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Retiring Faculty Member Recognized at Graduation Exercise

May 16, 2015

Category: Academics, Events, Faculty, Theatre Arts

 At Catawba's Baccalaureate Service, Anderson spoke to the graduates about the value of memories, asking them to "Be here now. Be somewhere else later." (View Full Remarks)

Longtime Catawba College Theatre Arts Professor Dayna Anderson was recognized at the College's May 16th graduation exercises for her 34 years of service to the institution.

Anderson joined the College in 1981, as a specialist in performance theory. During her tenure, she became most recognized for her work with actors who were just beginning their performance art, particularly women.

She earned her bachelor's degree in theatre and public address, a master's degree in communication and a master of fine arts degree in acting/directing and design, all from the University of Southern Mississippi. She completed post-graduate study at a variety of institutions, including University of Illinois, University of Southern Mississippi, the University of Minnesota, Oxford University and in New York thanks to a grant she received from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her other post graduate acting studies have been in the Alexander Technique, including her graduation from the Alexander Alliance in Philadelphia.

As a director, more than 50 percent of Anderson's productions have been at Catawba where she has offered students a wide range of performance opportunities. Catawba honored her pedagogical skills and creative teaching by presenting her with its Swink Award for Classroom Teaching in 1998. She was inducted into Catawba's Blue Masque Hall of Fame in 2012.

Professor Anderson directed her last production at Catawba in February of this year, Shakespeare's "Comedy of Errors." She took a look back on her career when she was interviewed about that production and had this to say:

"As long as you learn as much from your students as you try to teach them, that sustains you. I have had a fulfilled life in theatre — it's had my heart for all of this time. It's not a romantic life at all. It's gritty and tough, and worth sticking with, like everything worth having.

"Theatre is an element of change and that's what college is. People come whether audience member or students and they leave changed. What a blessing it has been for me to be a part of that."