Next Story in this issue
News & Notices
News From:
Conference & Stage Expo
For the Record

Bruce Brockman, left, was on had at the 2006 Keynote to receive his Joel E. Rubin Founder's Award. Randy Earle, left, with Richard Arnold, was honored at the Keynote but received his plaque at the All-Conference Reception & Fellows Address.

Photos/R. Finklestein, Tom Thatcher


Two Receive USITT's
Joel E. Rubin Founder's Award

The Joel E. Rubin Founder's Award is given each year to recognize outstanding and continued service to the Institute. The awards are kept secret until they are presented. In 2006, USITT honored two men with Founder's Awards. The remarks introducing them are presented below.

James R. Earle, Jr.

by Richard Arnold
USITT Past President and Fellow

The Joel E. Rubin Founder's Award is the highest honor USITT can bestow on a member of the Institute. It recognizes the most outstanding service to the organization. It is my honor, on behalf of the Institute, to introduce a recipient of this award today.

James R. Earle, Jr. (known to many as Randy) began as a student member of USITT and worked up through the ranks of service to the organization to become the 12th President of the Institute. In 1965, as a sophomore at Purdue University, Randy heard about USITT and became a student member. After he graduated from Purdue with his master's degree, he taught there for a couple of years. Then, in 1970, he joined the theatre faculty at San Jose State University.

He had arrived in California in time to help establish the Northern California Regional Section of USITT. He was a charter member of the committee to organize the regional section and was responsible for its incorporation. He chaired its Membership Committee, served as a committee chair when the new section hosted the 1972 San Francisco USITT Conference, and he shortly became the Chair of the section. 

Randy has a long record of service to USITT nationally. In 1972, he became Commissioner for Performing Arts Training and Education (PATE), the early form of the Education Commission. He started several worthy projects during his leadership. Then he became Vice-President for Commissions and Projects. In this office he inaugurated the tradition of USITT August "retreats" for work on Commission projects. He established the Commission's role in creating annual conference programming. Through his efforts the first Commission Handbook was written and he brought many new leaders into the Commissions and thus into the Institute.

Later Randy became Vice-President for Relations. In this role, he worked to develop new regional sections and prepared the first Regional Section Handbook.

From 1984 to 1986 Randy served as President of the Institute and undertook several formidable tasks. He was responsible for moving the national office from its Broadway address to 42nd Street when more space was needed and at a reduced cost. He hired new office staff to replace the operation that had been established by Herb Greggs. He was the first to bring USITT out of the "card file stone age" into the modern computer age by supplying the first computers in the office. During his presidency he worked to expand contributing and sustaining memberships.

The Institute has received numerous other contributions from Randy including his serving on the Membership Committee, the Planned Giving Committee, and the Grants & Fellowship Committee where he continues as a member. If this service was not considerable enough, he also became the faculty sponsor for the USITT Student Chapter at San Jose State University.

In 1982 he was named a Fellow of the Institute, and he currently is Chair of the Fellows.

Randy is a full Professor at San Jose State University and is a past chair of the theatre program there. In his teaching career, he has achieved a record of grants and awards. He is a very active lighting designer and a theatre consultant.

Bruce Brockman

by Lawrence J. Hill
USITT Treasurer

The Joel E. Rubin Founder's Award is given to a USITT member to recognize outstanding and continued service to the Institute.

It is my pleasure to take on a task so evident in its applicability that you will realize how much fun it can be up here. The Institute, from time to time, takes the opportunity to recognize an individual whose contributions to the organization and its members are continuously outstanding. We are a volunteer organization, whose members give untold hours, energy, and talents. In some cases we can't seem to wear them out. They just keep on and on and on -- and in this case we are grateful for that desire and talent.

I have been accused of creating soporifics in the dealing with the finances of USITT with such phrases as "declining equity escalating index hedge fund." Usually this individual's head is nodding by the words "escalating index" and maybe the individual will drop off while I list a few of his contributions to USITT. You folks stay awake.

Our honored member's first experience at a USITT Annual Conference & Stage Expo was in 1980 at Kansas City. These are some of the highlights from the intervening years:

  • Seven contributions to TD&T;
  • Recipient of the Herb Greggs Award for the TD&T article, "Revisiting the Twin Cities Collection;"
  • Editor of the revised USITT Tenure and Promotion Guidelines;
  • USITT Design Expo Committee Chair 1990 to 1994;
  • Co-Designer of the USITT National Exhibit for PQ 1999
  • Vice-President for Commissions;
  • At least 16 panels and workshops for USITT, and other theatre organizations, and;
  • Founding Chair of the Inland Northwest Regional Section of the Institute

He is attracted to those positions that take enormous amounts of personal time: a dedicated educator; a scenic designer whose work has been exhibited in the USITT Prague Quadrennial exhibit; whose work has been produced at the University of Michigan, Montana Repertory Theatre, Music-Theatre of Wichita, and Colorado Shakespeare Festival in addition to his contributions to Idaho State University and Oklahoma State University; and who has spent 19 years as a department head. Somewhere he finds the energy to flog, pounce, scumble, and paint up a storm as a wonderful scenic artist.

Oh, yes! He managed to find the time to serve as President of USITT from 2002 to 2004 and is now part of the troupe putting together the USITT Prague Quadrennial exhibit for 2007 -- and he goes on and on and on!

Bruce Brockman was inducted as a Fellow of the Institute in 2003, and today it gives me great pleasure to put some "gold metallic highlight" on that honor and present him the Joel E. Rubin Founder's Award for his continuing excellence in service to the United States Institute for Theatre Technology.

To Top