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Theatre named in honor of D. Terry Williams

June 18, 2007

KALAMAZOO--Dr. D. Terry Williams, professor and longtime chair of Western Michigan University's Department of Theatre, will retire at the end of the month with a performance space named in his honor.

Formerly known as the Multiform Theatre, the innovative theatre space in the Gilmore Theatre Complex has been renamed the "D. Terry Williams Theatre," to mark the many contributions the educator and director has made to both the University and community. The theatre's new name was unveiled during a May celebration of Williams' 25-year career at WMU. Attending the event were some 100 colleagues, community friends and students.

In addition to naming the theatre in his honor, supporters also established the D. Terry Williams Endowment for Theatre Student Enrichment. It is their hope that it will continue his rich tradition of support for students.

Two past longtime heads of the theatre program, Laura V. Shaw and Zack L. York, also have performance theatres in the Gilmore Complex named for them.

Williams joined WMU in 1982 as chair of the Department of Theatre. He held that post for 23 years before returning to the faculty to teach full time. While at the University, he oversaw a dramatic enhancement of its reputation in theatre circles around the world. WMU's Department of Theatre is now recognized as having one of the top undergraduate training programs in the nation. It has been selected for the American College Theater Festival's regional competition five times--more than any other university in Michigan.

Williams has served on the boards of the Michigan Theatre Association and the National Association of Schools of Theatre, the accrediting association for academic theatre programs in the United States. He also was a member of the executive committee of the American College Theater's eastern region.

Before joining WMU, Williams spent 20 years as a faculty member at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, serving as director of its theatre department for the last eight. He holds a Ph.D. in theatre history and criticism from Indiana University, a master's degree from Bowling Green State University and a bachelor's degree from Grove City College.

Media contact: Tonya Hernandez, (269) 387-8400, tonya.hernandez@wmich.edu

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