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1970s Theatre Alumni Establish Endowed Cornerstone Award


Simpson theatre alumni from the 1970s staged a spirited campus reunion this spring. The chance to renew connections and share memories made for an unforgettable weekend celebrating their love of the arts.

While planning the reunion, members of the host committee say they felt a calling to support the Theatre Arts Department. From that sense of calling came a newly endowed award to honor 1970s theatre majors, faculty members and others who together played such an integral part in strengthening and distinguishing the program. The award will be presented annually to a top theatre student in perpetuity, ensuring the legacy of those involved with theatre in the 1970s will live on forever at Simpson.

“The theatre of the 70s was really the cornerstone of what the department is today,” says Jennifer Ross Nostrala ’85, chair of the theatre department. Thus, the endowment, funded with support from 1970s theatre alumni, is aptly named The Cornerstone Award.

Russ Vanderhoef Jr. ’79 presented the inaugural Cornerstone Award to Garrett Livingston ’23. Livingston is an English and theatre arts double major with a minor in secondary education.

“This award gives me confidence that what I am doing matters,” says Livingston. I have found a place that can truly accept who I am as a person in theatre. I have learned so many techniques and design aspects that will allow me to work in the teaching environment I desire. After learning about all that goes into a production, from being a stage manager to an actor, it fuels my drive to help teach younger generations of theatre students.”

As the Cornerstone Award endowment fund grows, the theatre department will consult with committee members to explore potential for increasing the award amount or creating additional awards for deserving students.