Legendary Pictures Chairman, CEO Thomas Tull ’92 to Give Commencement Address

Thomas Tull '92
Thomas Tull '92

Thomas Tull ’92, chairman and CEO of Legendary Pictures, will deliver the Commencement address at Hamilton on Sunday, May 26, at 10:30 a.m., in the Margaret Bundy Scott Field House. There are 491 graduates in the class of 2013.

Those who are unable to attend Commencement can watch a live webcast of the baccalaureate and commencement ceremonies from any computer with Internet access.

Tull will be awarded an honorary degree, along with international fashion designer Oscar de la Renta; the Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham University; and Xinran, a Chinese radio journalist and best-selling author. 

McShane will offer the Baccalaureate sermon on Saturday, May 25, at 3 p.m., in the Scott Field House.  This year 491 students will receive bachelor’s degrees during Hamilton’s Commencement.

Thomas Tull 
Thomas Tull is founder, chairman and CEO of Legendary Pictures, a private equity-backed film production company that has co-produced and co-financed films with Warner Brothers Pictures. Since its inception in 2005, Legendary and Warner Brothers have made such successful films as Superman Returns, Batman Begins, Watchmen, the blockbuster 300 and the record-breaking, award-winning phenomenon, The Dark Knight, which has earned in excess of $1 billion worldwide. Other releases in the partnership include director Todd Phillips’ The Hangover, Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are and James McTeigue’s Ninja Assassin. Legendary Pictures is also developing a number of film projects in-house, including Paradise Lost, Warcraft, Kung Fu, The Mountain and The Lost Patrol.

Tull conceived of and is producer for the music documentary It Might Get Loud, featuring The Edge (U2), Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin) and Jack White (The White Stripes). Directed by Oscar winner Davis Guggenheim, the film had its world premiere at the 2008 Toronto Film Festival.

After graduating from Hamilton in 1992 Tull intended to enroll in law school but returned to his hometown of Binghamton, N.Y., and started a series of small businesses including laundromats and auto repair shops, that he built up and was able to sell at a profit. After managing a larger deal with a tax company, Tull entered the private equity field where he started pursuing contracts related to entertainment.

Prior to forming Legendary Pictures, Tull was president and served on the board of directors of The Convex Group, a media and entertainment holding company headquartered in Atlanta. He is a member of the board of trustees of the American Film Institute (AFI) and Hamilton College. Tull is a minority owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and also serves on the board of the Fulfillment Fund and the San Diego Zoo.

Oscar de la RentaOscar de la Renta
Oscar de la Renta’s work, blending European luxury with American informality, helped define standards of elegant dressing among society circles in the late 20th and the early 21st century.

De la Renta received an international fashion education. At 18 he left the Dominican Republic to study painting at the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid. There, he began working as an illustrator for fashion houses, a position that led to assisting Spain’s leading designer, Cristóbal Balenciaga. In 1961 de la Renta settled in Paris and worked as the assistant to Lanvin-Castillo’s head designer, Antonio del Castillo, before moving to New York City in 1963 to design the couture and ready-to-wear collections for Elizabeth Arden. Two years later he established his own company in New York.

De la Renta’s label quickly came to represent casual luxury to society women. He first gained attention for his gypsy- and Russian-inspired collections in the late 1960s and early ’70s, but de la Renta is perhaps best known for his evening wear and suits for women. Over the years these designs became wardrobe staples for his clientele that included former first ladies Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Nancy Reagan and Hillary Clinton.

Although he settled in New York, de la Renta also marketed his work in Latin America, and remained active in his native Dominican Republic, where his charitable activities and personal achievements earned him the Juan Pablo Duarte Order of Merit and the Order of Cristóbal Colón.

Active in the American fashion community, he served as president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and in 1990 the CFDA gave him its Lifetime Achievement Award. De la Renta won the CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year Award in 2000.

Joseph M. McShane, S.J.The Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J.
A native of New York, the Rev. Joseph McShane entered the Society of Jesus in 1967 and was ordained a priest in 1977.  He received both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from Boston College, and a master’s degree in theology from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley in 1977.  He completed his doctorate in the history of Christianity at the University of Chicago in 1981. 

McShane served on the religious studies faculty at LeMoyne College in Syracuse from 1981 to 1992 and as the dean of Fordham College at Rose Hill from 1992 to 1998.  In 1998, he became the president of The University of Scranton, a post that he held until 2003 when he assumed Fordham’s presidency.

A former trustee of St. Joseph’s Preparatory School in Philadelphia and Loyola University in New Orleans, McShane is a member of the executive committee of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities.

McShane is well known in Jesuit higher education for his collegiality and accessibility to students, faculty and staff. He helped establish prestigious fellowship programs at both Fordham and Scranton. During McShane’s tenure as president of the University of Scranton, academic and residential facilities were enhanced significantly, and the number of applications to its undergraduate program increased to historic levels.

A distinguished author, McShane received the Catholic Press Association first prize in 1992 for his article in Church, “Virtue Must Advertise: The Bishops and Public Relations.” Other articles include “Roman Catholicism” in the Encyclopedia Britannica Micropaedia (15th edition); “James Cardinal Gibbons” and “Pope Leo XIII” in the Encyclopedia of Religion; and a book, Sufficiently Radical: Catholicism, Progressivism and the Bishops’ Program of 1919.


Xinran was a radio journalist in China before moving to London where she wrote her best-selling book The Good Women of China (2002), a collection of stories drawn from hundreds of interviews conducted during her time as a presenter on her ground-breaking program “Words on the Night Breeze” (1989-1997). It has now been translated into more than 30 languages. She is also the author of Sky Burial (2004), What the Chinese Don’t Eat (2006), Miss Chopsticks (2007), China Witness: Voices From a Silent Generation (2008), and Message From an Unknown Chinese Mother (2010), a collection of stories from Chinese mothers who have lost or had to abandon children.

Xinran regularly appears on television and radio around the world. She has acted as a consultant for the BBC and Sky television and has been invited to speak to the British government on attitudes toward China. She has lectured at many universities including Harvard and Cambridge, and has been invited to numerous festivals around the world.

In 2004 Xinran set up the charity The Mothers Bridge of Love (MBL) which reaches out to Chinese children in all corners of the world by creating a bridge of understanding between China and the West, and between adoptive and birth culture. The MBL book for adoptive families, Mother’s Bridge of Love, was ranked third on Time magazine’s list of the top 10 children’s books of 2007.

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