The 9th Annual Tommy Awards

On June 17, alumni and friends honored alumni who have contributed to the cultural, philanthropic, and business communities of New York / Tri-State area while enjoying performances from a talented group of Trojans. Proceeds benefited the USC Alumni Club of New York’s scholarship fund, enabling the club to award scholarships to current students from the greater New York area.

Event photos found on the official USC Alumni Association Flickr.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­About the Alumni Club of New York

The USC Alumni Club of New York is the embodiment of Trojan Spirit—collegial, collaborative and community-oriented. The club provides opportunities for members of the Trojan Family to engage in a wide variety of rewarding activities from volunteer charity events, career networking, educational lectures, and faculty receptions to cultural outings, recreational sports, Trojan Football viewing and happy hours.

If you’re new to the city or a seasoned New Yorker, join us to meet new people, reconnect with fellow alumni or attend one of our many exciting events throughout the New York Metro region.

For more information about upcoming events, please click here.

2019 Honorees

Richard Bernstein 

BM, Performance Vocal Arts); 1989
The Metropolitan Opera

The 2019-20 season will mark bass (and USC graduate) Richard Bernstein’s 25th consecutive season with the Metropolitan Opera. Highlights of the upcoming year include singing in the Met premiere of Akhnaten by Philip Glass, and in William Kentridge’s new production of Wozzeck, both of which will be broadcast worldwide “Live in HD” — the 19th and 20th episodes of this prestigious series that he has participated in.

Following his successful 2018-19 season at the Met, which saw him make his role debut as Pistola in Falstaff, Bernstein heads to the Bravo!Vail festival where he sings Angelotti in Tosca with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Bernstein has performed leading roles around the country and abroad, and his repertoire boasts a number of contemporary American works, including two world premieres.

Additionally, Mr. Bernstein has collaborated with a host of major American symphony orchestras, from the New York Philharmonic to the Chicago Symphony and has been a guest at many prestigious festivals, including the Lincoln Center, Spoleto, Ravinia, and Tanglewood Music Festivals. Bernstein enjoys teaching private voice students in New York and New Jersey, and regularly judges regional and district auditions for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

David Penchoff

MPA 1979
Chief Credit Officer – Retired
Assured Guaranty Corp.

Dave Penchoff received his MPA in 1977 from the USC School of Public Administration with a concentration in Intergovernmental Management. While at USC, he participated in a number of internships that provided a foundation that would serve him well throughout his career. Dave’s undergraduate degree in Sociology was earned at the University of Connecticut.

His professional activities began in local government, working for the Town of West Hartford, CT as a program planning manager in the Department of Finance. Dave was then recruited to become an investment analyst in the municipal finance sector and enjoyed a 35 year career as an analyst and senior executive in the world of public finance. Dave worked at Aetna Life and Casualty, Standard &Poor’s Ratings Group, MBIA and Assured Guaranty during his career. Dave retired from Assured Guaranty after having served as President of Assured’s Bermuda based reinsurance company and as Chief Credit Officer for Public Finance.

In addition to his professional duties, Dave served as a Chairman for the Board of Managers for the West Hartford YMCA and is currently a member of the Municipal Analysts Group of New York and the National Federation of Municipal Analysts. Dave resides in New Fairfield, CT with his wife Debbie. They have two children, Sean and Caitlin.

Spirit of Troy Award Honoree

The Spirit of Troy award is bestowed on a USC Alumni Club of New York member whose leadership and dedication has helped to further the mission of the club and university.

Megan Kiddoo

BA, English: 2011
Production Editor, Macmillan Publishers
Megan Kiddoo is the current secretary of the USC Alumni Club of New York and a production editor at Macmillan Publishers. She has served on the USCNY board for six of the last seven years, volunteering at game watches, service events, happy hours, and more.

At USC, Megan was a member of the Trojan Marching Band, playing in the clarinet section. In those four years, she never missed a home football game, traveled to away games from Oregon to South Bend, marched in the Rose Parade, played at the NCAA Basketball Tournament, represented the United States at the World Expo in Shanghai, and performed on Dancing with the Stars, Glee, and The Tonight Show. The spirit and fellowship of the TMB meant so much to Megan at school, and when she moved to New York after graduation to work in publishing, she sought the same community here.

After arriving in New York in 2012, Megan was elected Game Watch Chair the next two years and attended nearly every game watch, selling T-shirts and raffle tickets to fund USCNY’s scholarships and acting as the club’s representative. Since then she has been elected Secretary several times (and, one memorable year, served in both positions). As she built her career in publishing, working on more than a hundred books at Macmillan, she also helped build and sustain the local alumni community.

