Skip To Main Content

Browse Issues

Issue 2
Summer 2023
Issue 1
Winter 2023
Issue 2
Fall 2022

Browse Categories

Jacobs Residency Lecture Features Dianna Lora '00

Dianna Lora '00, a licensing production manager for Star Wars at Zynga, was the featured speaker for the Jacobs Residency Lecture on October 24 in the Burgin Center for the Arts' Simon Theatre. She also met with students in small groups and one-on-one during her visit to campus.

Describing herself as “a Bronx, New York, chica at heart,” Lora currently resides in Austin, Texas. Before working in gaming, Lora was a performer who played a slew of interesting characters, learned how to fall out of buildings, and partook in the occasional swashbuckling battle. She has more than 14 years of experience in the gaming industry as a writer, host, producer, and licensing and partnership professional. She has produced her own video game TV show, started a podcast “before it was cool,” and has worked at companies like Massive Entertainment, Ubisoft, Sony, Deep Silver, and ASTRO Gaming. In her current role as licensing production manager for the Star Wars property at Zynga, she manages the relationship between the studio, Lucasfilm, and external partners.

Lora also has the honor of being a part of The Game Awards: Future Class, the SXSW Game Advisory Board, as well as multiple appearances on gaming podcasts, events, and shows. She's also been a union representative, a global leader for her company's Employee Resource Group (ERG), a diversity and inclusion representative, a vocal supporter and self-proclaimed rabble-rouser, pushing for accountability and change in her industry.

Driven by a passion for helping others, Lora makes it her mission to reach out and assist others by bringing people with her, elevating others' voices, and fighting for impactful change in the gaming industry. She can be found on social media taking endless pictures of her pets, talking about space, history, and baking, or desperately dreaming of the perfect sandwich.

While at Mercersburg, Lora was president of the Black Student Union, captain of the volleyball team, and was involved in Stony Batter Players, Chorale, Magalia, Spanish Club, International Club, and the Student Activities Committee.

The Jacobs Residency Lecture is endowed in memory of John Alfred Morefield, the father of John Morefield '52 and Fred Morefield '53, in recognition of Wilmarth I. Jacobs, the school's former assistant headmaster and director of admission (1915 to 1962), who personified a strong quality of non-elitism.

In her recent podcast with Mercersburg communications intern Norah Copenhaver '24, Lora shared much about her Mercersburg experience and how it shaped her future. When asked what her favorite thing about Mercersburg was, she shares, “You know, coming from the Bronx, it just provided an opportunity for me that I never really had.” She recalled her time at Mercersburg with a cheery tone, looking back on all that she was involved in with the school, remembering the moments she cherished. “I did a lot of extracurricular activities. I was in volleyball, I played lacrosse, I played softball. I did a lot of different things that I never thought I could do. That’s what I loved about Mercersburg.”

Being back on campus sparked a lot of emotion from Lora, and also opened her eyes to how the school has changed since her departure. “It's wonderful to see the evolution of what is offered here,” she says, expressing her amazement toward the creation of classes such as Stage Combat.

Lora has had a long journey since her graduation from Mercersburg in 2000 to her current position in the gaming industry. She explored various careers, such as acting, but found that the gaming industry really lured her in and stood out from the rest: “There's something wonderful about working with a group of people for a good amount of time and creating something, then putting it out into the world.” Though her love for acting was unconditional, she truly felt that the gaming industry brought more excitement to her life, and she ultimately chose that adventure.

In talking about her career, Lora explains how she was nominated by her peers for the The Game Awards: Future Class and says, “That was an acknowledgment of the work I've done. People saw the work I was doing publicly in the industry. They saw me as the ‘future of the industry.’” Lora earned that title with the impactful amount of change and development she brought to the field, working with high-tech companies from Ubisoft to Sony and most recently, Zynga.

Lora says, “I enjoy the work. I enjoy the things I get to do. I enjoy being in the moment.” Powerful words from such a powerful individual who has experienced an eventful journey: “I mean, look at me. I started in musical theater. My goal was to be on Broadway, but you know, the wind changed.”

  • Alumni Life