School of Communications marks 20th anniversary with inaugural Hall of Fame class

Screen capture of the 8 participants

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ong before Jeffrey Chernov ’74 earned his first executive producer credit, or Molly Qerim Rose MS ‘08 hosted “First Take” on ESPN, or David Rabinowitz ‘09 held up an Oscar, they were students at Quinnipiac.

Unlike the movies or television, there are no dress rehearsals for real life, they asserted Thursday during a webinar where they shared memories of incremental jobs and exponential commitment to their work.

Indeed, it was a night to remember for the School of Communications.

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To mark its 20th anniversary, the School of Communications inducted Chernov, Qerim Rose, and Rabinowitz as the first three members of its Hall of Fame.

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“This anniversary is a celebration of the past, present and future of the school,” Roush said. “I’m honored to be a part of this school and honored that we have three distinguished alumni who are the first inductees into our hall of fame. They are the giants that our current students and recent alumni look up to.”

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Jeffery Chernov with plaque

Jeffrey Chernov '74, executive movie producer

For Chernov, acting in plays at Quinnipiac exposed him to the magical storytelling of human performances. Before he worked on the 2018 blockbuster “Black Panther” and the Star Trek franchise in Hollywood, Chernov played Curley in “Of Mice and Men” in college.

“It just touched a creative side of me,” said Chernov, who was introduced by Raymond Foery, professor emeritus. “But Quinnipiac really opened my eyes to the cinema and then I started connecting with that. I honestly didn’t know what I was going to do with my life before that.”

Nearly a half-century later, Chernov is one of the most respected minds in the movie business. As a line producer, he oversees the execution of big-budget films. He’s responsible for making sure the movie finishes on time and on budget, two of the tallest orders in Hollywood.  

“I’m the physical nuts and bolts of the process. I’m in charge of the mechanics of making a movie,” Chernov said. “My job is to help make the script better and tell the best story I can within the confines of a schedule and a budget. It’s hard work. To be successful, you have to earn the trust of the studio and the trust of the crew.”

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The Emmy Award-winning Qerim Rose, who has worked as a reporter, host and sports anchor, covered mixed martial arts, college sports, the NFL and more before earning the center seat on “First Take.” She was introduced Thursday by Molly Yanity, associate professor of journalism and chair of the department.

But before Qerim Rose climbed the ladder at ESPN and CBS, she interned for Conan O’Brien and slept in a bunk bed in a New York City sublet. She quickly learned that $3,000 in savings doesn’t last long in the nation’s No. 1 media market, so she moved back to Connecticut and enrolled in the graduate journalism program at Quinnipiac.

“I truly thrived at Quinnipiac. The classes were small, and it was really personalized attention. I got to focus on my writing and that was so important,” Qerim Rose said. “Writing is imperative in my career now. I write the show every morning for ‘First Take.’ The facilities at Quinnipiac were also exceptional. Having the ability to write your own copy and shoot your own packages and edit your own packages, I learned to do every step of the process.”

Molly Qerim Rose with plaque

Molly Qerim Rose MS '08, ESPN "First Take" host

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It was exactly that versatility, Qerim Rose said, that helped her advance in network TV before landing on “First Take.” But that doesn’t make her work any less demanding.

“It’s definitely a 24-hour, 365-day job. There’s no going home from work and your day is done,” she said. “You’re constantly watching games and keeping up with the news cycle. You’re always on in that sense. It was extremely challenging my first 10 years in the business, but similar to a quarterback, the game starts to slow down a bit and you get better and better at it.”