Arts & Culture

FAU Students Receive First Place in Prestigious American Songwriting Awards

Florida Atlantic University  students Sean Dough (Darch) and Chris Felix (Bazelais) recently won the 2014 American Songwriting Award in the Hip Hop category. Their song, titled "Change Your Mood," was featured on CompOWLation Volume 3, recently released by FAU's  Hoot/Wisdom Recordings L.L.C. Chris Felix, who wrote the music, is a current commercial music major and Sean Dough, who wrote the lyrics and performs on the track, is a political science major and commercial music minor. The song was produced, mixed and recorded in Studio A at Florida Atlantic University.  You can hear the song at the following link: and find a list of American Songwriting Awards recipients here

The American Songwriting Awards is an international, elite-class songwriting competition open to unknowns and working artists who want to be heard, recognized and rewarded for their songwriting talent. This high-profile annual contest brings together top music industry producers, artists and songwriters to discover and promote new talent in a format that focuses solely on their ability to write great songs.

"This is an outstanding accomplishment for these young artists," said Michael Zager, director of FAU's Commercial Music Program and Dorothy F. Schmidt Eminent Scholar in the Performing Arts. "It is a testament to their abilities and the high quality work being done at Hoot Wisdom Recordings."

Hoot/Wisdom Recordings is FAU's student-run/faculty supervised record label.  The program, which was established in 2003 by Michael Zager, a music producer, composer and arranger, offers comprehensive undergraduate and graduate programs to help students develop skills for a professional music career. Students are able to study the business of music as they develop their individual instrumental and/or vocal skills. This prepares students for recording careers, studio performance, arranging or producing, and live performances.

"FAU's commercial music program has provided me with an excellent education in the business of music," said Felix. "I've been taught by entertainment lawyers, attended lectures with composers and of course interacted with more than a hundred student musicians. I also followed  Michael Zager's book on producing to make this song with Sean. I'm really proud to be a part of this organization and I know my experience here will help me with my career down the road."

Other FAU students involved in recording "Change Your Mood" include  Ilana Armida (Simone), lead singer; John Frasca, guitar;  Reid Santiago and Quincy Knowles, engineering; and  Grace Kimmel, Leonia Coleman, Anthony Vincent and David Duque, additional vocals.

Hoot/Wisdom Recordings has released three CompOWLation albums to date. Find out more about FAU's Commercial Music Program in the Department of Music in FAU's Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters at

July 17, 2014

FAU Receives Gift to Establish Georgina Dieter Dennis Vocal Scholarship Fund

Florida Atlantic University's department of music in the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters recently received a donation of $75,000 to continue funding of the Georgina Dieter Dennis Vocal Scholarship Fund. This is the third year that the College has received this scholarship funding, with all money being awarded to students who have graduated from a Florida high school and who are enrolled in vocal studies courses in FAU's department of music.   This year, the scholarships will be given to six new freshman and 20 continuing vocal majors.

"We are so thankful for this funding," said Rebecca Lautar, chair of FAU's department of music. "To date, the scholarship fund has helped so many students pursue a vocal major. We look forward to helping many more."

Georgina Dieter Dennis, who passed away in 2006, had a storied music career, starting at the age of 12 when she won the New York Music Week Association Junior Bronze Medal. She was awarded a scholarship to the Institute of Musical Arts of the Juilliard Foundation and later sang with the National Opera Association. She made her debut at New York's Town Hall in 1937 and then went on to Canada to sing with the Civic Music Light Opera Company and back to the States to New York's Erlanger Theater and the Majestic.  Dennis sang in every state in the Union during World War II and presented programs with James Victor's Band for the USO.

Dennis knew she was fortunate to have training and opportunities from an early age. She wanted to provide opportunities for others and so established the Georgina Dieter Dennis Foundation prior to her passing.

For more information about FAU's music program, call the music department at 561-297-3810.


July 7, 2014

FAU's Ergood and Rebar Recognized as Florida 'Ask a Librarian SuperStars'

The Florida Ask a Librarian team has selected Alyse Ergood, an associate university librarian at Florida Atlantic University Libraries, and Lauri Rebar, an assistant university librarian for reference and instruction at FAU Libraries, as "Ask a Librarian SuperStar" recipients for the month of May. Ergood and Rebar were recognized for their exceptional participation in the statewide program.

 "Alyse and Lauri are knowledgeable, enthusiastic and represent FAU in a truly positive light. They have assisted patrons across the state and we are all appreciative of their help," said Jessica Riggins, a member services coordinator with the Florida Ask a Librarian team. "The two are a wonderful team and a dynamic duo for the program."

Ergood and Rebar staff FAU Libraries' reference desk on an ongoing weekly basis, they frequently volunteer for the Ask a Librarian statewide academic and collaborative desks. They respond during emergency calls for help. Rebar is an October 2012 and October 2013 winner of a detailed and teaching exemplary reference award. In her role as Ask a Librarian mentor, Ergood has provided extensive, one-on-one guidance to several Florida librarians.

The Ask a Librarian program is funded in part under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act and is administered by the Florida Department of State's Division of Library and Information Services. Connect with a Florida Ask a Librarian at  and anFAU Ask a Librarian at


June 11, 2014

FAU's Diplomacy Program Earns Two Top Awards at the 2014 National Model U.N. in New York City

The Florida Atlantic University Diplomacy Program recently received the Distinguished Delegation Award and the Outstanding Delegation Award for its participation in the 2014 National Model United Nations competition in New York City.

Forty FAU undergraduates represented the university in what is the largest, most prestigious collegiate simulation of the United Nations in the world. This marks the eighth consecutive year that FAU has received a national award in this competition. FAU was the only school in the state of Florida to receive either a Distinguished Delegation or Outstanding Delegation Award.

The six-day simulation included more than 6,000 university students from around the world.  The FAU delegation that received the Distinguished Delegation Award was representing Costa Rica and the delegation that received the Outstanding Delegation Award represented Finland.

FAU's Diplomacy Program was established in 1996 in order to train students in the art of negotiation, conflict resolution and global problem solving. Annually, the Program prepares students for diplomatic competitions in numerous venues. In addition to more than 30 hours of competition, FAU students visited the United Nations, attended a career fair hosted by international organizations, and attended presentations by U.N. officials and diplomats.

The Diplomacy Program is housed in the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts & Letters and is made possible by the generous support of the South Florida community. For more information about the Diplomacy Program, visit

April 28, 2014

 Last Modified 5/28/14