The School of Music, Theatre and Dance welcomed five of its most accomplished alumni back to campus Thursday and Friday to recognize their achievements in the school’s first Distinguished Alumni awards.

“We’re honored to have these five alumni return to campus so our students and faculty can learn from their accomplishments and experiences,” said Peter Alexander, dean of the School of Music, Theatre and Dance. “These alumni, with their achievements in performance, research and education, are great examples of how far a UNCG music, theatre or dance degree can take you.”

The five distinguished alumni are:

Chris Chalk, Distinguished Alumnus in Theatre (2001)
Chalk is an actor known for numerous TV, stage and movie roles. He played Clemens Ray in the 2013 Academy Award-winning film 12 Years a Slave. He’s also had roles in a number of TV series, including Gotham, The Newsroom, Sons of Anarchy and Homeland.

Laura Poe, Distinguished Alumna in Music Performance (2001, 2004)
Poe is a highly accomplished pianist and an experienced conductor; she also plays a number of instruments. She is currently based in Duesseldorf, Germany, where she has been a member of the music staff at Deutsche Oper am Rhein since 2011. She will join the San Francisco Opera for the 2015-16 season.

Dr. Donald Hamann, Distinguished Alumnus in Music Education (1980)
Hamann is an internationally published professor of music education who currently teaches at the University of Arizona. He is director of the Institute for Innovation in String Music Teaching and has been published in national and international music education and research journals.

Anna H. Celenza, Distinguished Alumna in Music Studies (1989)
Celenza is the Thomas E. Caestecker Professor of Music at Georgetown University and has published several academic books as well as an award-winning series of children’s books. Her work has been featured on national radio and television programs.

Christal Brown, Distinguished Alumna in Dance (2001)
Brown is an innovative dancer, choreographer, educator, writer and activist. She is the chair of the dance program at Middlebury College, founder of the INSPIRIT dance company and Project: BECOMING, and creator of the Liquid Strength training module for dance. She is currently in the midst of a 44-month interdisciplinary movement study funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.