Scholarships


The Department presents several scholarships and awards each spring thanks to generous donors and memorial funds. Many are named for alumni, former faculty/staff, or supporters of KU Theatre and Dance.

Scholarships List

The David E. Blackwell Scholarship provides awards for returning undergraduate and graduate students who show evidence of an interest in technical theatre. 

The fund was established in 2004 by Patrick and Mary Beth Musick, in memory of his aunt Edna Bulkeley. Donations to the endowed scholarship support outstanding dance students at the University of Kansas. 

The Margaret Bushong and Suzanne Calvin Scholarship provides awards for first year students, transfer students, undergraduate and graduate students majoring in theatre. It was established in 1993 through a bequest from the estate of Margaret Bushong.

Margaret Bushong, who was born Dec. 24, 1909, in Ottawa, graduated from KU with a bachelor's degree in music education in 1932. From 1934 to 1941, she and her two sisters, Rachel and Ione Bushong, who both also earned bachelor's degrees in music education, staged shows with marionettes they created in the 1930s and 1940s. The Bushong sisters wrote and performed scripts and music for the marionette shows, which were held in schools, libraries, museums and clubs across Kansas and in Cleveland, St. Louis, New York and Cincinnati. After tours of the marionette shows ended, the Bushong sisters opened shops in Lawrence and Kansas City, where they taught people how to make and perform with marionettes. Margaret Bushong had a nursery school in her home in Lawrence, where she performed for local children. She continued to work with marionettes at summer camps and at art workshops until the 1970s. In addition, she gave private violin lessons and taught stringed instruments in Lawrence and Eudora schools. She also hand-lettered students' names on every diploma issued by KU from 1942 to 1960. Margaret Bushong was a member of the Christian Science Church in Lawrence, where she served as a first reader and taught Sunday school for more than 50 years. She also was a member of the KU Gold Medal Club, an alumni group for KU graduates who have marked the 50th anniversary of their graduation. She died on March 21, 1991. Many of the Bushongs' marionettes have been sold and donated to museums. About 25 were sold for the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, "H.M.S. Pinafore." The Nelson Gallery in Kansas City, Mo., and the Elizabeth M. Watkins Community Museum maintain displays of Bushong marionettes.

Suzanne Calvin, Margaret Bushong's niece, was born July 2, 1940, to Clifton and Rachel Bushong Calvin. A 1958 graduate of Lawrence High School, Suzanne Calvin graduated from KU in 1962 with a bachelor's degree in speech and drama, with a minor in French. A Watkins Scholar finalist, she participated in the honors program and was nominated for the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship during her senior year at KU. She worked as a secretary at People-To-People in Kansas City from 1963 to 1965. People-To-People, a non-profit, non-political organization that was formed in 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to raise cultural and educational awareness, has offices throughout the United States and in 33 different countries. From 1965 to 1969, she worked in the public relations and advertising department of Pacific Telephone in San Francisco. In her spare time, Suzanne Calvin, who was blind, was a volunteer at KU's Audio-Reader Network, where she broadcasted cooking programs geared for the visually handicapped. She died July 11, 1977.

The Adah Hagan Clarke Scholarship in Theatre provides awards for first year students, transfer students, undergraduate and graduate students majoring in theatre. It was established in 1995 by a bequest from the estate of Charles Hagan in honor of his wife, a teacher who once played vaudeville and toured rural Kansas in chautauqua shows.

Adah Clarke Hagan was born near Hanston in western Kansas and graduated from KU in 1931. She played piano and saxophone on the chautauqua circuit and appeared in vaudeville with the Ruth Royal Rainbow Girls. Eventually, she settled into a career as an elementary school teacher in Prairie Village.

The Allen Crafton Memorial Scholarship provides an award to a returning undergraduate or graduate student majoring in theatre. 

The scholarship is named for Professor Jesse Allen Crafton (1890-1966), who founded the KU Department of Speech & Drama in 1923.

The Harry B. Craig Dance Scholarship supports outstanding dance students at the University of Kansas. 

The Allen Crafton Memorial Scholarship provides an award to a returning undergraduate or graduate student majoring in theatre. 

The scholarship is named for Professor Jesse Allen Crafton (1890-1966), who founded the KU Department of Speech & Drama in 1923.

The Julie Damron-Dittmer Scholarship was established in 2006 by Joyce Dryden Damron and provides an award to a returning undergraduate student in theatre. It was named for her youngest child, Julie, who earned her bachelor’s degree in Theatre and Film from KU in 1988. Joyce was born in 1937 in Topeka, and grew up in Topeka, Tonganoxie, Emporia and Lawrence. She remembers living in Lawrence when she was in the first and second grade and attending activities “on the hill” with her family. Joyce earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in education, both from Washburn University and says she would have been unable to attend college without the help of scholarships. Joyce was a preschool, kindergarten and first grade teacher for more than 40 years, and her favorite experiences were when she taught Air Force officers’ children on a military base. As a teacher living in Lawrence, she has fond memories of taking her kindergarten students to the KU Natural History Museum and attending many basketball games in Allen Fieldhouse with her family.

