University of Arizona alumnus Scott Pask, an award-winning scenic and costume designer, will serve as the keynote speaker for the UA's fall commencement ceremony.
The UA will confer degrees upon undergraduate, graduate and professional students during the Dec. 21 ceremony, which will be held at 9 a.m. at McKale Memorial Center.
Pask, who was born and raised in Yuma, Ariz., earned his architecture degree from the UA in 1990, later earning a Master of Fine Arts from the Yale School of Drama in 1997.
A three-time Tony Award winner for his work on "The Pillowman," "The Coast of Utopia" and "The Book of Mormon," Pask also earned the 1999 Lucille Lortel Award and Henry Hewes Award for his work on "The Mineola Twins" and the 2001 Bessie Award for "Verge."
His design credits include Broadways productions such as "Pippin," the revival of "Hair," "9 to 5," "I'll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers" and "Cry Baby." Benjamin Britten's "Peter Grimes" was his first project for the Metropolitan Opera. His international portfolio includes the "Cirque du Soliel: Amaluna" tour in Montreal. Bette Midler, Stockard Channing, Martha Plimpton, Nathan Lane and Hugh Jackman are among those who have performed in some of Pask's credited productions.
Also, Pask's works has been featured in various national and international publications and textbooks with his design work having been exhibited at the likes of The Prague Quadrennial, The Bruce Museum of Science and Art, The Leslie Lohman Gallery and The Met Gallery at the Metropolitan Opera. A permanent collection of his work is housed at the McNay Art Museum in Texas.
After winning his second Tony Award in 2007 for his scenic design for "The Coast of Utopia," Pask spoke about how his family and, later, the UA community, cultivated within him a love for architecture and the theater.
At that time, Pask noted that UA architecture professors Bob Nevins and Susan Moody, who have both since retired, were especially influential during his time at the UA. "Bob encouraged me to pursue the arts, and of course Susan is a great art historian," Pask said.
Earlier this year, Pask visited the UA to speak during a College of Architecture, Planning and Lanscape Architecture event. And in an interview last year with David Miller, content manager and writer for UA Student Affairs Marketing, Pask reflected on his trajectory from Yuma to Broadway.
"Studying at the UA was special. The College of Architecture was so esteemed, and intense, and those hours spent in the studio, collaborating with other students, or simply sharing the late night hours was fantastic preparation for the theater as well," Pask said.
"I have many favorite memories. Time spent on the Mall, biking, going to games, enjoying the setting of Tucson – the sky and horizon are still influential and serve to refuel when I am there – and spending a lot of time at the art galleries and museums, and loving being immersed in the intense architectural degree program," he recalled.
"I made great friends at the University, and have many new friends from alumni gatherings. The University of Arizona is a great and supportive family to be a part of, and I have always had immense pride in my education, of the school, and my experience there."