Peter J. Beshar, Executive VP andGeneral Counsel of Marsh & McLennan, and the Tow Foundation, will also be recognized for their contributions to the future of justice
New York, NY, March 29, 2016 – John Jay College of Criminal Justice will honor Lin-Manuel Miranda, Grammy Award-winning composer, lyricist, performer, and 2015 MacArthur Foundation Award recipient, as part of its Educating for Justice Gala on Monday, May 23. In addition, Peter J. Beshar, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Marsh & McLennan and member of the John Jay College Foundation’s Board of Trustees, will be honored for his service to the College, along with the Tow Foundation for its work on juvenile and criminal justice reform. The event will take place at 6:00 PM at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.
“Miranda’s passion for the arts as an instrument of social justice, Beshar’s advocacy on behalf of veterans and leadership on the challenges of cybercrime, and the Tow Foundation’s contributions to youth justice, journalism and education serve as an inspiration to us all,” said Jeremy Travis, President of John Jay College. “We are delighted to honor these fierce advocates for justice.”
This year’s extraordinary honorees have made notable impacts within their respective fields and on the cause of justice. The multitalented Miranda has redefined the narrative of the nation’s founding fathers with the stirring hip-hop musical, Hamilton. Along with its record-breaking ticket sales and cast recording, the show’s inclusive casting has made history with men and women of color playing historical characters who were all white. His first Broadway musical, In the Heights, received four 2008 Tony Awards, with Miranda winning a Tony Award for Best Score. Among his many accolades, Miranda is also a National Arts Club Medal of Honor recipient and, in 2015, was appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio to New York City’s Theater Subdistrict Council.
Beyond Broadway success, Miranda, a former English teacher, and the producers of Hamilton are helping to improve history education through a partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation. The initiative that will enable 20,000 underprivileged New York City high school students to see the show upon completion of a research project on a historical topic that students then transform into an artistic expression, such as a song or poem to be shared with the cast of Hamilton. Miranda and the Hamilton cast have also shared their enthusiasm for the arts and history directly with students on many visits to schools. One organization in particular has benefited from their generosity – Graham Windham, the social service agency and school that was founded by Hamilton’s widow, Eliza in 1806. A cast member has launched the Eliza Project which will pair cast members with students from Graham Windham, for classes on acting, dancing, rap, and other activities. In addition to fundraising on behalf of the organization, Miranda has also earmarked part of the $625,000 he won from the MacArthur Foundation to support the agency’s mission.
Beshar chairs the John Jay Foundation’s Veterans Affairs Committee, a role in which he has created partnerships and programs to benefit the growing veteran student population at the College. He led the effort to convene a roundtable of executives from corporate and nonprofit sectors to advance efforts in the education and employment of veterans. On the issue of cybersecurity, Beshar has championed efforts to protect the privacy of citizens while securing against cyber intrusions, calling for a balanced approach that will require partnership and the sharing of best practices between policymakers, businesses, and citizens. He has testified before both houses of Congress on cybersecurity and terrorism matters.
The Tow Foundation’s support of innovative programs and systemic reform in the areas of juvenile and criminal justice has benefited countless of underserved individuals. John Jay has also benefited through Tow’s generous funding of the College’s Tow Advocacy Research Fellowship Initiative and support of the Center on Media, Crime and Justice’s Juvenile Justice Symposium.
The event will also include a special tribute in honor of Rossana Rosado, a trustee of the John Jay College Foundation and a Distinguished Lecturer in Latin American/Latina/o Studies, who was recently appointed as New York’s next Secretary of State. Rosado was publisher and CEO of El Diario-La Prensa from 1999 to 2013. In addition to her involvement in women’s leadership and prisoner reentry efforts, Rosado has led the College’s Latino Initiative.
Proceeds from the gala support scholarships and programs that help John Jay students achieve their academic and career goals in order to serve the public interest as engaged citizens and fierce advocates for justice. Previous honorees include Mariska Hargitay, award-winning actor of NBC’s
“Law and Order SVU”; Jim McCann, founder and CEO of 1-800-Flowers; Arthur Mirante II, Principal and Tri-State President of Avison Young Real Estate; General David Petraeus; the Ford Foundation, and Maria Cuomo Cole.
Lin-Manuel Miranda is an award-winning composer, lyricist and performer, as well as a 2015 MacArthur Foundation Award recipient. His current musical, Hamilton — with book, music and lyrics by Mr. Miranda, in addition to him playing the title role — opened on Broadway in 2015 following a sold-out run at New York’s Public Theater. The Original Broadway Cast Recording of Hamilton won the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album. Off-Broadway, Hamilton received a record-breaking 10 Lortel Awards, as well as three Outer Critics Circle Awards, eight Drama Desk Awards, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best New Musical, and an Obie for Best New American Play.Hamilton is the 2015 recipient of the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History. Material from the show was previewed at the White House during its first-ever Evening of Poetry & Spoken Word in 2009, in Lincoln Center Theater’s 2012 American Songbook Series, and at New York Stage and Film’s 2013 Powerhouse Theatre Season at Vassar College.
