Brauner Presented Honorary Lifetime Member Award
When I first became involved in the USITT Conference & Stage Expo planning in 1992, there was one person’s name I kept hearing but didn’t get to meet until the August meetings. It was always, “Oh, Leon is on sabbatical. You will meet him in August. He is out of the country.” Indeed, Leon has spent a good part of his career “out of the country” serving as an ambassador of goodwill for USITT overseas.
Leon has worked as a costume designer and educator for over 40 years. During that time, Leon has designed for academic theatre, regional opera, ballet, and theatre dance companies in Los Angeles, Indianapolis, and New York. He has regional theatre design credits in California, Arizona, Utah, and Indiana. His designs have been exhibited in PQ and in international exhibits in Yugoslavia, Poland, and the Czech Republic. Leon served as chair of the Department of Theatre and Drama at Indiana University from 1996 until his retirement in July of 2002.
Leon has served USITT in a variety of positions. He served as Costume Commissioner, VP Commissions, National Program Chair (VP for Programming), VP for Conferences, and President and currently serves as head of the United States Centre of OISTAT. In addition, Leon planned and led the PQ Tours for many years. These were always exciting and unusual personal voyages of discovery of theatrical and national treasures. I will never forget participating in his last tour as leader.
I think the best way to honor Leon as a person is with his own words. These come from his Fellows Address of 1994.
“What can we do for the Institute? If the Institute is of value to us, then we must demonstrate this belief -- we must do something. We must participate in projects, write articles, report on expositions, create a new project and project teams, direct the energies of a Commission or committee, make a symposium, and participate in an on-going discussion on an electronic forum or newsletter. We can bring life in a daily and on-going way to our Institute. While the conference may be the visible heart of the organization, you become the life-giving blood that nourishes and refreshes our profession and colleagues.”
Leon has lived his life as the life-giving blood of the Institute, and it is with great pleasure that I present him this Honorary Lifetime Membership in USITT.