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Jon Whitmore, Director and Producer

Monday, September 22, 2008

University presidents come from all walks of life, but few share President Whitmore's academic background in theater. And it's not just academic for him. Over the years, Whitmore has rolled up his sleeves many times to direct more than 60 theatrical productions including plays, improvisations, mimes, happenings and performance pieces such as "Equus" by Peter Shaffer, "The Sea Gull" by Anton Chekov, "The Glass Menagerie" by Tennessee Williams and "The Mousetrap" by Agatha Christie.

President Whitmore sitting in theatre
Bass Concert Hall, University of Texas at Austin, circa 1990. Courtesy of the Whitmore family.

In fact, in his Fall Welcome Address, the president said his theatrical work was excellent preparation for his current position.

"Leading a university is like directing a play. The director must have a vision of what the play could be like. He then needs to people the production with experts in sound, sets, costumes, lighting, and of course, cast a talent-laden group of actors. A good director draws all of these people together, gets them to share a vision of what is possible, motivates each participant to use his or her talents to the fullest, and lets them be creative. The director's ongoing role is getting the right people in the right places and steering things in the right direction."

- President Jon Whitmore