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Purchase Prof. Did Lighting For First Lady's Oscar Segment

Purchase College Professor David Grill was the lighting director for First Lady Michelle Obama's presentation of the Academy Award for Best Picture.
Purchase College Professor David Grill was the lighting director for First Lady Michelle Obama's presentation of the Academy Award for Best Picture. Photo Credit: Photo provided by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sci

PURCHASE, N.Y. – The lighting for First Lady Michelle Obama’s presentation of the Best Picture Oscar was designed by SUNY Purchase Professor David Grill, according to college spokesperson Anita Bell.

“The invitation to Washington to light the First Lady was top secret since her presentation was an Oscar first and intended to surprise the worldwide audience," Grill said in a press release. Grill designed the lighting for the remote presentation in the Diplomatic Reception Room of The White House, the release said.

The Emmy-winning lighting designer, who has taught at Purchase’s Conservatory of Theater Arts since 1998, called it a “tremendous honor to be part of history in such a historic venue.”

“The First Lady and her staff were wonderful to work with,” he said in the release.

Grill won an Emmy in 2002 for his lighting at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. He has also been the lighting director for numerous Super Bowl half-time shows and for the Pan American Games. He is an assistant professor and co-coordinator of the Design/Technology Program at SUNY Purchase.

“Dave exemplifies what distinguishes Purchase College: our faculty of top-tier working professionals who bring their firsthand knowledge and unsurpassed expertise to our students,” Greg Taylor, director of the Conservatory of Theatre Arts, said in the release. “We are proud that Dave has received this global validation of his talent.”

The Purchase graduate said he has a career he loves thanks to his education.

“It is a tribute to Purchase that they afford me the opportunity, as a working professional, to bring my knowledge back and impart it to the next generation of students who share my passion for lighting design and the arts.”

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