The Dixon Scholarship provides awards for deserving first year students, transfer students, undergraduate and graduate students majoring in theatre.

Barbara Eden & Jon T. Eicholtz

The Jon T. Eicholtz and Barbara Eden Acting Scholarship​ was established in 2014 to provide one full-cost undergraduate scholarship (in-state tuition, fees, books, typical residence hall room and board) for students studying to be professional actors at the University of Kansas in the theatre performance concentration of the Department. The scholarship is renewable.

After growing up in Topeka, Jon Eicholtz earned a bachelor's degree from KU in architectural engineering in 1962. His career in construction management and, later, real estate development, took him across the U.S., including New York City, Dallas, New Orleans, Honolulu and Los Angeles. Early in his career, he served as project manager during construction of Commerce Tower, a 30-story skyscraper that is prominent in the Kansas City, Missouri, skyline.

Barbara Eden is an actress and singer. She starred in the popular 1960s television series I Dream of Jeannie, which ran for five seasons. The show has aired continuously on cable and in syndications for more than four decades. She has starred in 25 feature films, five network TV series and 19 top-rated network made-for-television movies. She has headlined at major hotel resorts and casinos, including Lake Tahoe, Atlantic City and Las Vegas, and she continues to perform for audiences in the U.S. and abroad.

Eicholtz and Eden were inspired to create this scholarship after visiting campus in February of 2014 at the invitation of the Chancellor. During that trip, they visited KU Theatre and Eden spoke to students about her life and career.

Students are required to submit an audition reel for the scholarship which is presented by vote of a special committee that includes the theatre performance faculty of the Department. 

The Patricia Joyce Ellis Drama Scholarship provides awards for deserving first year students, transfer students, undergraduate and graduate students majoring in theatre.

The FROTH Reese Saricks Scholarship was established in 1985 to honor Reese, a former member of Friends of the Theatre and a retired theatre staff member.

The fund is used to provide scholarships for undergraduate or graduate students who have completed at least one semester of academic work in residence in progress toward a degree in theatre. Recipients must demonstrate a developed talent and aptitude in theatre. At the discretion of the department, financial need may also be a criterion for receipt of this scholarship.

Beverly and Howard Rosenfeld created the Dorothy and Benjamin Glick Scholarship to honor Beverly’s parents, Dorothy and Benjamin Glick, admirers of the University Theatre. Mr. and Mrs. Glick enjoyed attending University Theatre productions while visiting their family in Lawrence. They particularly enjoyed musical theatre.

The Dorothy and Benjamin Glick Scholarship provides an award for an undergraduate or graduate student with academic merit who is either a theatre major or a student in the School of the Arts who has been in, or anticipates being in, a University Theatre production. Preference shall be given to a student who participates in musical theatre and, in case of a tie, be given to the student with need.

In honor of Professor Janet Hamburg's extraordinary commitment to dance and her powerful legacy as an advocate for scholarship fundraising, contributions to this fund support scholarships to KU Dance students.

The Sally Six Hersh Memorial Scholarship was established in 2001 to honor Sally Six Hersh (1933-2001). Mrs. Hersh received a B.A. and an M.A. in speech and drama at KU and in 1954 was instrumental in developing the curriculum in children's theatre and creative dramatics and established the children's theatre for KU.

Mrs. Hersh taught speech and drama at West Junior High School for two decades and staged dozens of plays, ranging from Bye Bye Birdie to Annie. She won 20 drama and teaching awards, including the Kansas Governor's Scholar Teacher, Most Influential in Education of Students, twice. West Junior High School dedicated its theater in her honor and name. She retired in 1993.

The scholarship is used to provide scholarships for deserving undergraduate or graduate students with a special interest in Children’s Theatre. The scholarship is based on need and achievement, with the understanding that the recipient will maintain a 3.5 GPA for coursework with the Department.

The Robin J. Huggins Scholarship is funded through the estate of his mother, Laura Margaret “Peggy” Huggins who passed away in 2008. Robin attended the University of Kansas and studied theatre in the 1960s. His parents, Robert and Peggy Huggins were also graduates of KU.   

The fund is used to provide scholarships for deserving students studying theatre.

The Richard Kelton Memorial Scholarship was created by the Department of Theatre to honor Richard’s memory. Richard attended KU in the 1960s and received a Bachelor’s and a Master’s Degree in Education with a concentration in theatre. Richard moved to Hollywood after teaching high school for a year to pursue an acting career. In addition to roles in such television programs as Gunsmoke, Mission Impossible, The Waltons, and Quark, Richard appeared in a 1976 Broadway revival of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. For his performance, he received a New York Critics’ “Newcomer” Award. Richard died on the set of Centennial in 1979.

