administration experience at Akron was a great chance to be creative and combine all his studies. For Justyn, Weathervane Playhouse is “a pleasure to return to the theatre arts after working in other non-profit sectors.” 

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