NYUAA Award Honorees
Meet the NYUAA Award Honorees
Each year, the NYU Alumni Association recognizes outstanding graduates for their exceptional achievements and public service contributions that reflect the university’s spirit. NYU president Andrew Hamilton and NYUAA president Brian Levine (GSAS ’03, MED ’08) recently handed out this year’s awards to the alumni featured here.
Ian Axel and Chad King
Chad King and Ian Axel (both STEINHARDT ’07) of the music duo A Great Big World received a Distinguished Young Alumni Award. Since meeting as NYU students, they have been fusing epic pop sounds with intimate, heartfelt lyrics. The singer-songwriters had their first hit in 2011, with “This Is the New Year,” and later performed on Fox’s Glee. When Christina Aguilera heard their 2013 single “Say Something” and asked to lend vocals to the track, the band began a meteoric rise that continued with the release of their chart-topping debut Is There Anybody Out There? and a Grammy Award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. Recently, the band released two new singles and penned a song for the legendary Andrea Bocelli that was also featured in Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.
Emanuel Azenberg (ARTS ’55), who served in the US Army as a first lieutenant, received a Distinguished Alumnus Award. In his more-than-three-decade career as a producer, he has presented at least 65 productions on Broadway, including more than 20 of Neil Simon’s plays. Azenberg’s Broadway credits include Children of a Lesser God, Hamilton, La Bohème, Long Day’s Journey into Night, Macbeth, Movin’ Out, Ragtime, and The Cher Show. His stage productions have earned 149 Tony Award nominations and 43 Tony Awards. Additionally, Azenberg produced the films Broadway Bound, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, and Sunday in the Park with George. He is a member of the Theater Hall of Fame and is the 2012 recipient of the Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre.
Activist and social entrepreneur Erin Schrode (CAS ’13) received a Distinguished Young Alumna Award. A vocal advocate for public health, environmental action, and equal justice, she recently ran an unprecedented campaign for US Congress in California to help redefine civic engagement and reinvigorate a culture of public service. Since cofounding the nonprofit Turning Green in 2005, Schrode has developed eco-education and action platforms to inspire and mobilize millions of students. She also speaks and consults internationally, frequently being tapped as an expert in the New York Times, Vanity Fair, Forbes, and other media. Since Hurricane Maria, Schrode has led #ChefsForPuertoRico as COO of the largest feeding program in Puerto Rico, which served more than 3.7 million meals to those in need, and she now invests in local, sustainable agriculture and food systems island-wide.
Hakeem Jeffries (LAW ’97), who represents New York’s Eighth Congressional District in Brooklyn and Queens as a Democratic member of the US House of Representatives, received the Eugene J. Keogh Award for Distinguished Public Service. Serving his third term in the US Congress, Jeffries is a member of the House Judiciary Committee and House Budget Committee. In Congress, he has emerged as a tireless advocate for social and economic justice. Jeffries has worked hard to help residents affected by the devastation of Superstorm Sandy, to improve the economy for everyday Americans, and to protect healthcare. He also played key roles in the FIRST STEP Act for criminal justice reform, the Music Modernization Act for updated copyright law, and the Keep America’s Refuges Operational Act.
Neil Garg (CAS ’00), who serves as faculty-in-residence in the UCLA undergraduate community, received a Distinguished Alumnus Award. In 2018, he was appointed the inaugural holder of the Kenneth N. Trueblood Endowed Chair in Chemistry and Biochemistry. Garg’s laboratory develops synthetic strategies and methodologies that enable the synthesis of complex bioactive molecules. His recent honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Thieme–IUPAC Prize, the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Merck Award, and the Elias J. Corey Award from the American Chemical Society. He is also a Fellow of the American Chemical Society, the Royal Society of Chemistry, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.