Professor Emerita Marsha Della Giustina, founder of Emerson’s Broadcast Journalism program and a trailblazer for women in the profession, died on June 12. She was 76.
She is remembered by generations of alumni and colleagues as a huge and influential presence in the classroom and the newsroom, many of whom attended a Celebration of Life for her at the Cutler Majestic Theatre on October 12.
Della Giustina joined Emerson in 1977 from the newsroom at Boston’s WCVB-TV to build an undergraduate program in Broadcast Journalism, a mission she expanded on 20 years later when she helped create the College’s first master’s program in Journalism. She was the founder and long-time advisor and general manager of WEBN, Emerson’s award-winning student-run broadcast news station. Through WEBN, Della Giustina gave students opportunities to cover high-profile, national news stories, including presidential inaugurations, Iowa Caucuses, the Academy Awards, Super Bowls, and Spring Training.
“She was a force of nature that shattered the glass ceiling for women in the industry, bringing all that WCVB expertise, talent, and grit to us at Emerson,” said Claire Andrade-Watkins, professor in Emerson’s Marlboro Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies, and a longtime colleague and friend of Della Giustina.
During her 40-plus-year tenure at Emerson, she served multiple terms as department chair and represented the Journalism faculty as a founding advisor of the chartered chapters of the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ). As both a news producer and an educator, she specialized in media management, political journalism, international affairs, and gender issues.
She leaves her sister, Jo Ann Della Giustina; her brother, Joseph Della Giustina Jr.; her niece, great-niece, and several cousins; and thousands of former students who loved her.
Professor Emeritus Manny Paraschos, who was instrumental in developing the College’s Print Journalism program and served as the College’s first Journalism graduate program director, passed away on July 30. He was 77.
Paraschos joined Emerson in 1988 and as a Print Journalism professor, he was integral in leading students into the emerging online world of journalism. He also was the founding dean of Emerson’s European Institute for International Communication in Maastricht, The Netherlands, from 1991 to 1994. In 1995, he was honored with Emerson’s Distinguished Faculty Award.
He served as the founder and editor of the Journalism Students’ Online News Service (JSONS), which in 2001 was recognized by Apple as one of the best academic internet news sites in the country. He continued to work with JSONS until his retirement in 2018.
He was the author of several books including The Boston Journalism Trail, which is still given to incoming Journalism students, and Media Law and Regulation in the European Union; co-author of Mass Media in Greece: Power, Politics, and Privatization; and was the editor of Greece and the American Press.
Paraschos’ commitment to his students extended beyond the classroom, establishing a fund to support first-generation college students majoring in Journalism. To date, four students have received support from this fund.
He leaves his wife, Janet Nyberg; son, Alex; and daughter, Sophia.
Arleen Sorkin ’77, a multi-talented actress, screenwriter, and comedian who was both the inspiration for and voice of comic character Harley Quinn, died on August 24 at age 67.
“Arleen was an Emersonian in the truest sense. Talented, generous, and devoted to making the world a better place,” said Emerson College Board of Trustees Co-Vice Chair Kevin Bright ’76, LHD ’11.
One of Sorkin’s most prominent roles was as the kooky Calliope Jones on the soap opera Days of Our Lives. In one episode, she played a harlequin in a dream sequence. That scene inspired Paul Dini ’79 to co-create the iconic comic book character Harley Quinn—a character she voiced in Batman: The Animated Series.
Sorkin was active in the Emerson alumni network and was honored with an Alumni Recognition Award in 1987.
She leaves her husband, television producer Christopher Lloyd, and their two sons.
Dorothy Hanley ’77, died Monday, August 21, 2023. She was three weeks shy of her 67th birthday, on September 11.
Born in Bayside, Queens, Dorothy met her late husband, Ralph Abitbol ’77, at Emerson. They were in a number of theatrical productions together and married the year after she graduated.
Ralph, who later became an attorney, died in 1996.
Dorothy worked for years in the field of reproductive medicine before becoming, as she put it, “a high priced nanny” on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. There she put to use her considerable parenting and cooking skills.
Dorothy and Ralph had two children together: Arielle and Noah. To her great delight, Dorothy became a grandmother two years ago with the arrival of Arielle’s son, Arlo.
A true Emersonian in spirit, Dorothy loved to go to the theater, films and concerts. She attended a number of Class of ’77 reunions, and—while she enjoyed her visits to Boston and seeing old classmates—the long-time resident of the Washington Heights section of upper Manhattan simply loved being a New Yorker.
And as such, she was a realist. “My mom was really fond of quoting The Rolling Stones,” Arielle said. “‘You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you just might find, you get what you need.’”
This obituary was submitted and written by John Hanc ’77
Nan Carney of Freedom, NH, died on May 8, 2023. Carney graduated with a BA.
Elizabeth Walsh of Fairfield, CT, died on August 11, 2023, at the age of 86. Walsh graduated with a BA in Communication Disorders.
