CMU Elects 5 New Trustees, Including Entertainer Tamara Tunie

Award-winning actor, director and producer Tamara R. Tunie was unanimously elected to Carnegie Mellon University’s Board of Trustees at their most recent meeting on May 15. The 1981 alumna of Carnegie Mellon’s College of Fine Arts (CFA) is best known for her starring role as Dr. Melinda Warner in “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” and her longstanding character, Jessica Griffin, on the daytime drama “As the World Turns.”

Carnegie Mellon looks to the Board of Trustees for guidance and support as the university pursues its mission of education, research and transfer of knowledge to society.

“Tamara’s tremendous creativity and leadership skills will provide a wonderful addition to our board as CMU navigates this unprecedented era in higher education,” said Farnam Jahanian, president of Carnegie Mellon. “She has been a great friend and partner of the university since her days as a fine arts student, and I am excited to welcome her as a trustee.”

Tunie is known for her recurring roles in “NYPD Blue” and the first season of Fox’s “24.” She has also guest-starred in many other television series, including “Sex and the City,” “The Good Wife” and “Better Call Saul,” among others. On the movie screen, Tunie most notably played the key supporting role of Margaret Thomason in “Flight.”

Her Broadway acting credits include “Dreamgirls” and “Julius Caesar.” In 2007, Tunie won a Tony award as part of the production team of “Spring Awakening.” She often appears in regional theater, and is also an accomplished vocal artist. Tunie most recently sang Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile” during CMU’s Virtual Conferral of Degrees ceremony on May 19.

In addition to working with non-profits in Pittsburgh and New York, Tunie has been a part of several CMU alumni fundraising efforts for the Robert and Glynn Page Endowed Scholarship Fund, which honors the late director of the university’s opera and choral studies and provides financial support for CFA vocal performance and music theatre undergraduates.

“As someone who grew up in the Pittsburgh area, I have always recognized Carnegie Mellon’s value to our community and its impact on students around the world,” said Tunie, a native of Homestead, Pennsylvania. “I look forward to working with my fellow trustees in helping to guide the university as we face the uncertainties and challenges posed by a changing world.”

Also during this month’s meeting, the board announced the addition of four ex-officio trustees.

Theresa Kail-Smith is president of the Pittsburgh City Council and represents District 2 neighborhoods. Councilwoman Kail-Smith is the chairperson for the Committee on Public Works and is serving as Council President Pro Tempore. She is a Pittsburgh native and has worked at a host of nonprofit organizations such as Pittsburgh Public Schools and The Neighborhood Learning Alliance.

John Lehoczky is the chair of Carnegie Mellon’s Faculty Senate and the Thomas Lord University Professor of Statistics & Data Science in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. He has been a CMU faculty member for nearly 50 years. Lehoczky’s main teaching and research interests involve the theory and application of stochastic processes to model the behavior of systems ranging from real-time systems like autonomous vehicles to financial markets. He was one of the founders of the CMU MS Program in Computational Finance.

John Pranzatelli is the incoming president of the Andrew Carnegie Society and earned his bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in public management from Carnegie Mellon in 1980. Pranzatelli is the president and CEO of MBDA Incorporated, the U.S. arm of MBDA Group, a worldwide leader in missile systems development. He has been a loyal supporter to CMU during the past 20 years, most recently with gifts to the ACS Challenge Fund and the Heinz Master’s of Science Program in Washington, DC.

Chris Stengel is the president-elect of the Carnegie Mellon Alumni Association Board and has served on the panel since 2013. Stengel earned a bachelor of science degree in applied mathematics and computer science from CMU in 1993 and an MSIA with concentrations in information technology, e-commerce, entrepreneurship and finance from the Tepper School of Business in 2000. He has served as the director of technology for the Mt. Lebanon School District since 2005.

“Tamara, Teresa, John, John and Chris will provide valuable insight in their new board roles,” said James E. Rohr, chair of CMU’s board of trustees. “We are grateful for their dedication, and I look forward to working with them as Carnegie Mellon continues to move forward in its role to help define the challenges and solutions of the 21st century.”

Board of Trustees members offer expertise for the university in financial and regulatory matters, are leaders in their respective fields and reflect diversity in all its dimensions, including gender, race, nationality and breadth of experience. They also are tasked with recruiting, supporting and evaluating the president. Ex-officio trustees are appointed as voting members of the board of trustees by virtue of their office in accordance with board bi-laws.

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