WSU’s College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts Honors Five of its Talented Arts and Communication Alumni and Advocates at 38th Arts Achievement Awards Ceremony

The College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts (CFPCA) at Wayne State University (WSU) presents its 38th Annual Arts Achievement Awards, honoring outstanding alumni and former students. The honorees will be recognized for their dedication to, and advocacy for, the arts and communication and for achievements in their respective fields.

The 2017 Arts Achievement Awards will take place on Saturday, March 25, from 3-5 p.m., at WSU’s Student Center Ballroom, located at 5221 Gullen Mall, Detroit, MI 48202. The event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP by March 21 at

2017 Arts Achievement Awards Honorees:

Don Gonyea (Career Achievement Award in Field of Communication) is a NPR National Political Correspondent based in Washington, D.C. He spends much of his time traveling throughout the United States covering campaigns, elections, and the political climate throughout the country. His reports can be heard on all NPR programs and at He was at the White House on the morning of September 11, 2001. In 1986, Gonyea got his start at NPR reporting from Detroit on labor unions and the automobile industry. Gonyea also reported on the development of alternative fuel and hybrid-powered automobiles, Dr. Jack Kevorkian's assisted-suicide crusade, and the 1999 closing of Detroit's classic Tiger Stadium. A native of Monroe, Michigan, Gonyea is an honors graduate of Michigan State University.


Susan F. Rossen (Career Achievement Award in Field of Art and Art History) is an educator, curator and the first publisher at the Detroit Institute of Arts. In 1971, she earned a master's degree in art history at Wayne State University. After 1981, Rossen directed the Publications Department of the Art Institute of Chicago. In her twenty-eight years there, she shepherded over 200 publications into print, a number of which garnered awards for content, design, and production. Rossen has been active in the field of museum publishing, organizing national and international conferences, teaching, writing, and lecturing about the role of publishing in museums. Currently, she is a consultant and freelance editor.


Charlotte Merkerson (Career Achievement Award in Field of Music) is a violinist born in Detroit, Michigan. She started playing violin at age six and by eight, was playing in the All City Junior Orchestra.  In 1964, at age 15, Charlotte was awarded a scholarship to study violin with Mischa Mischakoff, concertmaster of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO). It was not until college that she believed she had a vocation to be a violinist. She began at Wayne State University in 1967 and studied violin with Morris Hochberg, former assistant concertmaster for the DSO, and participated in the band under the direction of Harry Begian. Charlottes’s first professional engagement was with the Phoenix Symphony in 1978, where she was second violin principal for one year. In 1979, Charlotte returned to Detroit and soon won a position to become concertmaster at the Michigan Opera Theatre. Some of her most memorable performances with the Michigan Opera Theatre include the Three Tenors’ performance in the (old) Tiger Stadium, and five performances as concertmaster with Luciano Pavarotti, one of which was the opening for the Detroit Opera House.


Dr. Phillip W. Moss (Career Achievement Award in Theatre) is the chair of the creative and performing arts department at University Liggett School. He oversees curriculum and staff development in drama, music and visual arts in a program that spans PK through 12th grades. Dr. Moss has direct teaching responsibilities in grades 6-12 and directs extracurricular programs from grades 3-12. His instructional duties include courses in acting, directing, scenic design, film, animation and software tools. Extracurricular programs include after school drama activities for lower, middle and upper school students. Dr. Moss is a member of the Educational Theatre Association/International Thespian Society, National Arts Educational Association, Americans for the Arts, Michigan Youth Arts Association, and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.


William (Bill) Prady is the four time Emmy nominated Executive Producer of “The Big Bang Theory” which he co-created in 2007.   Bill got his start working at Jim Henson Productions in 1983.  Following his work with Henson, Prady wrote for a number of television comedy and drama series. His first produced episode of series television was an episode of “Married... With Children” in 1991; his first staff writing job was on the HBO series “Dream On” in 1995. In 1997, he joined the writing staff of “Dharma & Greg,” rising to Executive Producer and taking over as “show runner” (industry slang for the job that combines head writer and Executive Producer) in 2001.  He is a graduate of the Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and attended Wayne State University in Detroit. (CFPCA Arts Advocacy Award)

The College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts at Wayne State University serves 2,200 students majoring in 17 undergraduate and 11 graduate programs through the James Pearson Duffy Department of Art and Art History, the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance, the Department of Music and the Department of Communication. Wayne State University, located in the heart of Detroit’s Midtown Cultural Center, is a premier urban research institution offering more than 380 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 27,000 students.

Contact: Patrick Field, CFPCA Alumni Officer
(313) 577-1087