May 2015

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May 2015

News From Lea Asbell-Swanger, USITT President

Fond Memories, Appreciation for Departing Leaders

I cannot believe that it is already May! It seems just yesterday that many of us were together in Cincinnati for the Annual Conference & Stage Expo, but clearly that’s an illusion. Here’s hoping that we’ve all caught up as necessary with those duties and responsibilities that awaited us upon our return home.

One of the bittersweet moments each year is the departure from office of some of the USITT leadership. As you probably know, each leadership term coincides with our fiscal year, so the actual transition occurs on July 1, but since we are not together at that time, the Conference is when exiting officers and board members are acknowledged. Obviously, all the members are not at the Conference, so I believe that it is important to recognize the gift of service that these individuals have provided here in Sightlines.

Completing terms of service on the board of directors are Kasey Allee-Foreman, Bill Browning, Alessia Carpoca, Carey Hanson, Linda Pisano, and Kevin Rigdon. Each has contributed to the success of USITT through their roles as directors, but additionally in a variety of ways. It is commendable, but not surprising, that they will continue to serve the membership in some of these other endeavors and probably in ways they haven’t thought of yet.

The same is true of the three people who are completing their terms as directors and officers. Part of our tradition for each retiring officer is the creation of a resolution by the board intended to capture by short bullet points a sense of the person and his/her service. These short statements of recognition, known fondly as “Whereas” statements, are read at the end of the board meeting at the Conference, but I wanted to share those created this year for the three officers leaving their current positions. They are: Dan Denhart, Vice-President for Special Operations; Tom Hackman, Vice-President for Programming; and Martha Marking, Vice-President for Members, Sections, and Chapters.

Dan Denhart

  • Photos/ R. Finkelstein

    Whereas, Dan Denhart has faithfully served USITT as VP Special Operations aka Whatever needs done that isn’t in anyone else’s job description,
  • Whereas, his work with the Conference and Stage Expo committees has spanned close to 20 years,
  • Whereas, Dan has still found time to be ”Dad” to his six kids, perhaps revealing where his ability to work with extraordinary challenges comes from,
  • Whereas, part of that process involved proudly wearing a “DO IT!” button, and
  • Whereas, Dan handles USITT’s special operations with a father’s patience and affection making the Institute all the better for his efforts.

Therefore, be it resolved that the Board of Directors of USITT, thanks you and salutes you.

Tom Hackman

  • Tom Hackman with Jimmie Byrd, USITT Secretary

    Whereas, Tom Hackman is willing to tackle tough jobs with little chance of seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, no, not his work with Conference Programming, but his volunteer work assisting with cave rescues,
  • Whereas, Tom has “planned” his family around his USITT activities with his first daughter born after he served as Conference photographer in 2005. And while serving as programming co-coordinator he was waiting for the birth of his son. Who knew USITT service was good for population control?
  • Whereas, Tom’s urge to design and build stuff is not limited to the stage as evidenced by his children’s Zebra swing.

Therefore, be it resolved that Tom has earned the respect and esteem of the officers, directors and membership of the Institute.

Martha Marking

  • Martha Marking

    Whereas, Martha Marking began her lifelong association with needle and thread at the tender age of eight,
  • Whereas, the need for Martha to put in shop hours for an Intro to Theatre course in college led her to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater costume shop, which provided the opportunity for a little bit of undergraduate design work, if 12 shows can be considered a “little bit of design work”
  • Whereas, at a USITT conference Regional Section Officer’s meeting on the topic of the Section-National relationship, Martha, as the Southeast Chair, pointed out that if the proposed changes were not amenable to the Southeast Section’s liking,“We seceded once, we can do it again.”
  • Whereas, Martha has led the Regional Section and Chapter constituencies for the past two terms, to borrow one of her favorite phrases, “I’d invite you” to join in applauding her accomplishments.

Therefore, be it resolved that Martha has earned the respect and thanks of the Institute and its members.

This will always be a very special group to me, as they all served tirelessly in conjunction with my term as President. Any positive change that occurred during that period is a direct result of their efforts, which speaks to the commitment they made to the membership when they accepted a leadership role. Now, even without an official designation, they will continue to serve, so please thank them. Once you hear how much fun USITT service is, you might consider taking the plunge yourself!

Lea Asbell-Swanger

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