Past Recipients

Tommy Award Winners

David Bach – Annenberg ’90 – Financial Author (The Automatic Millionaire, Debt Free for Life, Smart Women Finish Rich)Thomas Bahler – Thornton ’67 – Composer
Brandon Baylock – Viterbi ’79, MS ’83 – President & CEO, Airmall USA, Inc.; Partner, Faros Infrastructure Partners, LLC
John Blair – Dornsife ’77, Marshall MBA ’82 – Director, Credit Suisse (retired)
Steven Cantor – Cinematic Arts MFA ’95 – Filmmaker, CEO, Stick Figure Productions
Timothy Coleman – Marshall ’79 – Senior Managing Director, The Blackstone Group
Heather Cruz – Viterbi ’89 – Partner, Investment Management, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Affiliates
Tom Deierlein – Viterbi ’93 – Co-founder & CEO, ThunderCat Technology
Brennan Diaz – Marshall ’06 – Portfolio Manager, Juno Capital
Sadie Diaz – Marshall ’06 – Attorney, Center for Battered Women’s Legal Services
Jonie Fu – Architecture ’85 – Partner, Cooper, Robertson & Partners, Architects
Marilyn Horne – Thornton ’53 – Opera Singer
Stephen Ligouri – Marshall ’81 – Executive Director of Global Innovation and New Models, GE
Kevin McCollum – School of Cinematic Arts  MFA ’89 – Broadway Producer (Avenue Q, In the Heights, Rent)
David Penchoff – MPA ’79 – Chief Credit Officer (Retired) – Assured Guaranty Corp.
Peter Plagens
– Roski ’62 – Art Critic, Painter, Novelist
Quentin Schaffer – Annenberg ’76 – Executive Vice President, Corporate Communications, HBO
Callie Schweitzer – Annenberg ’11 – Director of Digital Innovation, TIME
Steve Smith – Price ’06 – New York Giants Wide Receiver
Sheryl Staples – Thornton ’89 – Violinist & Principal Associate Concertmaster, New York Philharmonic
Helaine Steden – Marshall ’86 – Managing Director, Merrill Lynch
Danny Strong – Dramatic Arts ’96 – Writer/Producer (The Butler, Empire, Game Change)
Paul Suchman – Marshall ’90 – Global Chief Marketing Officer for CBRE
Andy Tennant – Dramatic Arts ’77 – Writer/Director (Ever After, Hitch, Sweet Home Alabama)
Mark Thompson – Price ’79 – Executive Vice President, Capalino & Company
Donald Webber – Dramatic Arts ’08 – Hamilton, The Wiz Live!, Motown
Frank Wildhorn – Dornsife ’81 – Composer/Producer (The Civil War, Jekyll & Hyde, The Scarlet Pimpernel)
Jason Wong – Dornsife ’03 – Federal Prosecutor, US Attorney’s Office; Assistant Chief Counsel for the Department of Homeland Security

Spirit of Troy Award Winners

Amir Akhavan – Marshall ’02 – Managing Director, JEGI
Leigh Bass, Esq – Annenberg ’90 – Partner, Loeb Block & Partners LLP
Richard Bernstein – Thornton ’89 – The Metropolitan Opera
Adam Blumenthal – Dramatic Arts ’07 – Owner, Adam Blumenthal Theatrical Designs and Tannen’s Magic Shop
Julie Boardman – Thornton ’04 – Founder/CEO, Boardman Productions
Kate Cannova – Dramatic Arts ’03 – Associate Director, TBWA\WorldHealth
Dawn Frojen – Dornsife ’97 – Real Estate, Halstead Property
Abe Garver – Marshall ’90 – Managing Director, Focus Investment Banking
Sean Kearns – Annenberg ’97 – Real Estate, Cushman & Wakefield
Megan Kiddoo – Dornsife ’11 – Production Editor, Macmillan Publishers

Sponsorship Opportunities


If you were unable to attend the 9th Annual Tommy Awards and would like to make a gift to the USC Alumni Club of New York’s scholarship program, please click here.

All proceeds support the USC Alumni Club of New York’s sponsorship program. Tickets and sponsorships are tax deductible less $75 per person.

Meet Our Student Scholars

Through your support of the Tommy Awards and the USC Alumni Club of New York, we are able to recognize many outstanding students from the tristate area with scholarships each year. Every gift, no matter the amount, is greatly appreciated and helps leave a lasting impact on students whose dreams are to attend the University of Southern California.


