Baltimore-born actor and Hollywood director Jason Winer will give the keynote address at Stevenson University's 60th Commencement on Friday, May 10, 2013. Winner of the 2010 Directors Guild of America (DGA) Award for Outstanding Direction of a Comedy Series for the pilot of ABC's Modern Family, Winer was named one of Variety's 2011 "10 Directors to Watch."
A graduate of Baltimore's Friends School and of Northwestern University, Winer is an alumnus of Chicago's Improv Olympic Theatre and began his career as an actor, improvisor, and photographer before making the transition to directing with the short film The Adventures of Big Handsome Guy and His Little Friend in 2005. He made his feature directorial debut with the 2011 remake of Arthur, starring Russell Brand and Helen Mirren. In 2010, Winer also received an Emmy as a producer for Outstanding Comedy Series as well as a nomination for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series for the ABC pilot Modern Family. He served as the producing director on the show's first season, directing 13 of the 24 episodes which ultimately won the Emmy for Best Comedy Series in 2010. His other television credits include writing and directing several highly regarded pilots for CBS, Fox, and ABC. He is also co-creator of the new NBC sitcom 1600 Penn. Winer's cousin, Alison, is a senior at Stevenson.
Stevenson will also honor Canadian philanthropist Craig Kielburger, co-founder of Free The Children, with the University's third annual Social Entrepreneurship Award. The award, presented at Commencement, honors individuals who achieve high social returns for communities through transformative leadership and innovation. Free The Children, which Kielburger co-founded at the age of 12 in 1995, delivers innovative programming to more than 4,000 youth groups and has worked in more than 40 countries to bring education to children in developing regions of the world. Kielburger also co-founded Me to We, an innovative social enterprise that sells socially- and environmentally-conscious clothes and accessories, with half of the profits benefitting the work of Free The Children.