Fullerton College alumni gathered for a gala in support of scholarships for theater arts students. Exceeding the goal of $10,000, alumni and friends ended the evening donating a total of $17,555. With matching donations, the total since the March 12 gala is over $32,000.
The event was organized by Bob Jenson, retired dean of the theater arts department. The purpose of the event was to raise funds for the five acting scholarships currently offered by the college.
“We would like to get to a place where we could have emergency funding,” Jenson said, “So that kids who are struggling, whatever that issue is, that there are resources to help them continue their education or to cope with the crisis that is happening to them now. If we can help them stay in school, we would like to do so.
Alyssa Dodson and her husband Stephen Nelson have offered a matching grant of up to $10,000 for donations specifically to the Bronwyn Dodson Scholarship. Alyssa Dodson is the sister of the late Bronwyn Dodson.
The Bronwyn Dodson Scholarship is the largest offered. This scholarship is named after Bronwyn Dodson, a theater student at Fullerton College, who died in 1991 on her way to school in a traffic accident.
Other scholarships available are Esther Hatch, Marvon Levine, Anita and Everette Farnsworth, and the Theater Arts Alumni Legacy Scholarship.
The scholarships are designed to help new and returning students, as well as those pursuing further academic study or professional training.
You can donate and help grow the Fullerton Theater College Scholarships here.
“This is a forward-looking fundraising campaign to take the five theater scholarships, rebuild them, restore them, hopefully expand them to a number where they can sustain themselves. in perpetuity,” Jenson said.
The evening’s festivities, which ended with a performance of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” from Fullerton College.
The outdoor gala was held at the college quad. The sponsors of the event gathered under a large glass roof where they enjoyed drinks and aperitifs under light garlands.
“The Theater Arts Department at Fullerton College will always be one of the most comprehensive programs I have attended,” said Claire Sparr. “They are ready and willing to take risks, not only with their productions, but also with their students.”
Sparr starred as scientist, narrator and nurse in Fullerton’s 2013 production of “Metamorphoses.” Since leaving college, she has started her own theater company called Post Giraffe Productions, specializing in new and reinvented works.
“Gary Krinke was my mentor during my time at Fullerton College from 2012 to 2014,” Sparr said, “and his faith in me changed my life for the better.”
Heather Brown and her husband Matt met when they were students at Fullerton College. Their son, Morgan, 7, joined them for the gala.
Reminiscing about past teachers, Heather Brown said, “The instructor who really guided me to stay in theater was Steve Pliska with lighting. I’ve always said, ‘I don’t want to do lighting.’ But I took one of the classes, and I took it as much as they let me. Semester after semester. »
There was a constant crowd at the donations table with alumni and friends from the Fullerton community who supported the theater arts department and its students.
Although the college has exceeded the $10,000 goal, donations will still be accepted. The new mark to reach is $50,000 by June 1.
“Our alumni felt they received a much-appreciated education when they were here,” Jenson said. “Being smaller than a university, we gave them more freedom, leadership and production management, and they really started to feel ownership of the productions.”