Simon, Guest, Willis Join Berklee Board

In December 2008, Berklee College of Music Board of Trustees Chair Jeff Shames announced the appointment of artist Paul Simon; director, actor, and musician Christopher Guest; and Marc Willis '85, the president and CEO of the Soulsville Foundation, to the Berklee College of Music Board of Trustees.

"The additions of Paul, Chris, and Marc augment our board's capacity across the spectrum of education, songwriting, performance, and film," says Berklee President Roger H. Brown. "We believe we have a board of trustees poised to help Berklee be a nexus of musical creativity in the 21st century."

Through their participation as board members, Simon, Guest, and Willis look forward to future interactions with students and faculty. Simon and Guest have each received honorary doctor of music degrees from the college, and Willis is a Berklee graduate with a degree in film scoring.

Over the course of a career as a solo artist and with Simon and Garfunkel, Paul Simon has received numerous awards and honors. To date, he has netted 12 Grammy Awards, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, to name a few. Simon has also been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Simon's philanthropic work includes the cofounding of the Children's Health Fund, which donates and staffs mobile medical vans that deliver health care to indigent children throughout the United States. He has also raised millions of dollars for such causes as the Nature Conservancy, the Fund for Imprisoned Children in South Africa, and Autism Speaks.

Christopher Guest is a writer, director, actor, musician, and composer. His began his career writing for National Lampoon magazine and contributing to the National Lampoon Radio Hour. He recorded five albums, three of which were nominated for Grammys. His television credits include The TV Show, The Chevy Chase Special, and The Lily Tomlin Show (for which he received an Emmy Award). Guest was also a writer, director, and cast member for Saturday Night Live. He directed the films Waiting for Guffman, Almost Heroes, Best in Show, and A Mighty Wind. The latter won Grammy awards for Guest and his costars Eugene Levy and Michael McKean. Guest has also acted in more than a dozen films, including This Is Spinal Tap.

Marc Willis is the president and CEO of the Soulsville Foundation, the nonprofit parent company that operates the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, Stax Music Academy, and the Soulsville Charter School. Earlier in his career, Willis taught at Indiana University-Purdue University, and LeMoyne-Owen College. He also served as a technical adviser and developer at the computer music-based software company Cakewalk. Willis is a freelance composer, songwriter, media producer, and designer.


- Nick Balkin