Whittier College News Release
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WHITTIER COLLEGE COMMUNITY MOURNS LOSS OF THEATRE PROFESSOR JACK DE VRIES
WHITTIER, CA (June 15, 2005)—On Wednesday, June 8,
Whittier College Professor Emeritus of Theatre and Communication Arts Jack de
Vries passed away suddenly at his home in Whittier. The announcement was made to
the college community by Interim President Jan Legoza.
Joining the Whittier faculty in 1965, de Vries directed
more than 80 mainstage productions throughout his 40-year association with the
college. In 1981, de Vries took on additional duties, serving a one-year term as
chair of the faculty. To Whittier College, de Vries brought extensive education
and experience in theatre arts, including degrees from UCLA (C.Phil.) in theatre
history, Boston University (M.F.A.) in directing/acting, and University of
Redlands (B.A.) in drama and philosophy.
He is remembered as an enthusiastic and dedicated
leader among the faculty and particularly within the theatre department,
weathering a variety of challenges in resources, facilities, and staffing.
“After Founders Hall and the Poets Theatre burned in
1967 and before construction of the Ruth B. Shannon Center, the theatre
department was forced to conduct its performances off campus,” said Interim
President Legoza. “Jack’s unwavering support and guidance during these years
helped to maintain a strong student following and ensure the vitality of
Whittier’s theatre program.”
Recognized by his peers and by the college community as
a superior educator, de Vries was named Whittier’s Teacher of the Year in 1983
and recently was granted the title of professor emeritus by the college’s board
of trustees. Outside Whittier’s campus, de Vries authored numerous publications
and presented several broadcasts and lectures. But his career was also marked by
his genuine love for performance. In his early days as an actor, de Vries played
the role of “Claudius” in an NBC/Redlands production of Hamlet, a role for which
he was nominated for a prestigious Peabody Award. In addition, de Vries was a
playwright of four works—three of which were mounted at the Whittier campus. In
fact, his final theatrical production for Whittier, the dark comedy “Boxes,”
which he both wrote and directed, premiered at the Shannon Center in March 2005.
Recalling his colleague, Brian A. Reed, associate
professor and chair of the Department of Theatre and Communication Arts said:
“Jack de Vries’ record of teaching, advising, artistic endeavors, and service to
the college is extraordinary in many ways. He will, indeed, be missed by us
De Vries is survived by his wife, Linda and two
sisters. A memorial service will be held on Thursday, June 16, at 11:00 a.m. at
Sky Rose Chapel, Rose Hills Memorial Park, 3888 S. Workman Mill Rd., Whittier,
Founded by Quakers in 1887, Whittier College is an
independent, four-year college offering a traditional liberal arts program
integrated with both professional and pre-professional courses of study. With an
emphasis on diversity, community, and curricular innovation, the College’s
primary mission is to endow students with the education, skills, and values
appropriate for global leadership and service.
Whittier Law School, which is accredited by the
American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law
Schools, is located on a separate campus in Orange County.