Kutztown University officials will award an honorary doctorate degree to alumnus and Signature Theatre Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer ('84) at a spring 2012 commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 12 at 2:00pm. Mr. Schaeffer will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters, litterarum humanarum doctor, honoris causa, for his contributions to the arts, theater and performance in a ceremony for both undergraduate and graduate classes of the Colleges of Visual & Performing Arts and Liberal Arts & Sciences. Lieutenant GenerAl Richard C. Zilmer ('74), USMC (Ret.) will receive a Doctor of Public Service at an earlier ceremony, for his more than 35 years of service with the U.S. Marine Corps.
Schaeffer, a native of Fleetword, Pennsylvania, attended Kutztown University from 1980 - 1984 and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. He stated, "It's an honor to receive this degree from Kutztown University which proved to be such a force in my formative years."
"We're very proud of our 1984 alumnus, Eric Schaeffer," said Kutztown University president Dr. F. Javier Cevallos. "His commitment to excellence in the arts is a tribute to his character, hard work and determination. Washington's Signature Theater is a beacon to theatrical originality and creative composition. Eric's lifetime contribution to the arts thus far has earned him industry praise and well-deserved recognition. KU is fortunate to have Eric Schaeffer as a part of our extended family."
Eric Schaeffer is the co-founder and Artistic Director of Signature Theatre in Arlington, Va. The Theatre received the 2009 Regional Theatre Tony Award® and is home to the American Musical Voices Project – the largest musical commission program in America. At Signature Theatre, Schaeffer has directed more than 60 productions and led the Theatre to 77 Helen Hayes Awards along with 305 nominations for excellence in the past 22 years. He was named 'Washingtonian of the Year' in 2002.
Mr. Schaeffer has directed Follies, Million Dollar Quartet, Glory Days and Putting it Together on Broadway. He has also directed on the West End in London with Million Dollar Quartet and The Witches of Eastwick. He directed the national tours of Big, Barbie and Million Dollar Quartet. At The Kennedy Center, he served as Artistic Director of the Sondheim Celebration in 2002 where he also directed Sunday in the Park with George and Passion along with Mame and Follies. He has directed productions at the Mark Taper Forum, Goodman Theatre, Ford's Theatre and Arena Stage among others.
Mr. Schaeffer holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Kutztown University along with extended studies, Crewe and Alsager College of Visual Arts, Crewe, England. He is currently directing Follies at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, First You Dream for The Kennedy Center in June 2012 and a new production of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas for Signature Theatre in the fall.