Kenyon Marks Stage Entrance and ExitGAMBIER, Ohio (February 12, 2008) Jonathan Tazewell '84, associate professor of drama, has been named to the Thomas S. Turgeon Professorship in Drama.
The endowed chair, funded by a number of Turgeon's former students, was announced on June 1, during the kickoff event for the "We Are Kenyon: The Drive for Excellence" campaign.
As student, as fellow performer, and as academic colleague, Tazewell has enjoyed a long association with Turgeon, professor of drama.
"It's a huge honor for me," Tazewell said. "It's always gratifying to feel recognized by the College, certainly with something as significant as an endowed chair.
"In addition, my relationship with Tom Turgeon is quite a long one. Having been my professor, this is meaningful to me in so many ways," he said. "I feel a certain responsibility to carry on the legacy. I'm happy to take it on."
Turgeon, who is on sabbatical leave, retires at the end of June. "I'm delighted that Jon's got it," Turgeon said. "I couldn't be happier about it."
Both men mentioned that the Department of Dance and Drama, now chaired by Tazewell, is in a transition marked by Turgeon's impending departure and the 2005 retirement of Harlene Marley, professor emerita of drama. "Priorities have to change to suit the new crowd of people," Turgeon said. "And they're working on that very conscientiously."
A growing interest in film studies is not alien to Turgeon, who taught the College's first film course. But students, he said, will always want to perform on stage and they will benefit from the experience.
Balancing drama and film studies is an ongoing goal for Tazewell. Students and alumni can count on the core curriculum. "That won't change," he said. "Baby Drama (Introduction to the Theater) is alive and well and will continue to be."
Tazewell's appreciation of the Kenyon tradition in drama is bolstered by his experience as a student in a successful generation that includes actress Allison Janney '82 and playwright Wendy MacLeod '81. "Too, it is time for us as a department to examine what we are doing and see whether what we are doing is what we should keep doing. We want to keep it fresh and exciting and still inspire these students."
Tazewell has taught at Kenyon since 1991. He returned to the College two years after graduation to work in the admissions office. He earned a masters degree from the California Institute of the Arts in directing for theater, video, and cinema in 1994. He works as an actor, director, and writer, including productions at Kenyon and with the Arden Theater Company and Walnut Street Theater in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Contemporary American Theatre Company and Red Herring Theater in Columbus, Ohio; and in several independent films.