Hollywood Screenwriter Mark Swift '88 Named 2014 Distinguished Alumnus

by Kathy Aiello, Ed. D.
With motion picture hits like Shark TaleFreddy vs. Jason and the most recent Friday the 13th reboot, alumnus Mark Swift '88 has made his mark in the film industry. The Benjamin School Alumni Council named the successful Hollywood screenwriter its 2014 Distinguished Alumnus at the annual Alumni Luncheon hosted May 22 in the Healey Athletic Complex gymnasium.

Graduating seniors, school administrators, faculty members, alumni and Swift's friends and parents joined in the luncheon celebration, following a welcome by Director of Marketing, Branding and Alumni Relations Jessy Padon '01 and congratulatory comments by Head of School Bob Goldberg. Upper School Performing Arts Chair Sara Salivar introduced the honored guest with a special video tribute (view below).

"I am deeply honored to be back here today accepting this award," said Swift who shared the journey of his career path with the audience. "I graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in International Relations, but my true passion was the film classes I took at the University of Southern California."

Swift additionally credited Benjamin for a writing intensive curriculum that helped him to succeed in college and beyond. "The critical thinking skills I learned at Benjamin have also helped me to survive in the difficult film industry," said Swift who is currently working on an original horror project for New Line Cinema and an untitled sci-fi project for Skydance Productions with his long-time writing partner, Damian Shannon. The duo is also co-producing a comedy for Paramount Pictures starring Peter Dinklage.

From lessons learned, Swift offered the following words of encouragement to members of the Class of 2014:
  • Chart your own course.
  • Work harder than the other guy.
  • Life's challenges are opportunities for personal growth.                                                    video
Finally, Swift expressed his gratitude to family, friends and The Benjamin School.  "My loving parents gave me the freedom to pursue my passion." said Swift who resides in Los Angeles with his wife and three children. "Many of the alumni here today were my friends at Benjamin. We still stay connected and remain lifelong friends.  I have Benjamin to thank for that." 
"Mark now joins the ranks of Distinguished Alumnus award recipients, including Dr. Andy Larson '91, Rob Flournoy '85, John Matz '96, Lisa Arline '68 and Congressman Tom Rooney '89," announced Padon.
A premier PK3 - Grade 12 independent, coeducational day school with campuses in North Palm Beach and Palm Beach Gardens. Since 1960, The Benjamin School has provided a challenging college preparatory education to a diverse student body in a structured, nurturing community environment.
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