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College of the Arts

2018 Distinguished Alumni

Caryn Desai

caryn desai

Artistic Director/Producer, International City Theatre
1986, Bachelor of Arts, Performance Acting and Directing, CSULB
1990, Master of Fine Arts, Directing, University of California, Irvine

An award-winning director, caryn desai has been deeply involved with International City Theatre (ICT) for three decades. Alongside her husband, ICT founder Shashin Desai, desai built ICT into a major cultural institution and the resident professional theatre company of Long Beach. Over the years, its productions have garnered more than 400 awards. In March 2016, ICT was selected, out of hundreds of theatres in the region, to receive the prestigious Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Season (2015).

Today, as artistic director for ICT, caryn desai oversees six education programs and a five-play season that attracts more than 30,000 audience members each year. A believer that theatre should “create dialogue and understanding,” desai is also strongly committed to working with the next generation of performers and directors. She has taught courses at several colleges and universities, serving on the Long Beach City College (LBCC) faculty from 1988 to 2007 and on the El Camino College faculty from 1995 to 2012. 

desai’s honors include the “Distinguished Alumni Award” from LBCC, 2016 Community Hero by the African American History & Culture Foundation, and the “Enterprising Woman in the Arts” award from the City of Long Beach and the Public Corporation for the Arts. She relaxes outside of work by cooking, reading, exercising, and traveling, sharing life’s simple pleasures with her husband Shashin, two daughters, and three grandchildren.


2017
Constance W. Glenn
Constance W. Glenn, '74

2016
Darold B. Cummings
Darold B. Cummings, '67

2015
Alexandra Billings
Alexandra Billings, '13

2014
Karen Baker Landers
Karen Baker Landers

2013
Ralph S. Opacic
Ralph S. Opacic, '81, '82

2012
Robert Moses
Robert Moses, '99

2011
Carson J. Lev
Carson J. Lev, '80

2010
Steve Gawley
Steve Gawley, '77

2009
Thomas Kubis
Thomas Kubis, '78

2008
Gregory C. Escalante
Gregory C. Escalante, '80

2007
Robin A. Richesson
Robin A. Richesson, '82, '95

2006
Jon J. Weden
Jon J. Weden, '85

2005
John C. Cederquist
John C. Cederquist, '69, '71

2004
Eugene M. Corporon
Eugene M. Corporon, '69

2003
Mark Steven Johnson
Mark Steven Johnson, '89

2002
Lorne E. Peterson
Lorne E. Peterson, '67

2001
Michael G. Auping
Michael G. Auping, '75

2000
Robert S. Woods
Robert S. Woods, '74

1998
Patricia A. Ridgway
Patricia A. Ridgway, '81

1997
Doug A. Strawn
Doug A. Strawn, '67

1996
Linda C. Woolverton
Linda C. Woolverton, '74

1995
Douglas M. Patton
Douglas M. Patton, '80

1994
David N. Twohy
David N. Twohy, '78

1993
Raul R. Rodriguez
Raul R. Rodriguez, '69

1992
Hiroshi Kira
Hiroshi Kira, '66

1991
Jungran Noh
Jungran Noh, '83

1990
Gerhardt G. Knodel
Gerhardt G. Knodel, '70

1989
Agnes Guerard Rodgers
Agnes Guerard Rodgers, '70

1988
Tony Baxter
Tony Baxter, '69

1987
Clifford L. Faulkner
Clifford L. Faulkner, '76

1986
Donald Gene Wilcox
Donald Gene Wilcox, '66

1985
Robert D. Keene
Robert D. Keene, '70

1984
Hoon Kwak
Hoon Kwak, '82