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Outstanding Alumni

In Spring 2016, we created the College of Fine Arts and Communication Outstanding Alumni Award. Each academic unit is limited to one recipient per year, with the College Council serving as the arbiter of whether an individual has met the standard of excellence. The main criteria is significant achievement within the individual’s chosen profession. 



Edi Paterson

Outstanding Alumna


Edi has built a successful career in improvisational theatre, television, film, and voice work. Her film credits include work with Eddie Murphy in A Thousand Words, Joan Cusack in Mars Needs Moms, and Tim Bagley in Jesus People. Her television work includes: The League, Black-ish, Curb Your Enthusiasm, 2 Broke Girls, The New Normal, Weeds, and Californication, and she was a series regular on the FX sitcom Partners with Kelsey Grammer and Martin Lawrence. In addition, Edi is well known to English-speaking anime fans. She’s the voice of Jun Kazama in Tekken, Nina Shutenberg in City Hunter Special, Yuka Takeuchi in Variable Geo, and Pirotesse/Sheru in Legend of Crystania. Edi also played the voice of Rebecca Turnman in We Bare Bears, a Cartoon Network original series. Edi is a member of the Groundlings’, a prominent training ground for comedians in Hollywood that boasts alumni like Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig, Lisa Kudrow, Phil Hartman and Paul Reubens.  She’s also a member of the critically acclaimed Impro Theatre. Their full-length and fully improvised productions “in the style of the world’s greatest writers” – Jane Austen UnScripted, Chekhov UnScripted, Dickens UnScripted, to name just a few – have played the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Falcon Theatre, The Pasadena Playhouse, and Texas State University. Edi, a guest writer for Saturday Night Live, is half of the improv duo Mitch and Edi Making Love.



Shawn Turner

Outstanding Alumnus


Shawn Turner is a Managing Director with Mercury Public Strategies in Washington DC. Prior to joining Mercury in July of 2015, Shawn served as the Deputy White House Press Secretary where he was a senior spokesperson who focused on a wide range of U.S. intelligence and national security issues including Intelligence reform and the United States’ strategy against the Islamic State of Iraq and ISIL. He is a former senior executive in the United States Intelligence Community with a background in crisis and strategic communication and expertise in U.S. foreign policy related to the Middle East and North Africa. Shawn has held senior positions in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence where he served as the Director of Public Affairs. In this position, Shawn was responsible for managing and coordinating all external communication on behalf of the 16 agencies and components that make up the Intelligence Community. Shawn is a retired Marine Corps Officer of 21 years and a former member of the Senior National Intelligence Service. He hails from Cincinnati, Ohio and holds a M.A. degree in communication from George Mason University, and a B.A. degree in communication studies from Texas State University. In 2013, Shawn was named one of Washington DC’s top decision makers by the National Journal. He has received a number of awards including the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the  Navy Commendation Medal, and the Iraq Campaign Medal.