April 28, 2003 Vol. VII, No. 15



CSUN to Award Doctorates to Phil Magaram & Albert McNeil

University Recognizes Philanthropist Who Helped Create Food Science Center and Acclaimed Choral Director

Tax attorney and philanthropist Philip Magaram and acclaimed choral director Albert McNeil will receive honorary doctoral degrees from Cal State Northridge during the universityıs commencement ceremonies in late May.

Magaram - whose support led to the creation of the universityıs Marilyn Magaram Center for Food Science, Nutrition and Dietetics - will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. McNeil - who founded and directs the internationally celebrated Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers - will receive an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts. The president will confer the honorary degree on McNeil during the commencement ceremony for the College of Arts, Media, and Communication at 8 a.m. Wednesday, May 28. Then at 6:30 p.m. that day, Magaram will receive his degree from Koester during the commencement ceremony for the College of Health and Human Development.

Philip Magaram (right) is a widely respected attorney in the fields of tax, estate planning, probate and trust law working at the law firm of Valensi, Rose & Magaram in Century City.

He also has been heralded for his community service, including his work with the National Arthritis Foundation, the Joseph Drown Foundation and the Leukemia Society of America. He serves as a member of the governing boards of the California State University, Northridge Foundation and the UCLA Foundation.

After his wife, Marilyn, died in a whitewater rafting accident in 1989 while on vacation with her family in Australia, Magaram in 1991 helped establish the center for nutrition studies at CSUN in her honor. Marilyn Magaram was a CSUN graduate alumna and faculty member who had studied food and nutrition.

The Magaram Center is the only one of its kind at a California university, conducting research and community outreach programs from its state-of-the-art facilities in the College of Health and Human Development. Albert McNeil (right) is hailed as one of Americaıs most gifted choral directors, having founded the Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers more than 35 years ago. He also has been a mentor to CSUNıs own choral director, associate professor of music Paul Smith, and helped several CSUN students launch their careers by touring with his ensemble.

The Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers is dedicated to upholding a choral tradition of excellence with the presentation of the concert spiritual, and the ever-increasing contributions of African American composers of concert music, opera and theatre music. Under his direction, the group has performed in 70 countries, including in eastern and western Europe, the Middle East, and north and west African countries.

McNeil has been invited to serve as guest conductor for several choral groups and festivals, including the DeKalb International Choral Festival held at Stone Mountain, Ga., in 1994. He led the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in its "Anthology of Negro Spirituals" CD.

McNeil, currently a professor emeritus of music at University of California at Davis, served as that campusı director of choral activities for 21 years and headed its music education program. He also taught courses in ethnomusicology at the University of Southern California for 12 years.

McNeil began his career as a music teacher in elementary, junior and senior high schools within the Los Angeles Unified School District. He was director of the Sacramento Chorale for 10 years and co-founded the Sacramento Symphony Chorus. He also was a founding member of the National Association of Negro Musicians.


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