CHESTERTOWN, MD—Renowned film producer Jane Rosenthal, co-founder of Tribeca Productions and the Tribeca Film Festival, will address the graduates at Washington College’s 229th Commencement on Sunday, May 20. She also will receive an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree during the ceremony, which begins at 10:30 a.m. on the campus lawn.

The College will bestow honorary degrees on two other special guests that morning: international banker Raghavan Seetharaman, and James C. Rees IV, President and Chief Executive Officer of George Washington’s Mount Vernon. In addition, CNN journalist and reality-show host Harris Whitbeck ’87 will receive the Alumni Citation for excellence in journalism and television broadcasting.

A graduate of Brown and New York Universities, Rosenthal was working as a vice president of production at Disney’s film group in 1988 when actor Robert DeNiro lured her back to the East Coast to help him create and run Tribeca Productions.

In partnership with Rosenthal’s husband, real estate investor and philanthropist Craig Hatkoff, the company has steadily expanded its influence in the film industry through the creation of Tribeca Enterprises, for which Rosenthal serves as CEO, the non-profit Tribeca Film Institute, and the wildly successful Tribeca Film Festivals.

Rosenthal, DeNiro and Hatkoff co-organized the first Tribeca Film Festival in the wake of the September 11 attacks as a way to help revive the economic and cultural conditions of lower Manhattan. Since that first festival in 2002, the event has become one of the largest film celebrations in the world.
Rosenthal’s comedies include “Meet the Fockers” and “Analyze This,” both starring DeNiro. Her production “Meet the Parents,” also starring DeNiro, is one of the highest-grossing comedic franchises in history.

Also being honored by the College is influential banker Raghavan Seetharaman, Group CEO of Qatar-based Doha Bank. Seetharaman will be receiving an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

A native of India, Seetharaman applied a strong work ethic and a welcoming attitude toward globalization and new technologies to transform Doha Bank into the fastest growing bank in the Middle East. London-based EMEA Finance magazine, which covers the financial industry in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, has twice named Seetharaman CEO of the Year. He has shared his expertise as a guest of major news outlets that include the BBC, CNBC, Bloomberg and Al Jazeera.

Honoree James Rees has served George Washington’s Mount Vernon, America’s most visited historic home, for nearly 30 years, the past 18 as president and chief executive officer. Under his leadership, more than a quarter-billion dollars have been raised for projects designed to renew national attention and emphasis on George Washington. Rees also has been an active partner with WC in strengthening students’ connections to George Washington as the school’s founding patron. Rees will receive an honorary Doctor of Letters.
Alumni Citation recipient Harris Whitbeck ’87 is a multi-faceted journalist and television producer who has earned high accolades for his coverage of war, disaster, the environment and issues of social justice. Whitbeck has made major contributions to coverage of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the September 11 attacks, the 2004 Haitian coup d’etat, and various political, economic and social developments throughout Latin America. He has been recognized with a number of journalism awards, including a 1999 National Headliner Award for his coverage of the Ciudad Juarez killings, and a DuPont-Columbia Silver Baton Award for his coverage of the Tsunami disaster in Sri Lanka.

The Elm

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