Alumni with backgrounds in film, law and business came together for the third annual
Alumni Entertainment Industry Mixer
April 29 at Tiato restaurant in
Lionsgate Entertainment
headquarters in Santa Monica. Equipped with business cards and open minds, graduates from
Dodge College of Film and Media Arts
Dale E. Fowler School of Law
, and
George L. Argyros School of Business and Economics
exchanged not only opportunities and Chapman memories, but support, enthusiasm and hope — key components for success in the competitive entertainment industry.


Akin Ceylan ’90, COO of Lionsgate’s Home Entertainment Group, speaks to a group of alumni, students, faculty and staff from the film, law and business disciplines at Chapman University.

“Alumni connection and events like this give the confidence to look ahead and make a difference,” said
Akin Ceylan
’90, COO of Lionsgate’s Home Entertainment Group, who teamed up with the
Office of Alumni Engagement
, Dodge College, The Argyros School and Fowler Law School to co-host the event in the true spirit of
Think Chapman First
. “Bringing people together with similar values, who are positive and driven, brings a new perspective and builds character.”

With over 150 people in attendance, alumni and students also enjoyed making meaningful connection with faculty and staff, such as
Barbara Doyle
Travis Knox
Sorrel Geddes
of Dodge College;
Cary Bowdich
Kathy Heller
Mary Lee Ryan
Melissa Berry
Ian Jones
of Dale E. Fowler School of Law; and
Gene Rhee
Dustin Smetona
of The Argyros School.

“Barbara Doyle is the chairman from heaven. She tells it how it is, never sugar-coats and is someone to confide in,” said Dan Pastewka (MFA ’13), who was thrilled to reconnect with Dodge College’s preeminent chair of the film division. “If alumni are showing up at this event, it means they’re doing something right, and that’s the type of person I want to connect with.”

Indeed, graduates at the mixer proved to uphold Chapman’s tradition of excellence with impressive accomplishments. For instance, Max Landwirth ’14, is the founder and executive producer for
Landwirth Legacy Productions
, which makes socially conscious films with powerful messages of mindfulness, compassion and equanimity.

“I found it extremely helpful to mix with other Chapman alumni from film, business and law backgrounds. I am currently in need of meeting such people from those trades,” Landwirth said. “In order to make film work, one needs a well-rounded group of people from the creative, business and legal sides of the industry. The mixer provided just that!”

The evening also provided the unique opportunity for established alumni to give recent graduates tips and feedback. Author
Jeff Garvin
’98, held a “spontaneous résumé workshop” with several young alumni, including
Gregory Stanley
(MFA ’12). Garvin looked over their résumés, offering feedback on strengths and weaknesses according to the real demands of the industry.

Stanley left the event with much more than a stronger résumé; he acquired a plan to “put things into motion.”


Laura Miller ’14, Adam Winton ’18, Susan Winton (M.S. ’86, HRMD ’93), Akin Ceylan ’90, Melissa Grace Hoon (MFA ’17)

“The first person I talked to (at the mixer) had an opportunity for me and it’s up to me to capitalize on it. Opportunity gives hope and hope stirs motivation,” Stanley said, who admitted he used to think life after graduation happens with order and according to plan. Upon entering the reality of the industry, however, Stanley said his theory has been debunked and he is now committed to meeting new people with similar, high aspirations to help in accomplishing his goals.

Many alumni at the mixer expressed gratitude for connecting and reconnecting with like-minded Chapman Family members. Madison Price ’14 noted that it was not only helpful, but fun and inspiring to share common passions and Panther pride.

Alumni and student feedback unanimously voiced that the event’s interdisciplinary approach proved a meaningful, immeasurable success. The triumphant approach suggests an example for Panther schools and colleges to follow.

“I really feel the industry-specific mixer showcased a successful model in how various aspects of the University come together and how others can emulate it,” said
Brady Hogan
’92 (MBA ’14), director of alumni engagement, who helped coordinate the event with
Laura Miller
’14, development assistant of alumni engagement.

Alumni stressed the importance of support and connection with those who share compatible industry pursuits and ambitions.

“It’s a wonderful feeling to know that you’re coming home when you join forces with Chapman alumni,” said Akin Ceylan. “There might be times in this industry when you feel dejected on your own, but being in this supportive environment is inspiring and gives extraordinary hope.”