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Carl Lefko, left, laughs during the remarks introducing him as one of the four new Fellows of USITT. Sandy Bonds, at podium, jokingly invited the entire crowd to Mr. Lefko’s suite for a party following the ceremony.

Photo/Tom Thatcher

Carl Lefko, New Fellow

Sandy Bonds
VP-International Activities

I am pleased to invite Carl Lefko to the stage to become a Fellow of USITT. Carl has been the professor of scenic and lighting design for the Department of Theatre and Cinema at Radford University (in Virginia) since 1979, where he is now chair. Carl is actively involved in the Southeastern Theatre Conference. For the USITT Southeast Regional Section, he has held the offices of Treasurer, Vice-Chair and Chair.

He developed the program of Master Classes and worked to strengthen the ties between the section and the national. In USITT, he started working on conferences in Nashville and was on the first National Conference Committee in Pittsburgh. After serving as our Vice-President for Programming, he is now our President, in case you hadn’t noticed.

Radford College Dean Joseph Scartelli said, “While I was impressed to hear of Carl’s election to this prestigious post, I was not all surprised. Carl is highly respected in his field; he’s thorough, responsible, and an effective leader. USITT could not ask for more in a president.”

I first became aware of Carl when I nervously attended my first USITT Board of Directors retreat in 2001. My initial and lasting impression is that Carl is indefatigable, good natured, fair, energetic, and dedicated to USITT. I immediately admired his even-tempered, Southern, gentlemanly manner and his Hawaiian shirts. An interview with Carl in the March edition of Live Design, available at the LDI/Live Design booth at this conference, refers to his belief in balancing work with other facets of life: family, friends, fun, and service. In order to perform his duties as department head and President of USITT -- as well as to enjoy his family and friends -- Carl is remarkably self-disciplined. He is always up at 5 a.m. and, after a work-out on his elliptical exercise machine, next he has his omelet and is ready for work by 7 a.m.

Sylvia Hilyard Pannell, who as Immediate Past President worked quite closely with Carl, reminds us that Carl is a good party boy nevertheless. And coming from Sylvia, that makes it true. She adds, “He is a man of good humor, sensitive to the needs of others and at the same time deliberate, reasonable, and capable of making the hard decisions facing him in his simultaneous and demanding jobs.”

It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the fellowship of the Fellows. Party tonight in the President’s suite, and you all are invited.

Carl Lefko was one of four new Fellows to be inducted in a ceremony at the 2009 Annual Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio. The honorary designation is given to those selected by vote of the current Fellows and is bestowed for life upon those members who have made a truly outstanding contribution to the theatre and the work of the Institute.

Click their names to read the introductory remarks about the other new Fellows, Laura Crow, Louis Bradfield, and Bill Sapsis.

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