Students in Ithaca College’s Department of Theatre Arts will soon have the opportunity to take classes from visiting artists, managers and designers, thanks to a generous gift from an alumna.
Dori Meyers ’84, who majored in drama at the college, has committed $500,000 to endow a fund that will support visiting professionals to teach classes for faculty members in the department who are on sabbatical.
“Ithaca is very important to me, and I wanted to do something that I think plugged a hole in the department’s needs,” said Meyers, who lives outside of Chicago. “I’m really excited to see what comes of it and who comes in to inspire the current students.”
Meyers said she always wanted to give back to the theatre arts department, which became a second family to her after she arrived on campus. “My college experience was very much Dillingham Center and all the people who lived and worked within those walls,” she said.
She thought of the idea for the endowment after talking with Catherine Weidner, the department chair, who mentioned the need for visiting professors to fill in for faculty on sabbatical. The visiting professors will teach classes for up to two semesters.
After graduation, Meyers worked as a professional stage manager, an event planner and a public relations specialist. She now volunteers on the board of KIDSS (Kindness Is Doing Something Special) for Kids, Inc., an organization that provides emotional, spiritual and social support for children at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago.
Meyers said she hopes her gift will encourage other alumni to consider giving back to the college in whatever way they can. “If this gift can inspire any of my peers to reach out and do something, that would be fantastic,” she said. “If someone were to look at this and say, ‘Wow, I never thought of that,’ this can have a ripple effect.”