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2011 Alumni Guests

Boston College Arts Council

Author Chuck Hogan '89

Recipient of 2011 Arts Council Alumni Award


Watch a recording of Chuck Hogan's appearance at the Lowell Humanities Series

This year, the Arts Council has selected Chuck Hogan to receive the 2011 Arts Council Alumni Award for distinguished artistic achievement. Chuck Hogan is the New York Times bestselling author of several acclaimed novels, including Prince of Thieves, Devils in Exile, The Killing Moon, and The Standoff. His non-fiction has appeared in The New York Times, and his short fiction has twice been anthologized in The Best American Mystery Stories annual.

His novel Prince of Thieves was awarded the Hammett Prize from the International Association of Crime Writers for "literary excellence in the field of crime writing," and in 2010 was adapted into the film The Town, directed by and starring Ben Affleck, with Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm, Rebecca Hall, and Blake Lively.

Hogan is co-writing with Oscar-winning filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, the writer and director of Pan's Labyrinth, the international bestsellers The Strain and The Fall, published worldwide in twenty-nine languages. The third novel in their collaboration is titled The Night Eternal.

Hogan graduated from Boston College in 1989 with a degree in English Literature. He regularly returns to campus in order to speak with students about his experiences as a working writer. He has appeared at the Arts Career Night, was the first alumni guest at the Master Class series, and other events. He lives outside Boston with his family.


Betsi Graves Akerstein '04

Betsi Graves Akerstien '04 is originally from Orlando, Florida.  Her dance training includes studies in ballet, jazz, and modern dance at Studio 5d and Orlando Ballet. While pursuing a B.A. in English at Boston College, Graves performed with the Boston College Dance Ensemble, studied dance and arts marketing, and interned at Boston Ballet which led to a five year career in arts administration and teaching at Boston Ballet School.  In 2008, Graves founded Urbanity Dance, a Boston-based contemporary dance company. In three short years, Urbanity Dance performances have continued to sell out and the company has been a featured artist in dance festivals across the United States. Graves’s choreography has recently garnered grant support from Massachusetts Cultural Council, the City of Boston, and Boston Dance Alliance. Recent projects include The Story of Stuff (November 2010), for which Graves ventured to Guatemala to choreograph through an independent residency in June 2010.


Erin Dionne '97

Middle school can be remembered with both fondness and dread, and Erin Dionne '97 knows how to weave a narrative from that contradiction. Over the past two years, Dionne has written a pair of popular books—Models Don't Eat Chocolate Cookies and The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet—that feature young girls whose amusing struggles have resonated with a growing audience of devoted readers. Though her stories feature what Dionne calls "emotional truths" drawn from her middle school days, her aim is not merely to recount her own experiences. "It's all about creating interesting characters," she says, "and following them so readers can learn from them, grow with them, and ultimately take away what's relevant to their own lives." Her third novel, Elsie Wyatt Hates Loves Marching Band, will hit bookstores in fall 2011.

Photo by J. Justin Bates

Margaret Felice '02

Margaret Felice graduated from Boston College in 2002 (A&S) and is currently a student in the School of Theology and Ministry.  After earning a degree from The Boston Conservatory, she has performed regularly in opera, oratorio, and concerts throughout New England and beyond. Reviewing her summer 2009 appearance as Micaela in Carmen, The Boston Musical Intelligencer described her voice as “drop-dead beautiful.” In November, she won first prize in the Just Love to Sing! Opera Competition (formerly New Hampshire Opera Idol). She is past president of Boston Opera Collaborative, works as a religion teacher and director of liturgical music at Boston College High School, and is an assistant director of the Liturgical Arts Group at Boston College. Originally from South Windsor, CT, she now resides in Boston.


Amy McLaughlin Lemerande '97

Amy McLaughlin Lemerande '97 was the last of five siblings to attend Boston College where she majored in English and Theatre Arts. She also attended Trinity Rep Conservatory in Providence, Rhode Island, and received her M.F.A. in Theatre Arts in May 2002. Amy has taught theatre to children at the Massachusetts Hospital School and at Tufts Children's Creative Arts Camp in Medford. She toured with Shenandoah Shakespeare where she performed the title role in The Taming of the Shrew, Trinculo in The Tempest, and Virgilia in Coriolanus. She and her husband Ty Lemerande co-founded Knighthorse Theatre Company, a non-profit organization, where they work to tear down the “fourth wall” of theatre and make Shakespeare fun for their audience.