Award-winning producer Debra Martin Chase to deliver keynote address at Gettysburg College’s Class of 2024 Commencement

Two-time Tony Award-winning and three-time Emmy Award-nominated producer Debra Martin Chase will deliver the keynote address at Gettysburg College’s 189th Commencement Ceremony for the Class of 2024 on May 18.

From television to movies to stage productions, Chase has produced inspirational and empowering stories highlighting women and people of color for more than three decades. Her work has made a resounding impact on society and mirrors Gettysburg’s own promise of preparing students to lead lives of consequence and meaning after graduation.

“Debra Martin Chase is an inspiring role model whose vision and determination have redefined an industry, and whose commitment to the greater good continues to chart new paths for tomorrow’s leaders and doers,” said President Bob Iuliano. “On behalf of our entire Gettysburg College community, especially our Class of 2024, I am deeply honored to welcome Ms. Chase to our campus for this year’s Commencement ceremony.”

Headshot of Debra Martin Chase
Debra Martin Chase

Success in the entertainment world didn’t come without determination and perseverance for Chase. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she spent a number of years working as a lawyer in Houston and Manhattan before following her passion for film and television to Hollywood. After starting her new career as an executive at Columbia Pictures, she went on to run Denzel Washington’s production company, Mundy Lane Entertainment, from 1992 to 1995, and Whitney Houston’s BrownHouse Productions from 1995 to 2000.

In 2000, Chase started her own company, Martin Chase Productions, which was affiliated with the Walt Disney Company making her the first Black female producer to have a deal with a major studio. Her company currently has an overall deal with Universal Television, a division of the NBCUniversal Television Group.

Her work has been honored with two Tony Awards, a Peabody Award, and a Critics Choice Award, and has garnered Academy, Emmy, Golden Globe, SAG, Producers Guild, BET, and NAACP Image Award nominations.

Chase’s hit movies include “The Princess Diaries,” “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,” and “Harriet,” among others. Her television work includes “The Equalizer” starring Queen Latifah which is currently on CBS, “Being Mary Tyler Moore” on HBO, and the Emmy winning “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella” starring Brandy and Whitney Houston.

In 2022, Chase co-produced, in partnership with Marc Platt, the Broadway production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical “A Strange Loop” which won Tony Awards for Best Musical and Best Book. She also produced the 2022 Broadway revival of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Suzan-Lori Parks’ “Topdog/Underdog,” which won the Tony for Best Revival of a Play. Her upcoming musical "The Outsiders", based upon the beloved book and movie, will begin previews on Broadway on March 16.

Despite her busy and demanding schedule, Chase regularly engages with young people at colleges and universities across the country. A former trustee at her undergraduate alma mater, Mount Holyoke College, she is a strong believer in helping the next generation of students find opportunities for success and be conduits of change.

“I am deeply honored to be the 2024 Commencement Speaker at Gettysburg College,” Chase said. “As a graduate and former trustee of Mount Holyoke College, we share a firm belief in the tremendous value of a liberal arts education as a consequential education which provides the essential tools for living a consequential life. Additionally, I deeply believe in the College's motto—Do Great Work—and have strived to implement it in my professional and personal lives. I look forward to getting to know and to celebrating this important institution, its students and its faculty." 

Commencement Exercises will take place rain or shine on Saturday, May 18, beginning at 11 a.m. on the Beachem Portico on the north side of Pennsylvania Hall. For more information about Commencement for the Class of 2024, please visit the Commencement website.

Photos by Jason Minick and Martin Chase Productions
Posted: 03/01/24

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