From the series Faculty Awards for Excellence 2018

Fredrick A. White Distinguished Professor of Professional Service

W. Stuart McDowell

W. Stuart McDowell

W. Stuart McDowell, professor and artistic director of the Department of Theatre, Dance and Motion Pictures, received the Fredrick A. White Distinguished Professor of Professional Service Award for his efforts to improve the department, nearly doubling it in size.

Linda Caron, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, commended McDowell for his work in the department.

“Through his unrelenting efforts he has grown the Wright State Theatre Program into a flagship program, nationally recognized for its professionalism and talent,” Caron said. “Through his leadership, the Dance and Motion Pictures Programs have also grown dramatically, both in quality of their faculty and in number of students.”

Along with his work within the department, McDowell reaches outside of Wright State. McDowell cultivated the relationship between Wright State University and actor and producer Tom Hanks. Hanks visited the campus and became the national co-chair of Rise. Shine. The Campaign for Wright State University, which raised over $160 million.

Wright State’s relationship to Hanks resulted in a range of endorsements, including television public service announcements and the naming of the Tom Hanks Center for Motion Pictures at Wright State.

“None of this would have been possible without McDowell’s persistence and commitment to service for this university,” said Joe Deer, chair of the Department of Theatre, Dance and Motion Pictures. “This signature achievement alone would be worthy of recognition.”

McDowell teaches a range of classes, from a survey of world theatre for majors and non-majors in the department to classes in German theatre. He has lectured from coast to coast, as well as in Germany and Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovinian.

While at Wright State, McDowell has directed and won awards for several plays in the Festival Playhouse. One of these plays, “1913: The Great Dayton Flood,” co-written with honors student Timothy Nevits, won numerous awards from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

McDowell’s students are thriving in theatres around the world. Several alumni have performed in and worked behind the scenes on major productions on Broadway and numerous theatres throughout the United States.

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