Darlene Marcos Shiley, chair of the University of San Diego Board of Trustees, and her husband, Donald, have given the joint Old Globe/University of San Diego Master of Fine Arts in Dramatic Arts program $500,000 to endow the Craig Noel Distinguished Professorship in Graduate Theater.
Generous supporters of the San Diego arts landscape, the Shileys initially shared their plans to establish a tribute in Mr. Noel’s honor with the Old Globe/USD program’s co-founder and former USD Provost, Sr. Sally Furay, RSCJ. Sr. Furay conveyed the news to Mr. Noel just days before his April 3 death. The iconic 94-year-old founder of San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre was astonished. The Shileys intended to honor their dear friend’s lifetime achievements and professional contributions to San Diego’s theater arts community.
The Shileys established the Old Globe/USD Master of Fine Arts program with a $1 million endowment to fulfill one of Noel’s most impassioned wishes – provide actors with superb training, tuition free, which ensures they are taught to speak and understand the lines well, especially the verse of Shakespeare. Now, with the $500,000 Noel gift, the Shileys have established the program’s first endowed professorship. USD Professor Richard Seer, an award-winning actor and director and chair of the of USD’s Graduate Theatre Department since 1993, has been awarded the inaugural Craig Noel Distinguished Professorship.
“We are honored that the Shileys have chosen the renowned Old Globe/University of San Diego program to honor their beloved friend, Craig Noel,” stated Mary E. Lyons, President of the University of San Diego. “Each time our MFA students take the stage for another outstanding performance, the Shileys’ extraordinary generosity will be memorialized,” added Lyons.
“Through our gift, we hope to ensure that Craig Noel’s legacy of creativity and excellence in theater will inspire countless men and women to pursue their passion for acting under the leadership of the best direction imaginable,” stated Darlene Marcos Shiley (pictured with Craig Noel).
“During his more than 70-year career at the Old Globe Theater, Craig created what has become one of the world’s most influential theater programs. We are privileged to establish this professorship in his honor,” added Shiley.
About the Old Globe/University of San Diego Master of Fine Arts Program
A joint venture of The Old Globe and the University of San Diego, the Master of Fine Arts in Dramatic Arts program nationally recruits seven students each year to participate in an intensive two-year course of graduate study in classical theatre. The professional actor education program is designed to take advantage of training and performance opportunities made available by The Old Globe. Students' performance work in the Globe's professional productions is much more than an added attraction; it is the centerpiece of the training. The program is unique in its ability to provide students with an exceptional number of professional performance opportunities. Partnership with the Globe demands that students achieve its formidable standard of artistic excellence and professionalism. Because the Globe is the program's primary source for the performance faculty, directors, designers, guest artists, and master teachers, this demanding ethic inspires studio work as well.
In addition to its symbiotic relationship with one of America's premier regional theaters, the professional actor training program is unique in other ways: with only seven actors in each class, an exceptional amount of personal attention is given to the student’s individual training needs; academic credits earned through performance work at the Globe enables the University of San Diego to award its Master of Fine Arts degree after only two years of study; and the program sends second-year students to London for two weeks of acting workshops and research. Also, each student accepted into the professional actor training program is awarded a full-tuition scholarship from the University and a monthly stipend from the Globe. Financial support granted to each student exceeds $80,000*.
Finally, since the mission of the program is to provide students with the skills necessary to pursue successful acting careers, every effort is made to facilitate the transition into the profession. The program's showcase presentations in New York and Los Angeles have been highly effective in helping graduates establish acting careers in film, television, Broadway, and regional theatres.
About the University of San Diego
The University of San Diego is a Catholic institution of higher learning chartered in 1949; the school enrolls some 7,800 undergraduate and graduate students and is known for its commitment to teaching, the liberal arts, the formation of values and community service. The fall 2007 establishment of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies brings the University's total number of schools and colleges to six. Other academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences and the schools of Business Administration, Leadership and Education Sciences, Law, and Nursing and Health Sciences.