“Lisa is a natural choice and I'm thrilled she has agreed to be the speaker,” noted Vassar College president Catharine Hill. “She brings the excitement of an Emmy Award-winning actor along with her other work in the entertainment industry, in addition to her dedication and commitment to Vassar through serving on the Board of Trustees and otherwise supporting the college.” President Hill concluded, “Lisa's got a great sense of humor and believes in Vassar and its mission. She'll do a wonderful job.”
Kudrow graduated from Vassar with a biology degree and has maintained a variety of ties to the college in addition to serving on its Board. She recently provided narration for a new work premiered during a Vassar College Orchestra concert last fall. Kudrow also may be seen in a cameo appearance in Vassar's recent online webisode Fourth Floor Main, a comedy series about college dorm life featuring Vassar students.
About the Commencement SpeakerBorn in Encino, CA, on July 30, 1963, Kudrow earned a biology degree from Vassar College before beginning her acting career. After college, she joined the Los Angeles improvisational group the Groundlings at the urging of actor and family friend Jon Lovitz. Her first major television role was in 1993 when she was cast as Ursula on the series Mad About You. Her now famous role as Phoebe on Friends followed the next year.
While on the hit series Friends she was nominated for an Emmy Award six times and was awarded one for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 1998. In addition, she received a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series, an American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Female Performer in a Television Series, and a Golden Globe Award nomination for her work on the series.
With writer and producer Dan Bucatinsky ’87, a fellow Vassar alumnus, Kudrow formed the production company Is or Isn't Entertainment in 2003. The company's first television series, the critically acclaimed HBO series The Comeback, garnered three Emmy Award nominations, including one for Kudrow for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. Currently, the company is producing a new documentary series to premiere this spring for NBC called Who Do You Think You Are, which traces the genealogy of a well-known person in each episode. Is or Isn't Entertainment also produces the web series Web Therapy, starring Kudrow, about a therapist who does sessions with her clients via the Internet. Last year, Kudrow received a Webby Award for Outstanding Comedic Performance for this series.
Kudrow's recent films include Paper Man, opposite Jeff Daniels; Love and Other Impossible Pursuits, with Natalie Portman and directed by Don Roos; and Easy A, with Stanley Tucci, Patricia Clarkson, and Thomas Hayden Church. For her previous feature film roles, she has received the Best Supporting Actress Award from the New York Film Critics, an Independent Spirit Award nomination, and a Chicago Film Critics Award nomination. Kudrow also won a Blockbuster Award and received a nomination for an American Comedy Award for her starring role opposite Billy Crystal and Robert DeNiro in the hit Analyze This (1999). Her additional film credits include starring roles in Bandslam (2009), Powder Blue (2009), Hotel for Dogs (2008), P.S. I Love You (2007), Kabluey (2007), Happy Endings (2005), Wonderland (2004), Analyze That (2002), Hanging Up (2000), Lucky Numbers (2000), Romy & Michele's High School Reunion (1997), Clockwatchers (1997), and Mother (1996).
For additional information about the 146th Vassar College commencement exercises, which will begin at 10:00am on Sunday, May 23, at the college’s outdoor amphitheater, see http://commencement.vassar.edu/.
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Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential, liberal arts college founded in 1861.