The Richard Kelton Memorial Scholarship Fund is used to provide scholarships for undergraduate students majoring in theatre with an emphasis in acting. Preference is given to a student who shows evidence of having the aptitude for becoming a professional actor. 

A fund established to provide scholarships in Dance.

Stan and Julie Lentz, formerly of Overland Park, Kansas, created the John David Lentz Memorial Scholarship Fundin 1995 to honor their son. John graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in theatre and voice and continued his training as a graduate student at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, California. He died in San Diego in 1994.

The John David Lentz Memorial Scholarship Fund provides an award for an undergraduate student majoring in theatre on the basis of need and merit.

The Moxie Talent Agency Scholarship Fund provides a scholarship or award each semester to a deserving theatre undergraduate student who is looking to pursue a career in the arts other than being an actor—whether that is as an agent, a manager or another business-related occupation in the entertainment community.

After graduation, Stacey Siegert (c ’2000), started her professional career in New York as an actor. She found that she had more of a passion for other parts of the industry. She obtained other experience by working as an assistant to the director of marketing for The Blue Man Group, as a casting assistant for Law & Order: SVU, as a business consultant to actors at TVI Actors Studio and as a manager at Wilhelmina Models. After returning to Kansas City, she worked as a Senior Agent at Exposure Model and Talent, Inc. After seven years working as an assistant, she decided to branch out on her own and open Moxie Talent Agency, LLC in October of 2013.

Eligible candidates must be pursuing the possibility of working in another role other than becoming an actor, someone who is also pursuing knowledge on the business side of the acting world. The award is based on the student’s tenacity and their curiosity of learning the business side of the business.

The New Theatre Guild was formed in 1994 by Kansas City actress Dodie Brown to promote and encourage the growth of live theater in the Greater Kansas City area. Her love of theatre and the related arts is expressed through her profession and ongoing support for the artistic community. The idea was born when Dodie was asked to use some of her friends as extras in The Sound of Music. They had so much fun during the production that it became a regular habit. This is when Dodie decided it was time to bring professional arts and arts supporters together by forming a Guild that uniquely blends the two! The Guild enjoys the support and encouragement of The New Theatre Restaurant of Overland Park, Kansas, and its owners, Dennis D. Hennessy and Richard Carrothers.

Theatre arts scholarships are the Guild's philanthropic focus. The beneficiaries are area universities who maintain outstanding theatre arts departments. Currently, the Guild funds scholarships at the University of Kansas, the University of Missouri-Kansas City, the University of Central Missouri, and Kansas State University. The Guild has awarded scholarships to students at the University of Kansas since its inception in 1994.

It currently awards the Dodie Myers Brown Scholarship, Don Knotts Scholarship, Dennis D. Hennessy & Richard Carrothers Scholarship, Jacqueline and Curt Stokes Scholarship, and William and Penny Gamm Scholarship to KU Students each year.

The Susan Tisdall Niven Scholarship was established in 1982 by Jeanne P. Tisdall to honor her daughter, Susan Tisdall Niven. Susan graduated from the Department of Theatre in 1968 and was killed in an automobile accident in 1981 while skiing in Colorado.

The fund is to be used to provide a scholarship to an incoming female graduate student in the M.A., M.F.A. or Ph.D. programs. The award is to be based on talent, academic achievement during the recipient’s undergraduate career, and a record of active participation in extracurricular activities. 

A fund established to provide scholarships in Dance to deserving students from Western Kansas (defined as all counties west of, or bisected by, Highway 81, excluding the city of Wichita).

The Claire Reinhold Scholarship in Theatre provides awards for deserving first year students, transfer students, undergraduate and graduate students majoring in theatre.

Buddy Rogers & Mary Pickford wedding portrait

Funding for the Charles “Buddy” Rogers Scholarship was provided to KU Theatre by the Mary Pickford Foundation in 1987. 

Charles 'Buddy' Rogers grew up in Olathe, Kansas, graduated from the University of Kansas, and moved to Hollywood where he started appearing in silent films by the mid-1920s. He was in two big hits right away: Fascinating Youth (1926), his first film, and Wings (1927), co-starring Clara Bow. Wings was the first feature film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture. In 1927 Buddy met film star Mary Pickford and they were married in 1937. Their marriage lasted for forty-two years, one of the longest in Hollywood history to that point.

The fund is used to provide scholarships to needy, worthy students who are citizens of the USA and not on an athletic scholarship. The additional criteria will be that they have demonstrated scholarly capabilities as well as creative capabilities that will equip them for work in theatre and/or film.

