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University of Iowa News Release

July 15, 2005

UI Theater Professor Forsythe Wins Hubbard Award For Outstanding Education

Eric Forsythe, a professor in the University of Iowa Department of Theatre Arts and the artistic director of Iowa Summer Rep, has been selected to receive the Hubbard Award for Outstanding Education.

The award, which celebrates the memory of longtime UI faculty member and administrator Philip G. Hubbard, was established to recognize the contributions of a UI faculty member who has demonstrated extended teaching excellence.

The honor includes a cash award of $18,000 provided by Dr. Joseph A. Walder, M.D. Ph.D., former faculty member in the UI Department of Biochemistry and founder of Integrated DNA Technologies Inc.

"Eric Forsythe is an excellent teacher and mentor who is highly committed to preparing students for careers in the professional theater," said Linda Maxson, dean of the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS). "He has also benefited the theater-going public in eastern Iowa through his key role in selecting and directing productions for the University's mainstage. Iowa Summer Rep in particular has been an enormously successful, sustained act of public outreach and professional engagement for Eric."

Forsythe, who joined the UI theatre arts faculty in 1986, heads the directing program and formerly led the acting program. He received his bachelor's degree from Dartmouth College and a Master of Fine Arts and a doctorate from Carnegie Mellon University. His training with legendary director Jerzy Grotowski's Lab Theatre in Poland formed the basis for his teaching and acting/directing philosophy.

"I believe that theater matters, that it changes people's lives, that truth happens here and in ways that we may never be lucky enough to experience in real life," Forsythe says.

"I continue to experience things in rehearsal and in performance that I have never experienced in life. From this perspective, in a world where truthful experience and deep, honest interaction are so rare, I find it imperative to share my convictions of theater with everyone I can, most especially the younger generation, ever so alienated and passive. When someone 'gets' it, I find a real reason for living. It's a kind of compulsion, certainly a responsibility, and ultimately a joy."

Forsythe's professional credits include hundreds of stage productions as an actor at major theaters across the country, performing with actors including Jason Robards, William Macy and Geena Davis. He has directed actors as diverse as Sylvia Sidney, Betsy Palmer, Ted Danson and John Sayles, and he has performed in many commercials, in theatrical and industrial films, on television, and for CD-ROMs and radio.

A member of Actors Equity, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and the Screen Actors Guild, he has published articles and reviews in a number of leading theater periodicals. His plays have been produced internationally.

"I teach from a professional perspective," he says. "I know the business. And I have found a way to teach it."

The professional/educational connection is exemplified in his 19 seasons as artistic director of Iowa Summer Rep, which is now in the midst of a festival of plays by Ken Ludwig. "Iowa Summer Rep is a unique institution and provides a unique laboratory for my kind of teaching," Forsythe explains. "I devote each summer to creating a retrospective of a single playwright's work. My advanced graduate and undergraduate students benefit directly by working in such a company as professionals, alongside professionals and by professional standards. It's a manifestation of my teaching that I'm very proud of."

Integrated DNA Technologies (IDT) grew out of Waldner's UI research and initially was housed in the UI Technology Innovation Center business incubator on the Oakdale campus. The company now employs more than 300 people at its corporate headquarters at 1710 Commercial Park in Coralville and has executive offices in suburban Chicago. The biotechnology company is a major force in advancing biomedical research as both a supplier of custom oligonucleotides and a developer of innovative new biotechnology. As a leading manufacturer of synthetic DNA/RNA, IDT provides products to more than 14,000 customers worldwide.

Hubbard (1921-2002), a member of the UI College of Engineering Legacy of Iowa Engineering, was an influential UI leader for half a century. After receiving a UI bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and UI master's and doctoral degrees in mechanics and hydraulics, he served as professor of mechanical engineering from 1954 until his retirement in 1991. He also served as research engineer in the Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research (IIHR) from 1946-66, dean of Academic Affairs from 1966-71, vice president for Student Services from 1971-90 and founder and director of Opportunity At Iowa from 1987-90.

As a UI administrator, Hubbard led the university toward racial equality, thus reshaping its future. Praised for his mental agility and for being the first African-American in several positions (including the first vice president in a Big Ten university), he is remembered for his strong but kindly manner, and the patience, persistence and leadership that he demonstrated as counsel to six UI presidents.

Forsythe is the fourth CLAS faculty member to receive the Hubbard Award for Outstanding Education since its inauguration in 2002. Miriam Gilbert (English) received the award in 2002, Philip Kutzko (Mathematics) in 2003 and Robert Mutel (Physics and Astronomy) in 2004.

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, ur-acr@uiowa.edu.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073, winston-barclay@uiowa.edu

PHOTOS of Iowa Summer Rep are available at http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa/photos.html.