March 17, 2015

NYUAA to Honor Television Star, Investment Expert, and Social Entrepreneur

On Friday, April 24, the New York University Alumni Association (NYUAA) will recognize five outstanding graduates from across the University for their exceptional personal and professional achievements and contributions to society. Their successes and commitments within their communities and around the world exemplify the NYU spirit. Meet Ted Allen (GSAS ’90) and Martin Cohen (STERN ’76), who are receiving the Distinguished Alumnus Award and Cristi Marie Hegranes (GSAS ’05), who is being honored with the Distinguished Young Alumna Award. Registration for the 2015 Awards Luncheon is now open!

The 2015 Distinguished Alumnus Award Honorees are:

Ted Allen (GSAS ’90)
Ted Allen is host of the hit primetime Food Network series Chopped, which has received two James Beard Awards—one for the show itself and one for Allen as host. He also is a frequent contributor to the Food Network’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate and has been a contributing writer for Esquire since 1997.

Previously, Allen was a judge on Bravo’s Top Chef and the Food Network’s Iron Chef America, and was the food and wine specialist on the groundbreaking Bravo series Queer Eye, which was nominated twice for an Emmy Award, winning in 2004.

As a journalist, Allen was a finalist for a National Magazine Award for an Esquire feature on the little-known phenomenon of male breast cancer. He also writes for such publications as Bon Appétit, Epicurious, and Food Network Magazine. He is author of In My Kitchen: 100 Recipes and Discoveries for Passionate Cooks (Clarkson-Potter), The Food You Want to Eat: 100 Smart, Simple Recipes (Clarkson-Potter), and co-author of the New York Times bestseller Queer Eye for the Straight Guy: The Fab Five’s Guide to Looking Better, Cooking Better, Dressing Better, Behaving Better, and Living Better (Clarkson-Potter).

Allen works with several charitable organizations, including the James Beard Foundation, the Point Foundation, Share Our Strength/No Kid Hungry, the Food Bank for New York City, and the Washington D.C. Central Kitchen, and serves on the Food Council for City Harvest. He is the spokesperson for Dining Out for Life, an annual national fundraiser raising more than four-million dollars for HIV/AIDS service groups.

Allen holds a master’s degree in journalism from New York University with an advanced certificate from NYU’s Science and Environmental Reporting program, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Purdue University. He lives in Brooklyn with his husband, interior designer Barry Rice.

Martin Cohen (STERN ’76) 
Martin Cohen is executive chairman of Cohen & Steers, Inc., a New York Stock Exchange listed company, which he established in 1986 with Robert Steers. Cohen & Steers is a leading global investment management firm with a long history of innovation and a focus on real assets, including real estate, infrastructure, and commodities. Headquartered in New York City, with offices in London, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Seattle, Cohen & Steers serves institutional and individual investors around the world.

Cohen is considered to be a pioneer and one of the nation’s leading experts in real estate securities investment. He is often interviewed and lectures frequently on the subject. In 2001 he was the recipient of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts Industry Achievement Award.  In 2008 he was presented New York University’s Award for Innovation and Excellence in the REIT Industry.

Cohen received a bachelor of science degree from the City College of New York and worked as a biochemist before attending New York University where he earned an MBA degree. City College awarded Cohen the Townsend Harris Medal for Post-Graduate Excellence in 2006 and an honorary doctorate of science degree in 2013.

Cohen chairs the City College of New York 21st Century Foundation, an endowment that provides significant support to the College’s students, faculty, and facilities. He chairs the board of Guild Hall of East Hampton, a cultural organization whose museum, performing arts, and education programs are highly respected. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Central Park Conservancy and a member of the Board of Governors of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. In 2007 he was presented the National Jewish Health Humanitarian Award.

The 2015 Distinguished Young Alumna Award Honoree is:

Cristi Marie Hegranes (GSAS ’05)
Cristi Marie Hegranes is the founder and executive director of Global Press Institute (GPI), a high-impact social venture that uses journalism as a tool to educate, employ, and empower women in the developing world to produce professional local news coverage that elevates global awareness and catalyzes social change. Hegranes is also the publisher and executive editor of Global Press Journal, which employs 100 percent of GPI’s graduates. A 2013 Ashoka Fellow, she is pioneering a revenue-generating news syndication service, Global Press News Service, to promote systems change in the international media environment. 

After serving as a foreign correspondent in Nepal and cognizant of the gender disparity in media and the often one-dimensional portrait of developing communities, Hegranes founded GPI in 2006. GPI reporters have received several major awards, including the Thomson Reuters Foundation Kurt Schork Award, the Elizabeth Neuffer Fellowship, and the Ulrich Wickert Prize for Child Rights.

Hegranes herself has received several prestigious social entrepreneurship and journalism accolades, including the Grinnell College Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize, the Jefferson Award for Public Service, the Society of Professional Journalists Journalism Innovation Prize, a New Media Web Award, a Clarion Award for Investigative Journalism, and a Lifestyle Journalism Prize.

Previously, Hegranes enjoyed a successful career as a journalist for Village Voice Media in New York and San Francisco. She has a master’s degree in journalism from NYU and a bachelor’s degree from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Hegranes also served as a fellow-in-residence at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida, and has taught courses on entrepreneurship and journalism at San Francisco State University and California State University, East Bay.