Alison Eakle, Chief Content Officer for Shondaland, will deliver keynote at 2024 Moody College Graduation

Nearly 1,100 students are expected to walk the stage
Alison Eakle

Alison Eakle, screenwriting alum and Chief Content Officer for Shondaland, will return to The University of Texas at Austin next month to speak to a crowd of thousands of students and their loved ones at the 2024 Moody College of Communication Graduation.

At Shondaland, the production company founded by Shonda Rhimes, Eakle oversees a slate of feature film and television projects for Netflix and ABC and is Co-Executive Producer on such notable series as “Bridgerton,” “Inventing Anna” and “Queen Charlotte.”

She graduated from the Department of Radio-Television-Film in 2006 with a Master of Fine Arts in screenwriting.

“My three years at UT were nothing short of life-defining, and while it in no way feels like 18 years since I left, I’m so honored to have this opportunity to share what I’ve learned in that time,” Eakle said. “I’m also always ready to celebrate with my fellow Longhorns, and to celebrate, specifically, a group of people who persevered and pivoted through some of the most challenging years to be in school on record.” 

This year’s graduating class started their college careers in 2020 at the height of the pandemic. “Much was asked of this class, and I cannot believe I get to be a part of this day with them,” Eakle said.

Eakle, who was raised in New Jersey, began her college career studying government at Georgetown University after briefly pursuing a professional acting career as a teen in New York City.

While an undergrad, she was mentored by and studied alongside comedians, writers and performers such as Jonah Nolan, Mike Birbiglia, Nick Kroll, Zal Batmanglij and Brit Marling.  This motivated her to return to the arts, taking courses in playwriting, screenwriting and film studies while helping found Georgetown University Television and the campus’s first film festival.

She went on to UT to study screenwriting, a profession she felt she had been preparing for her whole life given the thousands of hours of film and TV she consumed as a kid.

After UT, Eakle launched her career in features at Paramount Pictures, then Paramount Vantage and Columbia Pictures. In 2010, she transitioned to television, helping to start Ellen DeGeneres' company, A Very Good Production.

Eakle joined Shondaland in 2013. The company was founded in 2005 by Rhimes, who is best known as the award-winning writer and Executive Producer of such hit shows as “Grey's Anatomy,” “Scandal,” “How To Get Away With Murder” and “Bridgerton.”

In her role at the production company, Eakle has developed projects for ABC, including “How to Get Away With Murder,” “The Catch,” “For the People and “Station 19.” She was named one of Marie Claire’s 2016 New Guard: America’s 50 Most Influential Women, and an Ojai Fellow as part of CAA’s 2019 Convene.

“We are extremely lucky to have Alison Eakle return to campus to share what she’s learned over her nearly 20-year career in film and television,” Moody College of Communication Dean Rachel Mersey said. “I have been touched by her work, and I know so many of our students and their families and friends have as well. Her extensive experience both working closely with writers and behind the scenes of some of today’s most well-loved series will inspire students as they begin their own communication careers.” 

The 2024 Moody College of Communication Graduation ceremony will take place at 1:30 p.m. May 10, at the Moody Center. Family and friends of graduates will crowd the arena to watch as about 1,100 students walk the stage. 

The following day, graduates are invited to attend the UT-wide commencement ceremony, which includes the conferring of degrees by President Jay Hartzell, the traditional lighting of the Tower in orange to honor graduates, and a fireworks display. 

Moody College of Communication