Endowed Chair Created in Honor of Dean Peter Sargent | Webster University

Endowed Chair Created in Honor of Dean Peter Sargent

Peter Sargent This is the third endowed position at Webster University

ST. LOUIS J(MAY 1, 2015) – A new endowed chair has been created in honor of Peter E. Sargent, Dean of the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts. The Peter E. Sargent Chair made possible by Laura House Herring ’70 and Mary Alice Dwyer-Dobbin ‘63 was established by the two named Webster University alumnae through a combined estate gift.

Laura House Herring ’70 and Mary Alice Dwyer-Dobbin ‘63 wish to recognize Sargent’s work at Webster University and with theatre groups at both local and national levels, noting in a joint statement that “His vision and commitment to his students, his staff and the Webster University community deserve to be recognized with a lifetime endowed chair.” The individual who is selected to receive the chair position will fulfill the University’s standards of teaching, service, and scholarship with a special focus on enhancing the Conservatory of Theatre Arts through scholarship, outreach, partnerships, and global contexts.

The Sargent Chair is the first endowed faculty position within the University’s College of Fine Arts and the third endowed position at Webster University. Its establishment coincides with Webster University’s Centennial Celebration and a half-century of Sargent’s leadership in the arts, both at Webster University and through his service to essential elements of the region’s arts community, including Opera Theatre of St. Louis, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, and The Municipal Theatre Association of St. Louis, to name just a few.

“I am grateful for the generosity of these alumni who support Webster in so many ways, including current and/or recent service as Webster trustees,” said Elizabeth (Beth) J. Stroble, president of Webster University. “By establishing an endowed chair honoring Peter Sargent, they contribute to the continued success of the Conservatory and its signature programs into our next century.  Endowed gifts assure support for faculty, students, and programs into perpetuity; I can think of no better way to celebrate Webster’s Centennial year. "

In addition to the recognition it offers to the Sargent Chair holder, this endowment will bring prestige to the Conservatory of Theatre Arts by supporting initiatives that will sustain and grow the program both in the community and the nation. The terms suggest activities to enhance the professional training program, including but not limited to:

  • Advancing the study of acting, musical theatre, directing, theatre studies and dramaturgy, design, technical theatre, and stage management across the University’s network of campuses through research, scholarship or academic publishing;
  • Engaging with organizations and events related to the theatre arts to cultivate community interest in professional training opportunities;
  • Developing academic and co-curricular initiatives related to the theatre arts;
  • Using theatre arts to highlight topics of broad, contemporary importance in a global context.

“This gift helps the Conservatory raise the bar on its exemplary programming for students while permanently honoring one of the outstanding leaders and faculty members who made it a nationally renowned success,” said Julian Schuster, Webster University’s provost, chief operating officer and senior vice president. “This is the second endowed position founded this year, and both were created by generous donors who wished to extend to current and future students the same opportunities that have made Webster University what it is today.”

In January, a donation to Webster University from Larry and Jinny Browning established the Laurance L. Browning, Jr. Endowed Professorship in Biological Sciences in the College of Arts & Sciences. The University’s first endowed position is the Jane and Bruce Robert Endowed Professorship in French and Francophone Studies, which was established in 2010.

“I find it a significant honor to be recognized with the first named, endowed chair in the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts and to be so identified,” Sargent said.  “It is humbling, yet rewarding to know the donation by two remarkable supporters will provide significant strength to The Conservatory of Theatre Arts and will ensure the fact Webster University will continue to have a reputation as a national leader in training future theatre artists to have significant impact in their communities and in the world.”

With its home campus in St. Louis, Webster University (www.webster.edu) is the only Tier 1, private, non-profit U.S.-based university providing a network of international residential campuses and a robust online learning program. Founded in 1915, Webster University’s campus network today includes metropolitan, military and corporate locations around the world, as well as traditional campuses in Asia, Europe, North America, and Africa. The university is committed to delivering high-quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence.