The Western Michigan University Department of Theatre makes annual awards of scholarships in several categories and for varying amounts. These are made in recognition of the variety of talents necessary for success in the performance, design, technical, stage management and arts management areas of the theatre.

Screening Procedures

New majors are considered for scholarships by their audition/interview. Current students compete in March of each year. Notification for applications will appear here and on the physical callboard.

The faculty and staff will make final recommendations of the recipients of all scholarships to the Chair. They shall have the prerogative to weigh criteria for selection in whatever way they deem appropriate or to withhold awarding the scholarship if, in their opinion, there is no qualified applicant. 

University Scholarships and Financial Aid 

Department of Theatre awards are made on the basis of academic achievement, experience, accomplishments and service.  Some Department scholarships also take into account financial need.  The University’s Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships also provides awards based on academic achievement and financial need. Current financial assistance information is available from the Financial Aid Office at (269) 387-6000. 

  • Theatre Scholarship Application
  • York Scholarship Application | York Scholarship Guidelines 

Available Scholarships

  • Beverly Belson Music Theatre Performance/Theatre Performance Scholarship - Dr. Belson is Professor Emerita of Counselor Education and, for many years, was the University Ombudsperson. Upon her retirement, President Diether Haenicke created a scholarship in her name and she designated it for the Music Theatre Performance and Theatre Performance programs.
  • Evelyn Burke Scholarship - Ms. Burke (’29) was a student of Laura V. Shaw and a major supporter of theatre at Western, the Barn Theatre, and the Civic. She is the first known University Theatre season ticket subscriber. She taught in the public schools from 1927, first in St. Joseph and then in Battle Creek, until she retired in 1971.
  • Robert & Marion Denison Scholarship - Robert and Marion Denison, both alumni of WMU, initially established this award for our Theatre Education program. Mrs. Denison served on the Board of Directors of the University Theatre Guild. When Theatre Education was phased out in 2002, they designated the scholarship for the Design/Technical Theatre program.
  • Vlada and Irene Dimac Loans - A short-term loan fund with low interest rates is available through the Department of Theatre for the benefit of majors and minors.
  • Marcella & Philip Faustman Music Theatre & Theatre Performance Scholarship - Mr. Faustman (BA ’54, MA ’62) served in the Navy during World War II and taught in the public schools in Minnesota and Michigan (Richland and Portage), as well as at WMU. Mrs. Faustman is Professor Emerita of the School of Music and along with her husband, is a supporter of both the Music Theatre Performance and Theatre Performance programs. A faculty office is named in their honor.
  • John & Susanna Gemela Memorial Scholarship - Ms. Irene Bibza created this scholarship in 1996 for our Design and Technical Theatre program in honor of John and Susanna Gemela. Ms. Bibza has taught several classes at WMU, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, including textiles, clothing construction, and tailoring.
  • Arthur & Martha Hearron Music Theatre Performance Scholarship - Mr.s and Mrs. Hearron were major supporters of both the Department’s Music Theatre Performance program and the Design Studio. They were among the first donors to both areas, are responsible for initiating the University Theatre Guild’s mentoring program, and sponsored a faculty office in the Gilmore Theatre Complex. Marti Hearron's love for our students and their work was unmatched - her generosity was endless.
  • Jean Horneffer Theatre Scholarship - Jean Horneffer and her husband Hal were major supporters of the University Theatre. Jean served on the University Theatre Guild Board of Directors for many years, hosted Guild events in her home, and with her 
husband Hal, became avid fans of the department’s participation in the 
American College Theater Festival.
  • Mary & R.E. Jackson Scholarship - Both alumni of WMU, Ms. Jackson was a student of Laura V. Shaw and Mr. Jackson was a graduate of the School of Business. Ms. Jackson appeared on the television series The Waltons for the life of that program and on two occasions returned to her alma mater to appear in productions of The Ponder Heart and Foxfire.
  • David P. Karsten Scholarship - For many years Dr. Karsten (“K”) was a Professor in the Department teaching courses in acting and directing as well as staging many productions in all genres. He also appeared on stage, playing leading characters in Equus, All My Sons, and M. Butterfly. He was the first director to stage a major production in the Williams Theatre in 1995. This scholarship was initiated by his daughter, Barbara Karsten-Rose, a WMU Theatre graduate (’93), and alumnus Paul Kelly (’78). Awarded to a Theatre Performance major.
  • Katherine Larsen Scholarship - Kathie was a junior at WMU studying to become a high school teacher, majoring in Theatre and English. She was an accomplished violinist and worked as a counselor at the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. Kathie was a student assistant in the Theatre Department Office and also was the Usher Corps Manager at Miller Auditorium. She died suddenly on September 27, 1998, and her family and friends established this scholarship in her memory. Kathie wrote the following letter from camp: “I love camp… I can be positive, enthusiastic, and caring. The rewards are amazing! Becoming a part of young girls’ lives for a short moment, but influencing for a lifetime, is exactly what life should be. Wow!”Awarded to a Performance major with an emphasis in directing.
  • Cornelius Loew College of Fine Arts Scholarship—Dr. Loew served as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 1965 to 1977 before becoming Provost of WMU in 1978.He was responsible for the creation of the College of Fine Arts. This scholarship was created in his honor and is for any CFA student.It is rotated among the four units in the College of Fine Arts: Theatre, Art, Music and Dance.
  • Marineau/Mazzie Music Theatre Performance Scholarship - This award was established in 2003 from the proceeds of a benefit performance in honor of WMU’s Centennial. Barbara Marineau (’76) and Marin Mazzie (’82) are both Broadway stars, having appeared in many of the major musicals and plays of our time. Mazzie has been nominated three times for a Tony award. Both actresses have returned numerous times to their alma mater to offer master classes for our Music Theatre Performance majors. Mazzie was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts by her alma mater on the stage of the Hershfeld Theatre in 1998.
  • Robert d. Maverick Theatre and Dance Endowed Scholarship - Robert d. Maverick,  a 1982 WMU graduate, is currently a much 
sought-after make-up artist in Hollywood. He has been inducted into the
Department of Theatre Alumni Academy. This scholarship is awarded to a student who graduated from a Michigan high school and is a major in design and technical production.
  • Lynn McCauley Scholarship - Dr. McCauley was Director of WMU’s Center for Academic Support Programs. She joined the faculty in 1978 as Assistant Professor of Social Science and in 1981 was named coordinator of the Writing Lab and Director of the Intellectual Skills Development Program. She was appointed Director of University Curriculum in 1985. She was an ardent supporter of the Theatre program at WMU. An application is available through financial aid.
  • Beulah and Harold McKee Scholarship - Harold “Mac” (BS ’32) and Beulah (BS ’34) each spent 39 years as public school educators in Kalamazoo County, Beulah in elementary schools and Mac as a physical education teacher and coach. While at WMU, he lettered twice in football and both were major supporters of WMU athletics. Beulah’s other love was theatre. Both were founding members of the WMU Foundation and the President’s Club. The WMU Alumni Center and the McKee Society are named for these two devoted graduates.