In 1984, Dr. Ambrose Saricks, in memory of his late wife Reese, created the Reese P. Saricks Memorial Fund. Upon the death of Dr. Saricks in 1993, his widow, Margaret C. “Peg” Saricks, and family members, Margaret C. Saricks and Christopher L. Saricks, asked that memorial contributions be directed to the Reese P. Saricks Memorial Fund. The name was then changed to the Ambrose Saricks Family Scholarship.

The fund is used to provide a scholarship for a graduate student who participates in community or educational theatre. 

The Clarence Seaver Technical Theatre Scholarship was created by Cheryl Wonnell, daughter of Clarence Seaver, to honor her father’s long-time service as the Scene Shop Manager at the University Theatre. Mr. Seaver was the Shop Manager for more than twenty years and was passionate about the theatre program.

The scholarship provides an award for one undergraduate and one graduate student who are planning a career in technical theatre.

Established in 1980, the Elizabeth Sherbon Scholarship fund provides scholarships to students studying dance at the University Kansas and honors the legacy of Sherbon (1908-2000), an alumna and former professor.

The Stephanie Ann Smith Memorial Scholarship was established in 2000 by De Lancey A. Smith of Mission Hills, Kansas, to honor his late daughter who loved art and design. The scholarship is awarded annually to a student pursuing a bachelor's degree in theatre design. Preference is given to students who have chosen a concentration in scenic design by the start of their junior year.

Stephanie Ann Smith began to pursue art and theatre design in a Shawnee Mission East High School production of The Sound of Music, where she created props and scenery. She continued to study art in 1964 when she came to KU. As a student, she participated in theatre design for Rock Chalk Revue performances. To earn money for college, she created store displays and studied under the guidance of the display department director at Woolf Brothers, a clothing store in Kansas City. Later, she was employed by Russell Stover Candies, Inc., where she designed packaging for candies that is still in use today. Stephanie was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer in 1966, the year she married Warren Thomas of Kansas City. Eight months later her cancer returned and she died soon thereafter.

Alexis & Craig Stevens

The Alexis and Craig Stevens Performing Arts Scholarship was established in 2001 from the estate of Craig Stevens of Hollywood, California. Alexis Smith and Craig Stevens were professional actors in television and film and were married for fifty years before Alexis' death in 1993.

Alexis Smith (June 8, 1921 – June 9, 1993) was a Canadian-born actress. She appeared in several major Hollywood movies in the 1940s and had a notable career on Broadway in the 1970s, winning a Tony Award in 1972 for Stephen Sondheim’s Follies.

Craig Stevens (July 8, 1918 – May 10, 2000) was a film and television actor and is best remembered for his role on television as the private eye Peter Gunn. Stevens was a theatre major at KU in the early 1940s.

The Alexis and Craig Stevens Performing Arts Scholarship provides awards for undergraduate and graduate students who are studying theatre and require financial aid.

Curtis Sykes (1951-1994) was an alumnus of the University of Kansas and Columbia University Law School. Before studying law, he was a professional dancer with the Solaris Dance Theatre and the Kansas City Ballet.

Kari Wahlgren (c ’99) provides a scholarship each year to a deserving theatre undergraduate student based on merit and kindness. Kari Wahlgren started her professional career in Kansas City before relocating to Los Angeles. After appearing as “Tink” in the indie film Neverland, Wahlgren began establishing herself in the voiceover world, appearing in numerous cartoons and games.

Kari is the voice of Tigress in Nickelodeon’s Emmy-winning Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness and Allie in Kaijudo on The Hub. Wahlgren has also voiced recurring roles in Phineas and Ferb, Kick Buttowski, Fish Hooks, Ben 10, MTV’s Good Vibes, Zevo-3, Wolverine and the X-Men, Li’l Bush, HBO’s Life and Times of Tim, Hulk Vs. ThorCurious George, Tak and the Power of Juju, Legion of Superheroes, Secret Saturdays, Kim Possible, Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go and The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.  Anime fans may recognize Kari from FLCL, Witch Hunter Robin, Blood+, Naruto, Durarara, and Samurai Champloo, to name just a few.

Kari voiced characters in Disney’s animated films Tinkerbell: The Secret of the Wings and Pixie Hollow Games, Tangled Ever After, BOLT, The Little Mermaid III: Ariel’s Beginning, and The Wild and was featured in Dreamworks' Shrek III.

In addition to cartoons, Wahlgren has lent her voice to over 100 video games, including the popular “Star Wars”, “Prince of Persia” and “Final Fantasy” franchises. Wahlgren’s voice has also been featured in commercials for Red Bull, Serta, and the California “Happy Cows” Cheese campaign….and she has stepped out from behind the microphone to appear on-camera in Wizards of Waverly Place, Criminal Minds, and various national commercials, including the popular Swiffer campaign.

In the spring of 2012, the family of Robert K. and Dale Jellison Weary of Junction City, KS, presented the Department with funding to be used for scholarships for undergraduate or graduate students majoring in Theatre.