Alumni Focus: Mark Shanda

Name: Mark Shanda

Major at ISU: Speech/Theatre & Political Science

Graduation Year: 1982

Hometown: Perry, IA, USA

Current Residence: Lexington, KY, USA

What were you involved in during your time at ISU? Properties Designer for: Diary of Anne Frank, Bus Stop, The Wizard of Oz. Lighting Designer All My Sons, scenic Designer The Fantastics. Properties Designer and Stage Manager Charley’s Aunt. Fly Op She Stoops to Conquer

What do you currently do for a living? Dean - College of Fine Arts, University of Kentucky

Can you shar a particularly interesting or inspiring story that has occurred in your career? Based in my start in ISU’s liberal arts theatre program, (plus my double major in Political Science), I easily was admitted to graduate school, served on the faculty at The Ohio State University for 31 years, became Dean of Arts and Humanities there and even became President of USITT. A great start to a remarkable career.

Are you involved in Music, Theatre, or the Performing Arts in any ways outside of your profession? An avid audience member. Have co-authored two books. Have a School of Music, School of Art and Visual Studies, Department of Arts Administration, Department of Theatre and Dance, UK Art Museum and a performing arts center to oversee.

Are there other ways you participate in your community and engage as a Citizen Artist? Have served in many not-for-profit boards, very active in the Presbyterian Church, and remain very active in USITT, currently chairing their Development Committee.

How did your time at ISU prepare you for your career? Being able to be “hands on” with all aspects of production and serving as the student rep on the theatre faculty gave me an outstanding foundation for success.

What was your favorite experience in music or theatre at ISU? The strength of the production of Diary of Anne Frank.

What was your favorite class while you were at ISU? Why? Scenic Design with Ron Steger. Arts Admin with Geri Maschio. Two great teachers that remain friends of mine even today.

How was your involvement in music and theatre beneficial in different parts of your life? There is no better training for life than theatre, where one is exposed to the diversity of the human condition, work collaboratively, creatively problem solve, and develop a healthy work ethic on projects that have a beginning, middle, and end.

Any words of wisdom for current or prospective students? Remember the faculty artists with whom you get to study are there because they love to teach. Knock on their office doors (or schedule a Zoom) and just get to know them.