CONTACT: DAVE TRIPLETT
Director of Development
College of Liberal Arts
UI Foundation News
500 Alumni Center
Iowa City IA 52242
email : email@example.com
UI theatre graduate funds scholarship honoring former teacher
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa theatre graduate Catherine Nacke
Cooper of Marshalltown has honored emeritus faculty member Sydney Spayde
of Iowa City by establishing an endowed scholarship fund in his name through
a gift to the University of Iowa Foundation.
The Sydney Spayde Award Fund is the first UI department of theatre arts
scholarship fund for graduate students in the M.F.A. program in directing.
The first award of $500 will be made in spring 1998.
Sydney "Syd" Spayde, a 1929 graduate of Northwestern University,
came to the UI in 1933 on a Rockefeller grant at the invitation of UI professor
E. C. Mabie. Spayde earned his Iowa M.F.A. degree in directing in 1934
and was staff director for the university's theatre arts program until
1937. In the 1940s and 1950s he founded and directed theatre arts programs
throughout the country.
Spayde returned to Iowa in 1962 to serve as dean of the fine arts department
and director of the Summer Festival at Parsons College in Fairfield. He
taught there until 1972. After the college became Maharishi International
University, he served as a visiting faculty member from 1978 to 1980, when
the campus theater was renamed in his honor. In 1988 the American Association
of Community Theatres honored Spayde with the Art Cole Award for Lifetime
Achievement in the Theatre.
Cooper made her gift to the UI Foundation in honor of Spayde on his
90th birthday. "Syd directed me in Allison's House, my favorite play
performed at the UI," said Cooper. "He was a wonderful teacher
and had such an insightful, encouraging way of getting students to step
into character. I never forgot the experience or Syd. I felt there should
be something at the university with his name on it."
After graduating from the UI in 1936, Cooper moved to California, where
she was a member of the Pasadena Playhouse and worked in theatre, movies,
radio, and early television. She later returned to Iowa, where she now
Cooper expressed hope that other supporters of the theatre arts would
contribute to the scholarship fund. Alan MacVey, chair of the UI department
of theatre arts, said, "We're tremendously grateful to Catherine Cooper
for her gift. The scholarship fund recognizes Syd Spayde's prodigious
talents and provides wonderful opportunities for our students to grow as
MacVey was joined by Syd Spayde's wife, Gladys Spayde; son, Jon Spayde;
and daughter-in-law, Laurie Phillips; as well as UI Foundation staff and
other well-wishers in delivering news of the new scholarship fund to Spayde
at his Iowa City home on his birthday, Oct. 17.
Spayde said he was "pleased beyond belief" and recalled the
busy, exciting time he spent at Iowa helping E. C. Mabie expand the theatre
program. "I certainly remembered Kaye Cooper and her role in the
first play I directed at Iowa. She was exceptional. Receiving news of
the fund she's helped create was a magnificent birthday gift."
In addition to funding the Spayde Award, Cooper has provided support
to other areas of the university, earning her membership in The Presidents
Club, the university's highest honor club for contributors. In 1996 Cooper
endowed a men's basketball scholarship through the University of Iowa Foundation.
The University of Iowa Foundation is the preferred channel of support
for private contributions to all areas of the University of Iowa. Foundation
staff work with alumni, friends and businesses to provide scholarships
and other forms of support for the UI.