Kendall College of Arts & Sciences has a renowned alumni network. From a Hollywood producer to a writer for Saturday Night Live, TU is an influential force in the fine arts, and from an award-winning human rights activist to alumni who walk the halls of Capitol Hill, we don’t merely take part in the national conversation, we lead it. Our alumni are prepared to ask compelling questions, address complex problems with creative solutions, engage respectfully and knowledgeably with diverse people and their cultures, speak and write persuasively and professionally and contribute to the advancement of society in productive and meaningful ways.
Learn more about the TU alumni community here.
Meet Our Alumni
When the cameras are rolling, Wesam Keesh answers to another name, Jay Simmons. Landing a lead role in the new ABC network Shondaland drama, For the People, Keesh (BA ’09) delves into his new role as a public defender in the southern district court of New York City. “It’s about six brand new law school graduates in the most prestigious court in the United States,” Keesh said.
Julius Tennon has a beautiful speaking voice. In seventh grade, his English teacher discovered this during a poetry unit. The following year, Tennon memorized and performed the “I Have a Dream” speech by Martin Luther King Jr. With King’s brave words instilled in him, Tennon successfully pursued his own dream of an acting career. Now, this 1978 TU alumnus is president, alongside his wife, Viola Davis at Juvee Productions, an artist-driven production company.
A few years ago, Nicole Hager’s (BA ’15) future seemed to be headed to the music stage as a flute performance major attending a big state university. Fast forward to today, Hager is the deputy press secretary for the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, juggling law school at George Washington University and a proud TU alumna.
Michael Paraskevas (BA ’14) is a self-proclaimed nostalgic film nerd, but as a kid enjoying movies with his dad, a music educator, they didn’t simply watch the movies. The Paraskevas family listened to the music. Now living in Los Angeles as a media composer, Paraskevas has contributed to movies such as American Made, Gringo, and the upcoming Marvel movie, Ant-Man and the Wasp.
Burdened with a reputation for crime and violence, a south Tulsa neighborhood at 61st and Peoria voted to be renamed Hope Valley. No longer on the sidelines of progress, the community is striving to exemplify its new name. At the center of the effort is Tulsa Police Department’s first community resource officer and TU alumnus Amley “Popsey” Floyd (BA ’09).
A colorful poster adorned with scribbled requests for city improvements — like creating cat parks and better education funding — is the centerpiece of Tulsa City Councilor Anna America’s office. The artwork is titled “Kids’ Ideas for Tulsa,” and when children visit this 1985 TU alumna’s office, they simply grab a marker to advocate for their issues on the poster.
Cyber security analyst by day and teen fiction author by night, TU alumna Lindsay Smith (BS ’05) has published short stories in anthologies, seven books and has an eighth book coming out this fall. From Russian spies to the paranormal, Smith’s novels provide a twist to the typical coming-of-age stories.
Standing on his fireplace with a TV remote control pressed to his lips, 2-year-old Steven Castillo delivered his lines. Emulating Jay Leno, he noticed every time Leno said, “George Bush,” his family laughed. “I would speak in gibberish and then say, ‘George Bush.’ He was the punchline of all my jokes,” Castillo chuckled. Transforming his gibberish into well-timed wit with a dash of silly, Steven Castillo (BA ’12) is a writer for Saturday Night Live.
It has only been seven years since Jie Zeng (BA ’11) graduated from TU, but for the past four years, she has been the president of Yong Yuan Real Estate & Management based in Chongqing, China and the CEO of La Bharive, which is a health and wellness chain of spas throughout China.
When Amy Shelton (MA ’16) dismissed the class of TU education undergraduates, she walked across campus, and with each step, one thought was increasingly emboldened: Amy Shelton was meant to teach. Inspired by her students, Shelton is now on the frontlines of the fight for educational equity as a Tulsa Public Schools’ Board of Education member.