Iona College Names Kelly McKenna Beyrer ’16MA as its First Director of Performing Arts

Newly created position builds on Iona’s strategic vision of expanding opportunities to “Learn Outside the Lines”

Performing Arts News

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. — Iona College is proud to announce that Kelly McKenna Beyrer ’16MA has assumed the inaugural role of director of Performing Arts, building on the College’s strategic vision to enhance and expand opportunities for students to “Learn Outside the Lines.” In this new position, Beyrer brings fresh energy to developing extracurricular programs in the performing arts across dance, theatre, orchestra, choir and other multicultural artistic expressions.

Beyrer brings over a decade of experience working in film, television and theatre. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting from Lindenwood University in 2009 and a Master of Arts in Public Relations from Iona College in 2016. She is also a graduate of the Circle in the Square Theatre School, the only accredited training conservatory associated with Broadway theater, and is a proud member of the Actors’ Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA. Beyrer has also trained at both the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA) and The Second City in Chicago, IL.

In her new role, Beyrer will be responsible for the strategic development, implementation, management, recruitment, and assessment of Iona’s Performing Arts extracurricular programming. She looks forward to supporting existing student clubs and furthering Iona’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion across all aspects of campus life, including the performing arts. She also looks forward to expanding opportunities for students to pursue their creative passions, from working to create more dance troupes, theatrical productions and musical ensembles to expanding opportunities for personal development and exposure to professionals in the field.

“With my background as a professional actor and my love of Iona College, I am beyond excited to be leading our student performing artists and creating new opportunities for them to explore their creativity beyond the classroom,” said Beyrer, who previously served as assistant director for Alumni & Advancement events at Iona. “Knowing Iona College is focused on the performing arts during a time that is unlike anything the industry has ever faced is especially energizing.”

The focus on the performing arts is an important piece of enhancing the overall student experience – and student success – at Iona, said Joel Quintong, dean of students, who will oversee the new role.

“Whether a student wants to become an actor or a scientist, exposure to the arts enhances creativity. It also gives students an avenue to explore their interests outside of the classroom, connecting with other students who share a common interest. This sense of belonging ultimately helps students thrive in college – academically, socially and emotionally,” said Quintong. “Iona is thrilled to move in this strategic direction with such an experienced, passionate and inspiring professional leading the way.”

Founded in 1940, Iona University is a master's-granting private, Catholic, coeducational institution of learning in the tradition of the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers. Iona's 45-acre New Rochelle campus and 28-acre Bronxville campus are just 20 miles north of Midtown Manhattan. With a total enrollment of nearly 4,000 students and an alumni base of more than 50,000 around the world, Iona is a diverse community of learners and scholars dedicated to academic excellence and the values of justice, peace and service. Iona is highly accredited, offering undergraduate degrees in liberal arts, science and business administration, as well as Master of Arts, Master of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees and numerous advanced certificate programs. Iona students enjoy small class sizes, engaged professors and a wide array of academic programs across the School of Arts & Science; LaPenta School of Business; NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences; and Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. Iona is widely recognized in prestigious rankings, including The Princeton Review’s 2024 national list of “The Best 389 Colleges” and The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse’s “2024 Best Colleges in America,” which ranked Iona at #66 in the nation overall and #8 in the nation among Catholic schools. Iona’s LaPenta School of Business is also accredited by AACSB International, a recognition awarded to just six percent of business schools worldwide. In addition, The Princeton Review recognized Iona’s on-campus MBA program as a “Best Business School for 2023.” Iona also offers a fully online MBA program for even greater flexibility. In July 2021, Iona announced the establishment of the NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences, which is now principally located on Iona’s Bronxville campus in collaboration with NewYork-Presbyterian. Connecting to its Irish heritage, the University also recently announced it is expanding abroad with a new campus in County Mayo, Ireland. A school on the rise, Iona officially changed its status from College to University on July 1, 2022, reflecting the growth of its academic programs and the prestige of an Iona education.