Herman Honored with Prestigious Kennedy Center Gold Medal
Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Jan. 28, 2014) – Considered the most prestigious regional award presented by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) and one of the great honors in theatre education, the Kennedy Center Gold Medallion 2014 honors Richard Herman, chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Central Missouri. Herman accepted the award during a presentation made at the Lied Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln on Friday, Jan. 24.
Longtime University of Central Missouri educator Richard Herman displays the prestigious Kennedy Center Gold Medallion, recognition he received recently from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.
The Kennedy Center Gold Medallion in presented annually to recognize individuals or organizations that have made extraordinary contributions to the teaching and producing of theatre. Recipients have significantly dedicated their time, artistry and enthusiasm to the development of KCACTF. Additionally, recipients must have demonstrated a strong commitment to the values and goals of KCACTF and to excellence in educational theatre.
Herman, who has dedicated approximately 27 years to theatre programs and students at UCM, has a long history with KCACTF since attending his first KCACTF Region Festival as an educator in 1979. After 35 years of involvement with the Kennedy Center, this award is especially important to him.
“I am extremely and humbled and honored by this recognition,” Herman said. “It means a great deal to be recognized by the Kennedy Center and their dedication to supporting educational theatrical excellence.”
Herman currently serves on KCACTF’s National Executive Team as member at large for the National Playwriting Program. In April 2014, he becomes the program’s national vice-chair. He is also a former Region V chair of NPP, having served as assistant Irene Ryan acting coordinator, Regional Selection Team member, director of the Ten Minute Play Festival, workshop leader, regional respondent, Irene Ryan judge and an Irene Ryan candidate.
This is not the first time Herman has been honored by KCACTF. He also received two KCACTF Meritorious Achievement Awards for Outstanding Direction for “Side By Side By Sondheim” and a “A Tale of Two Heroes.” He has brought three invited scenes to the regional festival, and productions of “The Elephant Man” and “Some Assembly Required” were alternates to the festival. In 2013 his production of “Blue Window” was an Invited Production at the Region V Festival.
Recipients of the Kennedy Center Gold Medallion are also honored for the work they have accomplished at their own colleges and universities. Herman joined UCM theatre department in 1987, and he helped establish the BlackBox Experimental Theatre Program in fall 1988, which has been renamed the Richard Herman BlackBox Theatre program. He climbed the faculty ranks to become a professor and was promoted in 2001 to department chair. In 2010, he was recognized as the first Meridith Harmon Sauer Endowed Professor of Theatre and Dance and Department Chair.
Herman’s work at UCM has included establishing the Theatre for Young Audiences National Playwriting Competition, developing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre degree program, a dance program, dance minor, increasing the number of faculty members and students in the theatre department, and leading the department to national accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Theatre. Herman has also written plays, contributed scholarly works to journals in his field, and made presentations and conducted workshops for professional groups across the country
Herman said he is proud of UCM faculty members and students who have been honored over the years by KCACTF. They received numerous Meritorious Service Awards and regional recognitions, and UCM students have attended the Kennedy Center’s National Festival, where they participated in Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Auditions, the John Cauble Short Play Festival, National Critics Institute, Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers Directing Scenes, National Stage Management Fellowship, Barbizon Lighting Design, and the Alcone Company Makeup Design events.
In addition to his recent recognition by KCACTF, the longtime UCM professor has received numerous honors recognizing his work as an educator. He’s a recipient of the university’s highest faculty honor, the Byler Distinguished Faculty Award, and a past recipient of the Missouri Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. He also received the Marymount College Alpha Chi Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the Speech and Theatre Association of Missouri Outstanding Teacher Award.