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University of Central Missouri
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Nov. 17, 2010) – The University of Central Missouri College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences announces that Richard J. Herman, Ph.D., is the first recipient of the Meridith Harmon Sauer Endowed Distinguished Professorship in Theatre. The Meridith Harmon Sauer Endowed Distinguished Professorship is made possible through the generosity of Warrensburg residents Lynn and Jackie Harmon and the commitment of their daughter, Meridith Harmon Sauer, to theatre.
The Distinguished Professorship will be a three-year renewable appointment in the Department of Theatre. Selection for the award was made by a committee in the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, and Herman, who currently chairs the department, said he is “honored and humbled” to receive the professorship.
“Meredith was an outstanding undergraduate theatre student and is a top-notch high school theatre instructor. Through the generosity of the Harmon family, the Department of Theatre faculty and students will share in the benefits for generations to come,” Herman said.
The gift provided by the Harmons established the professorship to enhance the work of faculty which will naturally benefit students. Applications for this professorship will be sought every three years from among professionals who have distinguished themselves in different areas of theatre. Candidates for this award will ordinarily be associate or full professors who are able to teach and inspire students to further develop and share their talents.
Herman joined the theatre faculty at UCM in 1987 and was promoted to full professor in 1997. He has served as chair of the department since 2001. Under his guidance UCM students have garnered numerous awards from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. He has twice been awarded outstanding director from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, and serves on national committees for KCACTF.
Herman has directed over 50 mainstage productions at UCM, has served as company manager for Central Missouri Repertory and performed as a professional actor on stage and in film. His original script of the musical Dracula was produced by Central Missouri Repertory in 2003.
His teaching has been recognized by the Speech and Theatre Association of Missouri with the Wayne Brown Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2006.
Herman earned a Bachelor of Arts in Speech and Drama degree at Marymount College of Kansas in 1976, a Master of Arts in Theatre at UCM in 1978, and a Ph.D. in Theatre at Texas Tech University in 1986.
The Meridith Harmon Sauer Endowed Distinguished Professorship in Theatre is the first permanently endowed professorship at Central Missouri. Lynn and Jackie Harmon established the award in honor of their youngest daughter, who is a speech and theatre teacher in the Warrensburg R-VI School District. Meridith Harmon Sauer is a Central Missouri alumna with strong university ties on both sides of her family with her husband, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles holding a variety of UCM degrees. Many family members also graduated from College High School, including both her parents in 1962.