One award is given each year to an entering freshman who shows outstanding promise as a theatre major in Theatre Education, Performance, or Design/Technical Production. A minimum of 3.0 GPA is required. Evidence of a strong commitment and professional attitude toward theatre as an arts discipline is also considered.

  • Hearron/Sommerfeld Music Theatre Scholarship - Available to full-time students in the Music Theatre Performance curriculum, these scholarships are based on talent and are renewable upon application to students maintaining a GPA of 3.0 or above.
  • Beth Louis Critchett Sebaly and Avis Leo "Mike" Sebaly Scholarship - Dr. Sebaly (BA ’33) is Professor Emeritus of Education and Professional Development. He taught at Western from 1945 until his retirement in 1985 as Chair of the department of Directed Teaching and Acting Head of the HEPR Department, as well as Associate Dean of Education in 1975. Louise Sebaly was in the WMU Players in the 1930s.
  • Laura V. Shaw/David Wayne Scholarships - Miss Shaw became Chair of what was then called the Department of Speech in 1921 and held that post until 1953. With the aid of a few faculty members designing sets and costumes, Miss Shaw built the program into a vital part of the campus community. The productions were staged in The Playhouse (Old Eames Mill).In 1968, the Board of Trustees named our largest performance space the Laura V. Shaw Theatre in her honor.

    Although not a graduate of WMU, Mr. Wayne studied with Laura Shaw after graduating from Bloomingdale High School in Michigan. He studied briefly at WMU before launching his career in professional theatre in New York.In 1967, he gave a gift of 52 head of Angus cattle to the university, the sale of which established an endowment. Mr. Wayne returned to Western in 1977, along with Mary Jackson, Barbara Marineau, and other alumni to play in The Ponder Heart on Shaw stage. Mr. Wayne also won a Tony Award for his portrayal of Sakini in John Patrick’s Teahouse of the August Moon.

