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Scully Named Meridith Harmon Sauer Distinguished Professor of Theatre for 2023-2026

By Jeff Murphy, June 23, 2023


WARRENSBURG, MO – The University of Central Missouri College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (CAHSS) is pleased to announce that Dr. Aaron Scully, assistant professor of theatre, has been named the Meridith Harmon Sauer Distinguished Professor of Theatre for 2023-2026.

This endowed professorship honors significant teaching, scholarly and/or creative achievement, and academic and professional excellence. Funding for this award was generously provided by Lynn and Jackie Harmon in honor of their daughter Meridith Harmon Sauer, a UCM alumna and former instructor in speech and theatre at Warrensburg High School. The award is presented every three years.

“I am excited to see my former classmate Aaron Scully receive the endowed professorship for the coming year,” Meridith Sauer said. “His original works, creativity on stage, and leadership in the department is to be commended and we all look forward to an exciting year of UCM theatre.” 

“I am deeply humbled by this recognition,” Scully noted. “My sincerest appreciation goes to the Harmon family for their generous and continued support of UCM Theatre and Dance. I look forward to the scholarship and creative work I have planned for the professorship - and my hope is that it is of the quality deserving of this honor.”  

In his application for the award, Scully included proposals for a program to bring theatre to addiction treatment centers and research related to this program, writing and producing a new play, taking on a major acting role, and continuing his training in stage combat.

Scully earned his Ph.D. at the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2018, having joined the faculty at UCM the previous year. Since arriving at UCM, he has climbed the professional ranks from instructor to assistant professor, teaching courses in Acting, Playwriting, Theatre Management, Theatre History, Directing and General Education. He also directs for the Mainstage season.

Extending his expertise beyond the UCM campus, Scully is in his third and final year of service as the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) Region V National Playwriting Program Chair. This year, he concludes a six-year commitment to the organization, although he plans to continue serving KCACTF in a different capacity. He also recently completed his third year as the co-coordinator for the Judith Royer Excellence in Playwriting Award for the Association of Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) and will continue serving in this position. Scully regularly presents scholarship and creative work at the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) and the Mid-America Theatre Conference (MATC).

While he was working on his doctorate, Scully received the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) Region V/ATHE Innovative Teaching Award for graduate students. In 2022, he was honored with the UCM College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (CAHSS) Non-Tenure Track Excellence in Teaching Award. 

Scully is not only active in the classroom, but he shares his passion for his subject matter through his work in UCM Theatre and Dance productions. In fall 2022, he directed “Stop Kiss,” which received several meritorious achievement awards, including one for Ensemble Performance. In 2021, he directed his own adaptation of the Greek play, “Oedipus the King,” for which he received a meritorious award for adaptation from KCACTF. Last spring, he co-directed and wrote the “dance-play” “Remember the Dance,” which was produced at UCM. 

The seasoned UCM educator also serves as a co-advisor for Bachelor of Science in Speech Communication and Theatre Education majors; he advises several student organizations: Central Missouri Playwrights (which he founded), Shenanigans Improv Troupe, and Dr. Ed See’s Student Teachers’ Association. Additionally, he is the chair of University Research Council and is a member of the Faculty Senate and the Academic Programs Review Committee. 

Scully possesses Level 1 certifications in Stage Combat and Theatrical Intimacy Education. This fall, he will direct the musical, “Cinderella,” for UCM. In spring 2024, he will direct Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” 



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