March 3, 2014
The chairman of Texas Tech University’s Department of Theatre & Dance recently was honored by the Actors Hall of Fame for his work with the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Arts Festival.
Along with his duties at Texas Tech, Mark Charney also serves as national coordinator for the Kennedy Center’s Institute for Theatre Journalism and Advocacy and its Dramaturgy Initiative. He was cited as instrumental in furthering education and embodying the mission of the Actors Hall of Fame: to educate, to inspire and to connect.
“This came as a total surprise, honoring me for my dedication to students and education and my two decades of work in that direction,” Charney said. “It was a lovely moment, and it also was quite an honor to be recognized by such an incredible group of artists. I appreciate the Actors Hall of Fame because they have an educational mission, unlike most halls of fame. CEO Rusty Citron has a vision that includes collaborating with Texas Tech. I am especially proud to create opportunities for my students.”
Charney said he has championed criticism throughout the U.S. through the Kennedy Center, and he created the new Institute for Theatre Journalism and Advocacy, revising the National Critics Institute.
He’s worked with theater critics across the country, including Bob Mondello from NPR, Michael Feingold from The Village Voice, Nelson Pressley from The Washington Post and Peter Marks, from The New York Times and The Washington Post.
“I believe that any good chairman needs to look for national opportunities for his or her students, and this sort of induction with a hall of fame interested in education should help to get my students acting and directing for film and television in the future,” Charney said. “That’s exciting. And, of course, to be honored in the same evening with folks like Meryl Streep, Robert DeNiro, Olivia de Haviland, among others, is a huge honor I won’t soon forget.”
Charney hails from South Carolina and Clemson University, where he worked as chairman of English and director of theatre, among many other administrative offices. Raised in a mill town in South Carolina, Charney attended Clemson University for his bachelor’s degree, the University of New Orleans for his master’s degree and Tulane University for his doctorate.
Carol Edwards, dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, said Charney’s recognition is a reflection of his desire to make a difference in this world through engaging others in understanding the human condition through the arts.
“This national award brings significant recognition to Texas Tech of the type of student-focused education that our students receive - contemporary, relevant, engaged learning,” she said. “Indeed, the highest praise for educational excellence.”