Several scholarships are awarded annually to theatre majors who give evidence of a genuine interest in theatre, demonstrate accomplishments in theatre, and have accumulated a GPA of no less than 3.0.

  • Jennifer, Katherine, Karen and Megan Smith Music and Theatre Students’ Academic and Artistic Emergency/Special Project Needs Fund - This scholarship is divided between the School of Music and the 
Department of Theatre. Qualifying emergency/special projects needs
could include support for: tuxedo/formals and other dress required for special performances; required travel for extraordinary artistic opportunities; music scores; theatre make-up kits; student production
costs; books and other curricula costs; etc. Requests can be made directly to the chair of the Department of Theatre.
  • Dr. Carol Payne-Smith, Professor Emeritus, Teaching, Learning, and Leadership - along with her late husband, Dr. Robert Smith, Professor Emeritus, Communications, established this scholarship in the names of their children. Robert was a long-time friend, colleague and teacher of theatre at WMU and in the greater Kalamazoo area.
  • Janet Stillwell Music Theatre Scholarship - Dr. Stillwell, Professor Emerita of Dance and former Associate Dean of the College of Fine Arts, established this scholarship for a student majoring in Music Theatre Performance. Dr. Stillwell was a strong supporter of the Music Theatre program, as well as a huge supporter of the University Theatre Guild.
  • Naomi Stucki Scholarship Fund - This scholarship, set up through the Kalamazoo Community Foundation, is intended for a junior or senior. Preference will be given to students majoring in music theatre performance or design and technical 
production, who graduated from a high school within Kalamazoo County, 
and who demonstrate financial need. 
Naomi Stucki was an actress and supporter of all of the arts in Kalamazoo. But her special love was theatre, particularly The Civic and 
University Theatres. She served on the Civic’s Board of Directors for many years as well as on the University Theatre’s Guild Board. She and her husband Jake were major donors to the addition of the Gilmore 
Theatre Complex, having the women’s dressing room named in her honor.
  • Anna L. Tobin - An Actress - Memorial Scholarship - Anna was tragically killed in a car accident in 1997 in her freshman year. This scholarship was created in her memory by her parents, Mrs. and the late Dr. Tobin, to be awarded a major in Theatre Performance.
  • D. Terry Williams Distinguished Faculty and Chair Award - The late President Emeritus, Diether Haenicke, honored Dr. Williams, faculty emeritus and former Chair of the Department of Theatre, with this scholarship in recognition for his many contributions not only to WMU, but to the entire Kalamazoo arts community. Dr. Williams, who holds a Kalamazoo Community Medal of Arts award, continues to direct and teach at WMU and to serve on many arts boards.
  • D. Terry Williams Theatre Student Enrichment Fund - This scholarship, recognizing the achievement of former Department of
 Theatre Chair, D. Terry Williams, was created to assist students with
expenses related to professional development; qualifying expenses shall include but not be limited to: books, conference attendance, portfolio development, tuition, special project costs, travel and research expenses and other items appropriate for a student’s artistic and professional development. Requests can be made directly to the chair of the Department of Theatre.
  • D. Kenneth Wilson Scholarship - Dr. Wilson graduated with a major in Speech Pathology and Audiology in 1939. He was a member of the “Players” theatre group here at WMU.
  • Zack L. York Theatre Scholarship - Dr. York was a student of Laura Shaw’s and a 1935 alumnus of WMU. He joined her on the faculty in 1941 as director, designer, technical director, and teacher. He was named Chairman of the Speech Department upon her retirement in 1953.Dr. York’s scholarship is the result of an endowment campaign that raised over $100,000 to establish the Department’s most prestigious award. In April of 2003, the Board of Trustees conferred an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts on Dr. York for his many years of outstanding service, artistry, and humanity to Western and the community at large. Awarded to an outstanding major who transcends the ordinary through service to the community.
  • College of Fine Arts Music Theatre Performance Scholarship - Given annually with support from the CFA to a Music Theatre Performance major.
  • University Theatre Guild Scholarships & Book Awards - The University Theatre Guild offers numerous scholarships and book awards each year as a part of its mission to support theatre students through financial aid. The Guild has been supporting the Department since its foundation in 1982. Scholarships are awarded to freshmen and upperclassmen. The student must have a 3.0 GPA both cumulative and in the theatre major and must be active and consistent in participating in the theatre production program. A minimum of 12 semester hours must be carried at the time of application and during the year of the award.