W. James Wood, an associate professor at South Dakota State University, has been selected as the J.P. Hendrickson Liberal Arts Faculty Scholar and will deliver the Herbert Cheever Jr. lecture at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 18.
Wood is the artistic director of theatre and dance at SDSU. During the summers, he acts and directs with Prairie Repertory Theatre. An actor, director, designer, manager and playwright, he prides himself on being considered a theatre generalist.
Specific areas of interest include stage combat, dialects and management. He directed the premier production of his play, “Chameleon Love” in 2014. Wood is also the Immediate Past Region 5 Chair of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival and now he serves on the National Executive Committee. He is also the proud recipient of the Kennedy Center Gold Medallion and the F.O. Butler Award for Service.
Wood’s presentation, “Connections: Using Theatre to Listen, Learn and Evolve,” will dive into the value of the arts. “Many people think of theatre as purely entertainment, but if we dig deeper, we find that it is a direct reflection of our climate and culture,” explained Wood. “Using theatre as a tool for self-reflection and growth, we make inherent connections and discoveries that are indispensable in the human experience.”
The awards are named after two former professors in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. One is John Philip Hendrickson, a former department head of political science from 1957 to 1988. The other, Herbert Cheever Jr., also served as department head of political science and the dean of the then College of Arts and Sciences for nine years.
The J.P. Hendrickson Faculty Scholar award “stimulates collective thinking about the importance and value of providing all students with the strongest liberal arts experience and education in and out of the classroom.” The Herbert Cheever Jr. lecture is the celebration of the value of liberal arts education within the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. Both emphasize the importance of liberal arts education in our world today.
“I am incredibly honored to be selected as the J.P. Hendrickson Faculty Scholar and to deliver the Herbert Cheever Jr. Liberal Arts Lecture,” said Wood. “I am excited to be given this platform as a means to articulate the value and necessity of theatre in our culture and lives.”
The J.P. Hendrickson and Herbert Cheever Jr. lecture will be held at the Oscar Larson Performing Arts Center in the Oscar Larson Theatre. This event is free and open to the public.