W. Stuart McDowell, artistic director of Wright State University’s Department of Theatre, Dance and Motion Pictures, was honored with the 2019 Distinguished Citizen Award from his alma mater, Macalester College.
McDowell graduated in 1969 from Macalester, a private liberal arts college in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Other notable Macalester alumni include former Vice President Walter Mondale and Kofi Annan, who served as secretary-general of the United Nations and was a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Macalester cited McDowell for demonstrating outstanding leadership, achievement and active involvement in his community over his lifetime, adding that the school believes a college education should be the training and inspiration for unselfish and effective service.
“I’m honored beyond what I can put into words of being an alumnus of Macalester, where the U.N. flag is flown beneath that of the U.S. every day,” said McDowell. “Mac remains an institution of higher education whose mission of promoting global understanding today is needed now as much or more than ever before.”
After graduating from Macalester and following graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley, McDowell was a Fulbright Scholar, researching Bertolt Brecht, a German playwright and poet.
In 1977, McDowell and his wife, Gloria Skurski, founded the Riverside Shakespeare Company in New York City in 1977. The company produced the first New York stage production featuring actor Tom Hanks.
In 2018, McDowell received the Fredrick A. White Distinguished Professor of Professional Service Award from Wright State for his efforts.
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.