School of Communications to celebrate 20th anniversary

September 25, 2020

Control Room

Quinnipiac's School of Communications will host its 20th anniversary celebration on Thursday, October 8.

In honor of the milestone, Quinnipiac will induct its first three members into the School of Communications’ Hall of Fame. The inaugural members are Jeffrey Chernov ’74, Molly Qerim, MS ’08, and David Rabinowitz ’09.

“The School of Communications is outstanding in the quality of the alumni that it has produced, and our Hall of Fame inductees are at the top of that list,” said Chris Roush dean of the School of Communications. “I look forward to seeing what our recent alums, current students and future students accomplish in the next 20 years.”

Before Chernov became an executive producer in the film industry, he was a liberal arts major. Chernov enjoyed his classes and spending time with friends, but he also liked escaping to a small, foreign film theater in New Haven. It was there Chernov discovered films that introduced him to new places, new themes and new characters.

About this time, Quinnipiac introduced a fine arts major, which Chernov switched to during his junior year.

“I think I might have been part of the first group to get a fine arts degree from Quinnipiac,” Chernov said. “Eventually, I decided to pack my stuff, drive out to California and get into the film business. That was the beginning of my journey.”

After graduating from Quinnipiac, Chernov landed his first job as a messenger on the 1976 production of “King Kong.” Chernov eventually made his mark on the industry as the vice president of physical production for Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures and Hollywood Pictures from 1987-89. During this time, Chernov oversaw films such as “Dead Poets Society,” “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” and “Pretty Woman.”

Chernov went on to produce classics such as “The Dead Zone,” “Clue,” “Sleeping with the Enemy” and “10 Things I Hate About You.” In 2008, Chernov made his directorial debut with “A Line in the Sand,” which he also produced. During the last decade, Chernov has spanned the globe producing blockbuster hits such as “Black Panther,” “Star Trek,” “Star Trek Into Darkness,” “Star Trek Beyond, “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” and “Shazam!”

In 2013, Chernov visited Quinnipiac to speak with students in the School of Communications about the entertainment industry, working in Hollywood, the future of film production and his career experiences.

Qerim, host of ESPN’s popular “First Take” program and a Cheshire native, earned her master’s degree in broadcast journalism from Quinnipiac in 2008. She developed a gift for storytelling and writing at a young age before pursuing a career in sports journalism.

After earning her bachelor’s degree in communications, Qerim launched her career at ESPN digital media and ESPN mobile, where she covered the Super Bowl, the Heisman Trophy presentation, the NBA Draft, the NBA All-Star Game and the MLB All-Star game.

Qerim then worked as an anchor and reporter for CBS Sports, covering college football, national signing day for the nation’s top high school recruits, multiple NCAA tournaments and the U.S. Open.

Already heralded as a female pioneer in the UFC broadcast industry, she enrolled in Quinnipiac’s master’s program in 2007. She developed her skills through real-world experience and guidance from seasoned professionals, while learning about the latest advancements in the journalism world.

"Quinnipiac afforded me the opportunity to get out there, get my hands dirty and put together a full package,” she said. “It was the right choice, and I am grateful that I did make that decision."

Qerim is an Emmy Award-winner and host of the popular sports debate show “First Take” with Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Qerim continued to host “First Take” from a studio in her basement.

As a Quinnipiac student, Rabinowitz never imagined winning an Oscar. But in 2019, after working with his high school friend Charlie Wachtel, Rabinowitz was part of the screenwriting team with director Spike Lee that won best adapted screenplay for the film, “BlacKkKlansman.”

After reading Ron Stallworth's memoir about infiltrating a local Ku Klux Klan chapter in the 1970s, Rabinowitz and Wachtel grew interested in adapting the story for the big screen. They discovered no one owned the book's film rights and received permission from Stallworth to write a spec screenplay that eventually became “BlacKkKlansman.”

Rabinowitz first discovered a passion for screenwriting in high school. In college, he was an active member of the Quinnipiac Film Society. “When you are writing a screenplay, it’s always going to be interpreted by others,” Rabinowitz said. “My time at Quinnipiac with the film society showed me what happens after that critical step.”

Rabinowitz enjoyed writing and producing short films for the film society. He encourages students to “write as much as you can. Quantity leads to quality. Show your work early and often and embrace feedback.”

After graduating from Quinnipiac, the New Jersey native began his career working as a multimedia producer in the video department for The Wall Street Journal. Since then, he’s worked as a screenwriter, video editor and motion graphics artist.

“Quinnipiac gave me a practical education, which was directly applicable to jobs I got post-college,” Rabinowitz said. “I love being able to tell stories for a living. I get to use my imagination on a nearly daily basis. I also enjoy the process of making movies. Seeing how the industry works firsthand, while it can be frustrating at times, is a privilege.”

Quinnipiac University’s School of Communications fosters student success and leadership in a rapidly changing world of communication by offering a liberal arts education built on a practical and theoretical foundation of scholarship and ethics, a command of evolving technologies and a respect for diversity.

The school offers undergraduate programs in advertising and integrated communications, graphic and interactive design, journalism, media studies, public relations, and film, television and media arts. It also offers master’s programs in strategic communications, journalism, sports journalism, interactive media and communications, and cinematic production management.

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