Enjoy these updates on two classmates who have followed their passions and used their law degrees beyond the private practice of law.
Following a 27-year career combining teaching law and English classes to high school students at his alma mater, Monsignor Farrell High School of Staten Island, and five years of full-time work in the legal profession, John pursued a career in professional acting in 2014. Previously, John was active in community and regional theater with over 150 productions to his credit.
In 2014, John landed the role of Randy in the off-Broadway play Friction, presented at the well-known Producers Club on West 44th Street in New York City. So began John’s professional acting journey which has included the roles of New York delegate Lewis Morris in 1776 produced by the Phoenix Theater at the Count Basie Theater in Red Bank, New Jersey; the role of Marc in the three-character play Art by Yazmin Reza produced by the Holmdel Theater Company, and the role of Fusco (the hardware store boss) in Saturday Night Fever at Surflight Theater of Long Beach Island.
Additionally, John is the founding director of New Jersey Virtual Play Readings, a group of 15-20 actors who present readings of classic plays on Monday evenings twice monthly via Zoom. Readings have included Death of a Salesman, The Odd Couple, and the original play Triangles.
Film credits have included Where’s Jenna?, leading roles in the independent films The Lottery and A Man Unhinged, and a featured role in the upcoming film Church Avenue produced and written by New York City filmmaker Tom Phillips and starring Billy Baldwin, Dominic Chianese Jr. and directed by Michael Imperioli.
John’s television credits include appearances in Law and Order, Blue Bloods, HBO’s The Deuce, and the role of aging Don Venetti in the cable series Mob Days (available for viewing on YouTube) and commercial appearances for Gillette, American Express and the New York City’s Teachers’ Retirement Fund.
To this day, in addition to the outstanding legal education, John’s outstanding memories of the law school are its friendly and collegial atmosphere, his association/friendship with Professors Sanford Katz and Bob Bloom, his participation in the Law Revue productions, his work in the Law Placement Office alongside Dean Russ Murphy, Janet Lavery, Holly Mykulak, and classmate Gary O’Connor and his to this day friendship with classmates Ann Palmieri & Phil Weiner.
John is a resident of Tom’s River, New Jersey, where he resides with his wife, Karen Cino-Gatti, an author of popular women’s fiction.
Alan Tousignant retired in September 2020 as a member of the Senior Foreign Service following a career of nearly 38 years with the U.S. Department of State that began in May 1980, a few weeks before graduating from BC Law. He passed the Massachusetts bar in 1980 and the New Hampshire bar in 1986.
In addition to his last assignment (2017-2020) at the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa as Minister Counselor for Economic Affairs, he served in various roles at the U.S. Embassies in Nigeria, Vietnam, Norway, Benin, and Cameroon; the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) in Washington, D.C.; the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) in Taipei; four bureaus in the Department of State; and the U.S. Mission to the European Communities in Brussels, Belgium.
As a diplomat representing the United States, he negotiated successfully with officials from advanced economies and developing countries on trade agreements, intellectual property rights, WTO accession, agricultural market access, services, cybersecurity, and energy. In addition to advising Ambassadors, CEOs, and investors on diverse political and economic issues, he briefed Members of Congress and their staffs during their visits to foreign countries. He also promoted U.S. positions on policy issues in televised interviews with news anchors and reporters in South Africa, Taiwan, and Nigeria. Analyzing and articulating the political/economic complexities of reforms, he guided teams on finding solutions to disputes. He also launched initiatives in finding pragmatic ways to counter Peoples Republic of China influence in Africa. During his career, he achieved language competency in French, Norwegian, Vietnamese, and Mandarin Chinese.
The skills he honed as a student at BC Law served him well as a diplomat. Memorable experiences involving other BC Law alumni include watching television in a hotel room with then U.S. House of Representative Edward Markey ’72 and a Congressional delegation in Brussels when Nelson Mandela walked to freedom, assisting Ambassador Margaret Heckler ’56 during a visit to Brussels, and serving as control officer for Secretary of State John Kerry ’76 when he visited Abuja, Nigeria in 2016. During a break in government service, Alan practiced law in his hometown of Gardner, Mass., in the early 1990s.
Alan with U.S. Ambassador Lana Marks and the head of the U.S. Marine detachment at his retirement flag ceremony in Pretoria, South Africa in September 2020.
Passionate about music, he has played guitar in a number of rock bands that raised money for charitable causes overseas and in Washington, and he continues to work on improving his jazz improvisational skills. His first wife, Jeanne Porrazzo, whom he met during his last year at BC Law and married in 1984, succumbed to cancer in 2008. He is married to Vinh Nguyen-Tousignant, a Ph.D. research scientist originally from Hanoi, Vietnam who conducted gene mapping experiments on rice, corn, sorghum, and soybeans at the University of Missouri as a Fulbright post-doctorate scholar. Their blended family includes four adult daughters, two sons-in-law, and two grandchildren born in 2020. Alan and Vinh reside in northern Virginia.