Mr. Miranda’s first Broadway musical, In the Heights, received four 2008 Tony Awards (including Best Score, Best Orchestrations, Best Choreography and Best Musical), with Mr. Miranda being nominated for Best Leading Actor in a Musical. Off-Broadway, In the Heights received nine Drama Desk Nominations (including Best Music, Best Lyrics) and an award for Outstanding Ensemble Performance. In the Heights also won the Lucille Lortel Award and Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Musical. Additionally, Mr. Miranda received an Obie Award for Outstanding Music and Lyrics for the show. In the Heights also took home a 2009 Grammy Award for its Original Broadway Cast Album and was recognized as a finalist for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in Drama.
Mr. Miranda is the co-composer (with Tom Kitt), and co-lyricist (with Amanda Green) of Broadway’s Bring it On: The Musical (2013 Tony nomination, Best Musical; 2013 Drama Desk Nomination, Best Lyrics in a Musical). Additionally, contributed new songs to the revival of Stephen Schwartz’s Working and worked with Arthur Laurents and Stephen Sondheim on Spanish translations for the 2009 Broadway Revival of West Side Story. In 2014, Mr. Miranda received an Emmy Award with Tom Kitt for their song, “Bigger” from the 67th Annual Tony Awards telecast.
As an actor, Mr. Miranda received a 2007 Theater World Award for Outstanding Debut Performance, and the 2007 Clarence Derwent Award for Most Promising Male Performance courtesy of Actor’s Equity Foundation for In The Heights. Mr. Miranda also received the ASCAP Foundation’s Richard Rodgers New Horizons Award. He appeared as Charley Kringas in the 2012 City Center Encores! production of Merrily We Roll Along directed by James Lapine.
In May 2009, Mr. Miranda received the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, from Yeshiva University, the youngest recipient of such an honor in the university’s 123-year history. He is a National Arts Club Medal of Honor recipient. Mr. Miranda also serves as a Council Member of The Dramatists Guild, board member of Young Playwrights Inc. and was appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio to New York City’s Theater Subdistrict Council in 2015.
Mr. Miranda is a co-founder and member of Freestyle Love Supreme, a popular hip-hop improv group that performs regularly in New York City. The group’s eponymous television series premiered on Pivot TV in 2014. TV/film credits include The Electric Company, Sesame Street, The Sopranos, House, Modern Family, Do No Harm, Smash, How I Met Your Mother, The Sex and the City Movie, The Odd Life of Timothy Green and 200 Cartas. He received his B.A. from Wesleyan University in 2002.
Peter J. Beshar
Peter J. Beshar serves as the Executive Vice President and General Counsel of the Marsh & McLennan Companies. MMC, which has 55,000 employees worldwide and a market capitalization of $25 billion, operates through four leading brands: Marsh, Mercer, Guy Carpenter and Oliver Wyman. Mr. Beshar supervises the company’s Legal, Government Relations, Communications and Risk Management Departments. At Marsh & McLennan, Mr. Beshar has spearheaded an initiative to support military veterans as they transition to civilian life. In 2013, on Veterans Day in 2013, Marsh & McLennan announced its commitment to hire 500 U.S. veterans over the next three years. Mr. Beshar also serves as a Trustee, and chair of the Veterans’ Committee, of the John Jay College Foundation. Prior to joining Marsh & McLennan in 2004, Mr. Beshar was a litigation partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, where he served as co-chair of the firm’s Securities Litigation Group. Mr. Beshar joined Gibson Dunn in 1995 after serving as the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the New York State Attorney General’s Task Force on Illegal Firearms.
In 1992 and 1993, Mr. Beshar served as the Special Assistant to Ambassador Cyrus Vance in connection with the United Nations’ peace negotiations in the former Yugoslavia. Mr. Beshar is the recipient of the Business Leadership Award from the Citizens Union of New York, the Burton Award for Leadership in the Law, and the Law and Society Award from New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. In 2008, Mr. Beshar was selected as a David Rockefeller Fellow by the Partnership for the City of New York. Mr. Beshar is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Mr. Beshar graduated from Yale University and Harvard Law School. Following law school, Mr. Beshar clerked for Judge Vincent Broderick of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
The Tow Foundation
The Tow Foundation, established in 1988 by Leonard and Claire Tow, envisions a society where all people have the opportunity to enjoy a high quality of life and have a voice in their community. They strive for this by supporting nonprofit organizations that serve vulnerable populations and help individuals to become positive contributors to society for the benefit of themselves and others. They pursue their vision by funding projects that offer transformative experiences to individuals and creating collaborative ventures in fields where they see opportunities for breakthroughs, reform, and benefits for underserved populations. Investments focus on the support of innovative programs and system reform in the areas of juvenile and criminal justice, groundbreaking medical research, higher education and cultural institutions.
About John Jay College of Criminal Justice: An international leader in educating for justice, John Jay College of Criminal Justice of The City University of New York offers a rich liberal arts and professional studies curriculum to upwards of 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 135 nations. In teaching, scholarship and research, the College approaches justice as an applied art and science in service to society and as an ongoing conversation about fundamental human desires for fairness, equality and the rule of law. For more information, visit www.jjay.cuny.edu.