Alumni shine in Connecticut’s Magazine’s 40 under 40′ awards

Stanley Santana, Staff Writer

The alumni of our University have made a notable impact throughout the past few decades, building names as those of MLB Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell, former Utah Rep. Mia Love, and four-time NBA All-Star Vin Baker. Kicking off the year of 2019 in a similar fashion, three recently-graduated alumni were each granted the 40 Under 40 award given yearly by the Connecticut Magazine. As a tribute to their success, Juwan Crawley, Douglas Lyons, and Nekita Waller were all named in the most recent issue of the 40 Under 40 awards. According to its own website, the award is given to forty individuals of age forty and under, who demonstrate excellence and passion in their respective fields, often being nominated by their family, friends or co-workers.

Generating more than 100,000 streams for her song Connecticut Anthem, Nekita Waller ’14 made her debut at the age of thirteen, on the heart-crushing stage of Harlem’s Apollo Theatre. Waller has proven her dedication to public service, creating uplifting music and mentoring students at several schools around Connecticut, including students in the Hamilton Education Program and Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts.

Both graduates of the Hartt School, Crawley ’16 and Lyons’09 have exemplary work ethics, consistently demonstrating what it takes to be successful in the musical theatre industry. Making his Broadway debut at the age of 22 and appearing on the most recent season of Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Crawley also has shown his potential by releasing an album called Awakening (Mind).

Lyons ’09, on the other hand, has composed and acted in numerous musicals throughout his career, winning the Gypsy Rose Lee Award for his role as Leading Actor in Ragtime, and the 2018 Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best Family Shows for his children’s show Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical.

These three individuals have not only become examples to follow, but each is now a part of our reason to continue to do better. In the wise words of Norman Vincent Peale, University of Hartford: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”