Letter from the President, September 2020
September 4, 2020
Hello Friends! It seems like so long since we have been together. Indeed, my last letter to you was dated March 20. So much has happened in the more than 5 months since then:
In person classes were cancelled for the entire GMU campus while the faculty made the Herculean move to virtual learning.
Creativity took center stage as Mason Arts at Home was launched giving us virtual staged readings by School of Theater students of two plays that had been scheduled for the Spring Season, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot and Gruesome Playground Accidents. There was a conversation with SOT alum Zachary Wilcox, Young Alumni Commissioning Award winner for his original play Tangier Island is Sinking. The delightful serial Becca and Rebecca in Space created by and starring alum Rebecca Wahls and Becca Ballinger kept us laughing week after week.
Giving Day became the Student Emergency Assistance Fund Drive: Patriots Helping Patriots. The Patriot Community (including many of you) rallied to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to help students facing financial needs as their part time jobs disappeared, their parents faced financial hardships, and worries mounted over tuition and rent.
Graduation was held virtually.
Now the fall semester has begun, with some students returning to campus and classes in the School of Theater remaining virtual.
Convocation was held on August 25 in a huge Zoom meeting with new and returning students. That was when I felt “Yes! We are back”. The amazing faculty created the warmth and care and enthusiasm that are the trademarks of the School of Theater.
So a new term begins.
Kevin, our wonderful continuing Interim Director, has written a terrific article for this newsletter which summarizes what is happening this fall and it is an ambitious and exciting plan. Being virtual has created an opportunity for amazing creativity.
The Friends of Theater at Mason is also reimagining our events and participation in the season. But what will never change is our dedication to supporting the School of Theater, its students, faculty, and alumni in every way we can. We will “attend” all performances and will continue to raise scholarship funds to make a Mason education available to our deserving Theater students.
We urge you to join the Friends at any level you are able. I encourage you to go to the Friends of Theater page on the GMU website https://theater.gmu.edu/give/friends-theater. You will find information about the Friends, biographies of student scholarship winners, notes from our Alumni, and much more, including and especially a button to Join FOT and Make a Gift.
My very best wishes to all,
President, Friends of Theater at Mason