Marjorie Ahlin of Machias, ME, died on March 26, 2023, at the age of 87. Ahlin graduated with a BA.
Ralph Ladestro of Ellicott City, MD, died on April 14, 2023, at age 84. Ladestro graduated with a BA.
Joan Pautler died on March 27, 2023, at age 85.
Susanne Whyte of Burlington, VT, died on May 2, 2023, at age 86. Whyte graduated with a BSSp.
Bobbi Binder Aungst of Cape May, NJ, died on July 16, 2023, at age 83. Aungst graduated with a BS in Communication Disorders.
Robert Lonergan of Atkinson, NH, died on July 26, 2023, at age 83. Lonergan graduated with a BA.
Karin Wander of Harrington Park, NJ, died on July 5, 2023, at the age of 80. Wander graduated with a BSSp.
David Anifant of Hyde Park, NY, died on June 26, 2023, at the age of 81. Anifant graduated with a BA in Psychology.
Donna Comstock of Nashua, NH, died on June 29, 2023, at age 89. Comstock graduated with a BA.
Linda Tyler of Enfield, CT, died on March 16, 2023, at the age of 73. Tyler graduated with a BSSp as well as an MA in 1977.
Lois Weisenstein of Bridgewater, NJ, died on April 3, 2023, at the age of 73.
Charles Bukowski of Newington, CT, died on April 30, 2023, at the age of 72. Bukowski graduated with a BSSp.
Cynthia Doty of New York, NY, died on July 17, 2023, at the age of 72. Doty graduated with a BSSp as well as an MFA in 1974.
1972 Thomas Mazzarini of Lynn, MA, died on August 22, 2023, at the age of 78. Mazzarini graduated with an MA.
Steven Aronsky of Allentown, PA, died on June 3, 2023, at the age of 70. Aronsky graduated with a BS.
Joyce Aloia of Madison, CT, died on June 17, 2023, at the age of 68. Aloia graduated with a BS in Journalism.
Dorothy Hanley of New York, NY, died on August 23, 2023, at the age of 66. Hanley graduated with a BS.
Judy Radoccia of Jacksonville, FL, died on March 24, 2023, at the age of 64. Radoccia graduated with a BS in Communication Disorders.
Mark Dyson of Weymouth, MA, died on June 11, 2023, at age 66. Dyson graduated with a BA.
James Harris of Boston, MA, died on April 1, 2023, at the age of 77.
Beth Prater of Framingham, MA, died on May 17, 2023, at the age of 61. Prater graduated with a BS in Mass Communication: Television.
Elizabeth Robinson of Bristol, RI, died on July 2, 2023, at age 62. Robinson graduated with an MA in Communication Studies: Advertising and PR.
Marla Zuk of Wappingers Falls NY, died on August 11, 2023, at the age of 54. Zuk graduated with a BA in Acting.
Elena Pernokas-Yioulos of Danvers, MA, died on March 28, 2023, at the age of 65. Pernokas-Yioulos graduated with a BS in Mass Communication.
Robert Desautels of Amsterdam, NY, died on April 1, 2023, at the age of 53. Desautels graduated with a BS in Television/Video.
Michael Miscio of Santa Rosa, CA, died on June 17, 2023, at the age of 49. Miscio graduated with a BS in Television/Video.
Edna Elle of Nashua, NH, died on May 13, 2023, at the age of 68. Elle graduated with an MA in Communication Studies: Marketing Communication and Advertising.
William Lawrence of Springfield, VA, died on April 17, 2023, at the age of 47. Lawrence graduated with a BFA in Creative Writing.
Chad Murphy of Boston, MA, died on April 17, 2023, at the age of 47. Murphy graduated with a BS in Television/Video.
Robyn Espeleta of Somerville, MA, died on May 12, 2023, at the age of 51. Espeleta graduated with an MA in Integrated Marketing Communication.
Robert Laakso of Fitchburg, MA, died on May 4, 2023, at the age of 44. Laakso graduated with a BA in Audio/Radio.
Allison Armstrong of Coudersport, PA, died on April 19, 2023, at the age of 49. Armstrong graduated with an MA in Political Communication.
Brandon Penny of Colorado Springs, CO, died on March 27, 2023, at the age of 32. Penny graduated with a BS in Broadcast Journalism.
Michael Grein of Brockton, MA, died on June 29, 2023, at the age of 48. Grein graduated with a BFA in Writing, Literature and Publishing.
Kirby Brennan-Riddle of New Orleans, LA, died on July 23, 2023, at the age of 27. Brennan-Riddle graduated with a BA in Writing, Literature and Publishing.
Sammi Osman Neves of Boston, MA, died on August 10, 2023.
FACULTY, STAFF, & FRIENDS
Arthur Prince of Swampscott, MA (former staff), died on July 30, 2023, at the age of 59.
Expression magazine was notified of the passing of these community members between March 15 and September 15, 2023.