50 Notable Alumni

Seth Fein

Founder, The Pygmalion Festival + Smile Politely, Champaign, Illinois

Associates in Arts

Liberal Arts and Science


Seth Fein grew up in Urbana, Illinois and is the founder of The Pygmalion Festival, which started in 2005 as a music festival, and now spans five different components, including Tech, Literature, Food, and Media.
Additionally, Seth is the founder and publisher of Smile Politely, which is Champaign-Urbana’s longest running online magazine, with its first story published in 2007. To date, the magazine has published over 12,000 articles.
After attending Parkland College, he transferred to the University of Illinois where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Rhetoric in 2002. He lives in Champaign with his wife, Justine Bursoni, a professional photographer, and their son, Ellis. They are expecting another boy in February.
Seth’s most memorable moment at Parkland was “Of all the amazing writing professors I had at University of Illinois, the most profound piece of advice I got was from Parkland writing instructor Neil Archer who told us on the first day of class in 2000: ‘A story is a war; get your fighters fighting.”

(Photo credit: Justine Bursoni)