Campus: San Francisco State University -- April 22, 2002

'Frasier' producer Peter Casey named SFSU Alumnus of Year

Casey, a San Francisco native, to receive award at SFSU Commencement on May 25

Peter Casey, the Emmy Award-winning co-creator and executive producer of "Frasier," has been named San Francisco State University's 2002 Alumnus of the Year by the SFSU Alumni Association. Casey, who earned a bachelor of arts degree in radio and television from SFSU in 1975, will receive his award at the University's 101st annual Commencement exercises at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, May 25, in Cox Stadium on the SFSU campus.

"Peter Casey's story is an inspiration to all of us. Like many San Francisco State students and alumni, he came from a blue-collar background and worked tirelessly to achieve success," SFSU President Robert A. Corrigan said. "With his resounding success in Hollywood, Peter has never forgotten the University and over the years has remained in close contact with the campus. He continues to show his appreciation through his support, generosity and kind words. We look forward to welcoming him back to campus to present this award."

Shortly after graduating from SFSU, Casey moved to Los Angeles to pursue his dream of becoming a television writer. In 1978, after three and a half years of rejection, he and his writing partner David Lee sold a script to "The Jeffersons." The following year, they joined the show's staff as writers, and later as editors and producers. In 1985 Casey and Lee teamed up with writer/producer David Angell and became writers and producers for "Cheers."
After three and a half years at "Cheers," Casey, Angell and Lee formed Grub Street Productions and created their first hit sitcom, "Wings," which enjoyed much critical and ratings success in its seven years.

On Sept. 11, Casey lost his longtime friend and business partner Angell. He died aboard American Airlines flight 11, the first plane to crash into the World Trade Center.

Casey has been nominated for 14 Emmy Awards and won seven. "Frasier," the long-running, highly rated sitcom about a dysfunctional Seattle radio host and psychiatrist, has won 25 Emmys, including a record five consecutive awards for Outstanding Comedy Series from 1993-94 to 1997-98.

To this day, Casey remains appreciative of his teachers in SFSU's Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts (BECA) Department for their support, guidance and encouragement.
"SFSU introduced me to the world of television production. It was where I discovered what I wanted to make my life's work," Casey said. "It infused me with so much enthusiasm and self-confidence that I paid scant attention to how long the odds were that I might succeed in Hollywood."

Casey has also offered extensive support to the BECA Department. He makes financial contributions to the department on a regular basis, visits television writing classes, and has held a BECA alumni event on the "Frasier" set.

Casey, 51, lives in Toluca Lake, Calif., with his wife and three sons. He was born in San Francisco and grew up in the city's Sunset District. His mother, sister, sister-in-law and niece also attended SFSU.

"The Alumni Association is delighted that Mr. Casey will be honored as Alumnus of the Year," said Danell S. Zeavin, president of the SFSU Alumni Association. "He is a remarkable, inspiring person who has reached the acme of comedy writing and producing, and has done it with the kind of integrity, class and style that makes San Francisco State proud."

Casey was elected to the SFSU Alumni Hall of Fame last year.

The annual Alumnus of the Year award goes to former SFSU students who have gained recognition for significant contributions to their field of work. Casey joins an illustrious roster of SFSU alumni to receive the award, including last year's honoree, renowned jazz and cabaret singer Wesla Whitfield. In previous years, the SFSU Alumni Association has honored recording artist Johnny Mathis, stage and film actress Annette Bening, conductor Kent Nagano, San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, and physician and NASA astronaut Yvonne Cagle.

One of the largest campuses in the CSU system, SFSU was founded in 1899 and today is a highly diverse, comprehensive, public and urban university.

NOTE TO EDITORS: To obtain a photo of Casey, contact Matt Itelson of the SFSU Office of Public Affairs at (415) 338-1743 or matti@sfsu.edu. A transcript of SFSU's Commencement will be posted online shortly after the conclusion of Commencement on May 25 at: www.sfsu.edu/~news.


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