Columbia College Chicago Theatre Alumni Celebrate at Los Angeles’ Celebration Theatre

Michael Shepperd and Michael Matthews welcome attendees at the Columbia Theatre Alumni Social on Feb. 20, 2019, at the Celebration Theatre in Los Angeles.

Columbia College Chicago’s Development and Alumni Relations office organized a Columbia Theatre Alumni Social for Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department alumni and former students at the renowned Celebration Theatre in Los Angeles on Wednesday, February 20, 2019. The alums had an opportunity to reminisce, network, and interact with current students in Columbia College’s Theatre and Cinema and Television Arts departments.

Michael Shepperd and Michael Matthews

The event was co-hosted by Celebration’s artistic director, former Columbia College Theatre student Michael A. Shepperd, and Columbia College alum Michael Matthews ’99, whose staging of the Los Angeles premiere of the play Born to Win runs through March 31 at Celebration Theatre.

Michael Matthews (right) recalls the enduring influence of the late longtime chair of the Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department, Sheldon Patinkin, as he holds a photo of Patinkin in his office at Columbia while Michael Shepperd looks on.

In his remarks welcoming alumni to the event, Michael Matthews — a graduate of the Theatre Department’s BA Program in Acting and recipient of the 2016 Milton Katselas Award for career achievement in directing from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle — paid tribute to his mentor, the Columbia College Theatre Department’s late longtime chair, Sheldon Patinkin. “Sheldon Patinkin​ is the reason I’m here, the reason I’ve accomplished anything,” said Matthews as he brandished a photo of Patinkin in the book-filled office he occupied at Columbia for 29 years as Theatre chair.

Haleigh McKechnie and Karsten Cox

Also speaking were current Columbia College students Haleigh McKechnie and Karsten Cox. McKechnie is a senior in the Theatre Department’s Acting BA program, and Cox is a senior in the Columbia College Chicago Cinema and Television Arts Department‘s BA Program in Television with a Concentration in Writing and Producing and a Minor in Acting.

Michael Shepperd and Amy Rowell

Vito D’Ambrosio and James Schneider

Jessica Weiner, Jacquis Neal, Tiernan Bertrand-Essington

Cecilia Adams and Lizzie D. Elia

Colleen Hart and Jessica Weiner

Michael Shepperd, Michael Matthews, T.J. O’Brien

Michael Matthews and Sarah Schroeder

Columbia College alum Sarah Schroeder ’00, director of Columbia College’s Los Angeles alumni relations office, has posted an album of photos from the event on her office’s Facebook page. The photos were shot by Columbia College alum Alex Kinnan ’95. To see the photos, click here.