NEWS RELEASE: Pace to Bestow Honorary Degree on Film and Education Visionary Stephen Apkon, Founder/Executive Director of the Jacob Burns Film Center

As Founder and Executive Director of the Jacob Burns Film Center, Stephen Apkon has combined a lifelong passion for film with his desire to revitalize Pleasantville, NY. Apkon will address members of Pace University’s Undergraduate Class of 2012, Pleasantville Campus, their families and friends when Pace holds Commencement on Friday, May 11 at 11:00 am at the Goldstein Fitness Center.

Pace University to Bestow Honorary Degree on  Film and Education Visionary Stephen Apkon,  Founder/Executive Director of the Jacob Burns Film Center

Pace University’s 2012 Westchester Undergraduate Commencement will be held on Friday, May 11

NEW YORK, NY, April 26, 2012 – As Founder and Executive Director of the Jacob Burns Film Center, Stephen Apkon has combined a lifelong passion for film with his desire to revitalize Pleasantville, NY. Apkon will address members of Pace University’s Undergraduate Class of 2012, Pleasantville Campus, their families and friends when Pace holds  Commencement on Friday, May 11 at 11:00 am at the Goldstein Fitness Center.

Named one of Westchester’s most influential residents by Westchester Magazine in 2008, Apkon is best known locally for leading the transformation of The Rome Theater, which was built in 1925 during the golden age of cinema and shuttered in 1987 due to competition from neighboring multiplexes.  Together with a group of like-minded individuals, he formed the Friends of the Rome Theater, a nonprofit organization that purchased the 11,000-square foot landmark movie house for $1 million in 1998 and ambitiously set out to resurrect it and expand it by 6,000 square feet. The Rome Theater was renamed the Jacob Burns Film Center (JBFC), in honor of Jacob Burns, a local lawyer who died in 1993 and whose family foundation gave $1.5 million to the venture. The Media Arts Lab, 27,000 square foot 21st century education facility opened under Apkon’s leadership in 2009.

Pace President Stephen J. Friedman said:  “Steve Apkon is a former Wall Street merchant banker who left the world of finance to follow his passion for film and education and brought leadership, vision and direction to a burgeoning arts organization. In the past ten years, over one million people have seen more than 4,000 films at the JBFC, whose mission is to bring a diversity of film and educational programs to Westchester County and its surrounding communities.  The JBFC is recognized nationally as a model for effective arts and education programming and management. Steve’s story is a powerful example to our graduates that one can achieve great things by following one’s passions.”

Apkon is committed not only to presenting a wide array of films but also to hosting a range of related experiences, including art exhibitions, book signings, live performances, and a wealth of after-screening interviews and discussions with filmmakers, scholars, critics, and authors. In addition to its extensive film programming offerings, JBFC designed and has been a national leader in the development of film and visual literacy education programs for teachers and students of all ages through curriculum-based programs, after-school enrichment, curriculum-enhancing film programming, and film production experiences.

Members of JBFC’s Board of Directors include Academy Award-winning Directors Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard and Jonathan Demme. Janet Maslin, the former New York Times Film Critic, serves as Board President.

From 1992 to 1999, Apkon was a General Partner in Crossroads Partners, LLC, a private merchant banking partnership based in Westchester. Before then, from 1988 to 1992, he was a Principal at Odyssey Partners, LP, a private Manhattan-based investment partnership primarily involved in management buyouts in diverse industries. From 1986 to 1988, he was an Associate in the Merger and Acquisitions Department of Goldman Sachs & Co. in Manhattan.

Apkon graduated from Georgetown University in 1983 and in 1986 received an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, where he graduated with distinction. He serves on the Board of Directors of Advancing Human Rights, the World Cinema Foundation and Evermore Funds, LLC. Apkon is also President of Big 20 Productions, and has several films in production, including The Patron, which he is co-directing and producing with Ido Haar, and Recruitment Day, a look into the ways nations recruit their military, which he is producing. He is the author of the upcoming book The Age of the Image: A Call to Redefine Literacy in a Visually Driven World to be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2012.

About Pace University For over 100 years, Pace has produced thinking professionals by providing high quality education for the professions on a firm base of liberal learning amid the advantages of the New York metropolitan area. A private university, Pace has campuses in New York City and Westchester County, New York, enrolling nearly 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in its Lubin School of Business, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, College of Health Professions, School of Education, School of Law, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. www.pace.edu

Media Contact: Cara Cea, 914-906-9680, ccea@pace.edu

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