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Rob Ashford, a 1983 graduate of Point Park University's Conservatory of Performing Arts and honored Broadway choreographer, will give Point Park University's 50th undergraduate Commencement address on Saturday, May 1, at 1 p.m. at Mellon Arena in Downtown Pittsburgh. Ashford won a Tony Award for choreography for Thoroughly Modern Millie in 2002. He is currently directing and choreographing the Broadway revival of Promises, Promises, which opened in April. Ashford will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree. The University will award degrees to 775 undergraduate students and 230 graduate students.

Ashford's first opportunity to choreograph was Kiss of the Spider Woman in Buenos Aires. After that, he worked as associate choreographer for Pittsburgh-native Kathleen Marshall on the 1999 revival of KissMe, Kate. Ashford went on to choreograph Thoroughly ModernMillie, for which he won a 2002 Tony Award. He was also nominated for The WeddingSinger. Additional Broadway credits include Curtains and The Wedding Singer, both of which earned him Tony nominations for best choreography. Ashford has been nominated for six Laurence Olivier Awards and has received an Emmy Award, Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award.

Point Park will also present Shea Mihm Gopaul, a 1976 graduate of Point Park and director of administration for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), with an honorary doctor of humane letters degree as part of its master's degree Hooding and Commencement Ceremony at 9 a.m. in Mellon Arena. Gopaul will address the master's degree graduates during the ceremony.

A Pittsburgh native, Gopaul earned a dual degree cum laude in dance and history from Point Park. She oversees the OCHA administration for New York, Geneva and 30 country/field offices. She has served at the senior level in the UN International Labour Organization and World Health Organization (WHO) for nearly two decades and has worked in the areas of finance, strategic/program planning, resource mobilization, budgeting and human resources management.

Commencement details

  • Master's degree hooding and commencement ceremonies
  • Undergraduate commencement ceremonies