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Wicked Author, Record Industry Execs, U.N. Humanitarian Return to UAlbany as Inspirations to Campus Community
Alumni luncheon slated for 12:30 p.m. Oct. 24 in the Campus Center Ballroom

Contact(s):  Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150

U.N. World Food Programme CEO and UAlbany Aluma Catherine Bertini

UAlbany grad Catherine Bertini('71) received the 2003 World Food Prize for her work leading the U.N. World Food Programme.

ALBANY, N.Y. (October 14, 2008) -- A best-selling novelist, a pair of pioneering record executives and a global policy maker are all University at Albany alumni making their mark on the world and inspiring the next generation of successful UAlbany students. Gregory Maguire, '76, popular author of the hit Broadway musical Wicked; brothers Monte ('86) and Avery ('88) Lipman, known for discovering and reinventing top-selling recording artists like Colbie Caillat as president and co-president of Universal Republic Records; and Catherine Bertini, '71, who fed nearly 90 million people annually as CEO of the United Nation's World Food Programme, will return to their alma mater as honorees at UAlbany's third annual "Reaching Higher, Achieving More" luncheon.

"Our guests today symbolize the success of our more than 140,000 alumni and their contributions to the world," said Interim President George M. Philip. "They represent a broad array of fields ranging from the arts and entertainment to business and public policy and cutting-edge sciences such as nanotechnology."

Maguire is a creative literary mind, popular for his books for both children and adults. His 10th novel, the best-seller Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, spawned the Broadway musical smash hit Wicked. Maguire received a bachelor's degree in English and art. He works as a consultant in creative writing for children, which has taken him to speaking engagements across the globe.

Maguire recently released A Lion Among Men, which examines the tragically misunderstood life of the Cowardly Lion before and after his adventures with Dorothy and company. It is the third installment of Maguire's Wicked Years series based on the children's novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. Maguire will sign copies of his books following the "Reaching Higher, Achieving More" luncheon.

Universal Republic Records co-founders and UAlbany alums Monte and Avery Lipmann with pop superstar Colbie Caillat

Universal Republic Records co-founders and UAlbany alums Avery ('88) and Monte ('86) Lipman represent such luminaries as pop singer Colbie Caillat.

The Lipmans continue to foster new talent including Grammy-award winner Amy Winehouse, rock bands Hinder and Godsmack, top-selling artist Jack Johnson and country phenom Taylor Swift. In the mid '90s, the Lipmans decided to feed their passion for music by launching the record label, now known as Universal Republic Records, where they serve as president and co-president. Monte Lipman received a bachelor's degree in communication and rhetoric and Avery Lipman received bachelor's degrees in English.

Bertini has illustrated the importance of a global perspective by devoting more than a decade to changing the way we feed the world. Her successful efforts to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the World Food Programme serve as a model of United Nations reform. As a result, in 2003 she was awarded the World Food Prize. A leader in humanitarian relief and nutrition policy, Bertini is a senior fellow in agricultural development at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She received a bachelor's degree in political science.

"Reaching Higher, Achieving More" is an alumni campaign designed to showcase the remarkable career paths of UAlbany graduates. The alumni inducted into this campaign are points of pride for the entire UAlbany community and are known for their lasting impact around the country and globe. Past featured alumni have included Judge Richard Wesley, '71, 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals; Maureen Baginski, '79, senior intelligence advisor; and Brian Lehrer, '73, Newstalk radio host and commentator.

The luncheon will kickoff a weekend-long celebration at UAlbany, highlighted by UAlbany Day, which is designed to celebrate the richness of the University's academics, student success and campus life with the community. Alumni, students, faculty and staff will also gather for Reunion and Homecoming Weekend events.

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Educationally and culturally, the University at Albany-SUNY puts "The World Within Reach" for its 18,000 students. An internationally recognized research university with 56 undergraduate majors and 128 graduate degree programs, UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as public policy, nanotechnology and criminal justice. With a curriculum enhanced by 300 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers. For more information about this globally ranked University, visit For UAlbany's extensive roster of faculty experts, visit

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