CMM Alumni Achievements

Loyola's College of Music and Media alumni are doing great things! Check out some recent highlights:

Rhonda Shear ’77 (communication), a former comedian and host of the late-night movie show USA: Up All Night who went on to launch a line of best-selling bras, was inducted into the School of Mass Communication’s Den of Distinction. She is an active volunteer with the American Cancer Society, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, and Pace School for Girls and was named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2012. In 2017, she published UP ALL NIGHT: From Hollywood Bombshell to Lingerie Mogul, Life Lessons From an Accidental Feminist. Watch an interview about the book here.

Veronique “Vikki” Spruill ’80 (communication) was named the president and CEO of the New England Aquarium. A longtime ocean advocate and nonprofit leader, Spruill has led the Council on Foundations, a national network of philanthropic organizations, since 2012; before that, she spent six years as president and CEO of the Ocean Conservancy in Washington, D.C. She also was the founder and president of SeaWeb. In addition, Spruill recently was named to the board of directors of the Water Institute of the Gulf in Baton Rouge. 

David Fernandez ’93 (communication) just published his second book (under the pen name D.H. Cermeño), Coffee and Cedar: Finding Strength From Memories.

Randal “Randy” Despommier ’04 (jazz studies) released his first jazz-classical fusion album, All At Onceness, with Red Piano Records, part of a collaboration with New York-based pianist Jason Yeager. 

Ellen Altamirano ’06 (communication) of Zehnder Communications was named 2018 Social Media Person of the Year at the Ad Club of New Orleans’ ADDY Awards.

Zac Brown ’09 (music industry studies) is head brewer at Waterman’s Brewing Co. in Wilmington, N.C. 

James Will McBride ’12 (theatre) wrote, directed, and co-produced (with Loyola theatre faculty C. Patrick Gendusa) the one-woman show ALEXIS, I AM! for RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant Alexis Michelle.

Mary Kate Hutchinson ’15 (advertising) of FSC Interactive was named 2018 Social Media Person of the Year at the Ad Club of New Orleans’ ADDY Awards.

James Van Camp ’15 (music industry studies) recently published a photography book detailing his experience working with a nonprofit organization in the secluded mountains of northern Thailand. He credits his time at Loyola with helping him cultivate the Jesuit ideal of global perspective, as well as equipping him with the entrepreneurial tools he needed to publish his book. 

Dan Fowler ’17 (music industry studies) launched Reunion Shoe Co., which helps employ and provide services to those transitioning out of homelessness. While a Loyola student, Fowler was involved in ministries for the homeless and held campus-wide fundraisers on the Peace Quad.