JMU in LA students 'spellbound' by sought-after TV writer


Barbara Hall students
JMU alumna Barbara Hall was a guest speaker during the JMU in LA program this summer.

Barbara Hall closeup

JMU alumna Barbara Hall, a veteran television writer and producer whose credits include “Family Ties,” “Joan of Arcadia” and the present series “Homeland,” was a guest speaker during the JMU in LA program this summer. Students in the 10-week study abroad program, organized by the School of Media Arts and Design, take classes taught by industry professionals and complete internships in the Los Angeles area.

“Hall's riveting talk about writing and producing for television held students and observers alike spellbound,” said Tom O’Connor, program director and professor of media arts and design at JMU.

Hall’s latest creation, the political drama “Madam Secretary,” premieres this Sunday on CBS following "60 Minutes." Co-executive produced by Morgan Freeman, the show stars Tea Leoni as Elizabeth McCord, a retired CIA analyst whose quiet life in academia is upended when her former boss, now president of the United States, shows up and asks her to serve as his Secretary of State.

Other alumni who spoke with students in the JMU in LA program this summer were Greg Matthews (’00), director of international finance and strategy at The Walt Disney Co., and Stuart Coleman (’95), who works in marketing for the movie industry.   

A total of 85 students have participated in the summer program over its first four years, and O’Connor said nearly half of those who completed the program at least one year ago are now working in the industry.


Sept. 17, 2014

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Published: Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Last Updated: Thursday, October 20, 2016

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