2019-2020 Alumni Club of New York Scholars Coming Soon

Meet The Cast

Anika Chavez ’18

USC School of Dramatic Arts ’18. Annika has performed at Williamstown Theatre Festival, and The Pasadena Playhouse, and Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum. She has performed in several staged readings for new work, including “Golden” composed by Nathan Wang for the Adam Mickiewicz Institute of Warsaw. Beloved USC roles include Eva Peron (Evita), Kate (The Wild Party), and Desiree (A Little Night Music). 

Selene Klasner

Selene graduated summa cum laude from USC, where her favorite credits include Side Show (Daisy), Urinetown (Hope), Grease (Marty) and Company (Susan). She was also a tour guide, the president of Troy Tones a cappella, and a member of Troy Camp. Fight on!

Sophie Thomason

Sophie (BA Theatre ‘18) is an actor and artist born n’ raised in Los Angeles. Most recently, Sophie has performed in the companies of Theatricum Botanicum (LA) and the Greenhouse Ensemble (NYC). At USC, Sophie was an active board member of Musical Theatre Repertory, where she respectively choreographed, directed, and produced for six MTR productions and inaugurated MTR’s dance workshop series. She is currently co-writing and developing an ensemble comedy series.

Caitlin Kilgore

Some of Caitlin Kilgore’s favorite roles have been Beth March in Little Women, Nadine in The Wild Party, and Gabrielle York in When The Rain Stops Falling. After graduating from USC last spring, she spent the summer performing in repertory in The Crucible, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Coriolanus at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum. This summer, she is headed to Vermont to play Leonato in an all female production of Much Ado About Nothing.

Ashley Morton

Regional: The 39 Steps (Woman), Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (Belle). Film: Carol Support Group (Frameline Film Festival). Education: USC BFA. Ashley recently moved to New York from LA, and is thrilled to be a part of the USC community in a new city. This month, she begins working with The Bats resident company at The Flea Theater. She also acts in The Dinner Detective NYC, to get her fix of murder mystery.

Catherine Ricafort

Catherine is a triple-threat Broadway actor, and was last seen on Broadway as villainess “Karen The Computer” in SpongeBob Squarepants. Catherine also originated the featured role of “Mahi” in Jason Robert Brown’sHoneymoon in Vegas on Broadway. Other Broadway credits include Mamma Mia!, Cinderella, Allegiance, Disaster!, Holiday Inn, and Miss Saigon.  Catherine recently made her Off-Broadway debut in the world premiere of Duncan Sheik’s Alice By Heart at MCC Theater. As a lead vocalist, she has performed on NBC’s THE SING-OFF (featured soloist of “The Backbeats”, Season 2), can be heard on a cappella albums with The USC SoCal VoCals, and has performed for troops across the country with The USO Show Troupe.As a director and choreographer, her latest project is “Choose, the debut music video for Queens-based rapper Super Smack. Catherine graduated with a B.S. Industrial & Systems Engineering (Cum Laude) from The USC Viterbi School of Engineering. She continues to pursue her interests in engineering while still performing.

Claire Adams

Claire is a bi-coastal actor currently residing in NYC. She is a native Southern Californian, proud Trojan and is so thrilled to be a part of this evening. Los Angeles includes Violet (Ovation Nomination, Actors Co-op); Fun Home (SDCC Nomination, San Diego Rep); Mutt House (Kirk Douglas Theater); Incognito (Rubicon); She Loves MeThe Last Five YearsLucky Stiff (Actors Co-op); Funny Thing…Forum (Five Star Theatricals). TV/Film includes “Life on Mars”, Skinny Fat Girl and The Charmed Life of John Weld. Catch her in Into the Woods at the Hollywood Bowl this summer. Proud member of AEA.

Sarah Benjamin

Margaret Ivey

Regional: Miss Bennet, Christmas at Pemberley, Elizabeth Darcy, Milwaukee Rep/Kimberly Senior. The Niceties, Zoe, CATF/Kimberly Senior. Jane Eyre, Jane Eyre, Cincinnati Playhouse & Milwaukee Rep/KJ Sanchez. The Legend of Georgia McBride Jo (regional premiere) Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati/D. Lynn Meyers. TV/Film: The Blacklist, Co-star, CBS/Kurt Kuenne. Succession, Co-star, HBO/Mark Mylod. Different Flowers, Wedding Assistant, Independent/Morgan Dameron. Education: USC, BA,Theatre.