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Purchase College Alumni Played Key Roles In Opening Ceremonies At Olympics

Purchase-SUNY alum Rob Bissinger served as the art director for the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Purchase-SUNY alum Rob Bissinger served as the art director for the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Photo Credit:

PURCHASE, N.Y. -- Alumni from Purchase College worked on designing the highly acclaimed opening ceremony at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

Rob Bissinger, a 1991 graduate, served as art director and Anita La Scala, from the class of 2005, was the assistant art director for the ceremony, a nearly three-hour extravaganza celebrating the history of Russia. It was viewed by a crowd of 40,000 in the stadium and billions on television worldwide. Bissinger and La Scala were both graduates of the Purchase College's Conservatory of Theatre Arts renowned Theatre Design/Technology program. Other Purchase alumni worked on the Olympics scenic design team for the opening ceremonies, as well:

  • Jason Courson ’02 - Rendering and visualization, digital animation, 3D modeling, and drafting
  • Evan Adamson ‘03 - Design Assistant, 3D modeling, and draftsman
  • Dan Sobel ‘03 - Project director for the staging, automation, and mechanical systems

“This involvement clearly demonstrates that Purchase College prepares people to work at the very apex of their fields,” said Dan Hanessian, associate professor of technical direction and production management. “The Purchase College community is very proud of their achievements on this grand stage.” The Purchase alumni worked under artistic director/production designer George Tsypin at his studio in Queens, N.Y., before embarking to the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi, Russia. Design highlights of the opening ceremony included a glowing troika of horses and the iconic multicolored onion domes of St. Basil’s Cathedral. In addition to working on the opening ceremonies, many Purchase College alumni provided scenic design services for the NBC studios at the Olympics. Dan Hanessian ’90, a Purchase graduate as well as professor, served as technical designer.

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