Dear Theatre Alumni,
I feel very out of touch with all the wonderful things that SUNY Potsdam continues to do – especially in the Department of Drama and Dance. I do my best to read the alumni newsletters that are sent to me, but I haven’t been on campus since my graduation in 1989. The only time I returned to the
A couple of years ago, I had one of my best SUNY Potsdam experiences in
The reason for our meeting was to brainstorm ways we could memorialize “Mr. C” at SUNY Potsdam. We hoped we could start an annual scholarship that would help drama students interested in theatre history or theatre education. It was perfect timing – as SUNY Potsdam hopes to soon offer a new Theatre Education major too.
“Mr. C” adored history, and certainly made the Theatre History classes extremely entertaining, energetic and interesting. I first met “Mr. C” when my roommate Mary Beth wanted to audition for The Crucible. I went with her to the auditions, mainly to keep her company and to check out the Drama folks. I had no real intentions of doing the show, as I had just started playing soccer for the first women’s soccer club at
Ironically, I was cast as Rebecca Nurse (the oldest character in the play)…and my friend wasn’t cast at all. But she was still supportive when I decided to accept the role (and drop out of the soccer program). After The Crucible was over, I found myself doing more and more theatre at SUNY Potsdam. When I told “Mr. C” I wanted to become a Drama major, I was shocked at how he reacted. He was very strict with me and told me that ‘if I was to become a Drama major, I would have to promise him I would pursue graduate studies in theatre.’ So, I promised him…and then followed through. [I received my MFA in Theatre (Acting) in 1991 and went on to direct/act in over 75 productions across the
When I visited “Mr. C” two weeks before he died, I reminded him of what he told me about graduate studies. I believe it was the cancer and aggressive treatments he had been going through that impacted his memory – as he didn’t remember ever telling me this. Even though “Mr. C” was a tough cookie, I know I saw a glint of tears in his eyes when I told him what he said to me back in 1986…and when I told him he was one of just a few folks that I credit for my varied theatre accomplishments.
I know I am not the only SUNY Potsdam alumni closely connected to “Mr. C.” There are many more alumni who were educated, encouraged, and/or entertained by “Mr. C.” Who are you? Please help us create this important theatre scholarship in memory and honor of all that “Mr. C” did for you and SUNY Potsdam?
In order to get an 'endowed' scholarship ($20,000 value), the Development Office needs to receive 10 'lead gifts' of $1,000+ each by December 2008. Based on meetings with the Drama staff and alumni contacts, the Office does feel there is strong interest for the Mr. C Scholarship. They are committed to promoting this scholarship in their upcoming mailers, as well as the promotions that the Drama department will do.
Just to clarify, with three teenagers (2 starting college in Fall 2008) and a 4 year old just starting her academic journey, I am FAR from rich. We are a typical middle-class family, who occasionally donates to various local nonprofits…just like most alumni. Instead of donating to some local charities every year, we are now redirecting our money to the “Mr. C” award instead, for the next 2 years. I am honored and excited to do this to help honor and remember “Mr. C” and help future theatre students achieve their goals…just like I was able to do, with “Mr. C’s” motivation, support and love.
I made a pledge for one of the lead gifts at $1,000. The cool thing about the pledge - is I can pay it over a 2 year period (thank goodness!). The Development Office can set up any form of payment arrangement - so it will work best for the donor. Won't you please consider making a donation towards this scholarship? Or better yet - pledging a 'lead gift'? Please see this blog for the most recent fundraising progress.
For more information about the financial aspect of this scholarship and/or to make any level donation, please contact:
Colleen M. Baker
Office of Advancement
State University of New York College at Potsdam
44 Pierrepont Avenue
Potsdam, New York 13676
Work: (315) 267-2396
Cell: (315) 212-0396