October 2014

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October 2014

News & Notices

USITT Fellow Keeps Active at 81

Charles E. Williams USITT Fellow

I joined USITT in 1965 while I was a graduate student at Stanford University and helped establish the Northern California Regional Section in 1970 when I was elected Section President. The next year I was elected Second Vice President for the Institute.

I chaired the national conference in 1972 in San Francisco, California when USITT inaugurated the manufacturer's show, the annual student design exhibit, and showed a profit on the Conference. Given the disastrous financial situation USITT had at the time of the previous Dallas 1971 conference, paying all the bills and making a profit in 1972 was a big deal.

I began my teaching career in 1960 while serving in the Navy. I spent the last two years of my active service teaching Naval Science at the U. S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. After leaving the Navy, I returned to graduate school at Stanford and, in 1965, accepted my first theatre position at what became the University of Calgary in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. What followed was 37 years of teaching at four more universities, ending when I retired as professor of theatre in 2002 at the University of Toledo, Ohio.

I followed that by retiring as a lighting designer in 2005, mainly due to physical issues. Because of health issues for both me and my wife, I have not been able to attend a national conference since 2002. My wife died in 2009, and this past summer I moved into a retirement community in Toledo, much to the relief of my three daughters who did not like me living alone. Swan Creek Retirement Village has independent living apartments. Mine is on the fifth floor looking out over Swan Creek wildlife reserve.

I am very active in the residents' association. In addition, I am a docent at a local museum as well as the treasurer of the same organization. In my "spare time," I am an active model railroader and photographer and am involved in several model railroad groups.

Since retiring, I have focused on staying active and making new friends. So far it is working. I almost never watch television except during football season. My doctor says that I am in reasonably good health except for a few issues that restrict my ability to travel, that I don't look or act my age, and that people are surprised to learn that I am 81. I keep hoping that the issues which keep me from traveling can be resolved, and I can again be part of USITT Annual Conference & Stage Expo!