[Theaterfacultystaff] FW: Distinguished Alumni Nomination

Fiocchi, Barbara fiocchib at ohio.edu
Thu Sep 6 15:14:05 EDT 2012


Forwarded at the request of Michael Lincoln

Faculty and Staff,

We had discussed several names for Distinguished Alumni this year. They are:
Todd Susman, a man with many many distinguished acting credits.
Tom Keith, who recently wrote a book about New York City with an LGBT angle.
Jenny Mahoney, Artistic Director of Seven Devils.
Joel Ruark, Executive Director of New Dramatists.


We've discussed a balance of nominations from programs, gender equality, etc. to nominate the best possible representative  of our program. After looking over the possibilities again and reading his extended bio (attached) I'm inclined to agree with the nomination of Joel Ruark. Erik makes a persuasive argument in his note to me below. If no one objects, I'm going to contact Joel to see if he is available and wiling. If he is not, my next inquiry will be to Todd Susman.



Joel has had (and continues) a remarkable career trajectory in service to the ongoing viability of live theater. It has been my experience that we tend to honor those who are "hot" or are (or have been) "stars": we tend to honor people with the greatest external visibility we can find at the moment. Joel, however, is exemplary of a larger group of our current and future alumni: those who do not become "stars" in public view, yet turn their passion for theater into service to the art at a high level. Yes, we do graduate stars, and we should continue to honor them. But, in my opinion, it is more typical -- and more in line with our stated values -- that we graduate good citizens of the arts. We hope to graduate artists who, if they don't become stars themselves, are instilled with the will and ability to be the shoulders upon which the stars can stand. I don't know Joel, but based on his long form bio, it is clear that he is a shining example of those broad shoulders and the values we hope to promote in our students.

Yes, I know "stars and shoulders" is mixing metaphors, but I vote we honor this guy. Jenni Mahoney is on a similar trajectory with her work for Seven Devils, and I would like to see a woman honored since it has largely been male honorees for years, but she has not quite achieved to this level yet.

Thanks/E

Erik Ramsey


Michael Lincoln
Interim Director
Ohio University School of Theater
740 593-4818 (o)
917 301-5173 (c)



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