Tony-winning faculty member named inaugural Hagan Chair in Theatre

January 31, 2011

Professor Anna Shapiro, director of the School of Communication DepartmentProfessor Anna Shapiro, director of the School of Communication Department of Theatre MFA Program in Directing, was recently awarded the Marjorie Hoffman Hagan, Class of 1934, Chair in Theatre.

The new endowed professorship was established with a bequest from theatre alumna Marjorie Hoffman Hagan (C34), who died at the age of 96 on Oct. 31, 2008.

Shapiro says she is honored to be the inaugural recipient of the professorship.

"Teaching at Northwestern has been the most rewarding experience of my professional life," she said. "That the university continues to support and acknowledge me at this level is as remarkable a thing as I could ever imagine. To receive an endowed chair is an honor I take very seriously, and I look forward to my continued commitment to the school, my department, my colleagues and my students."

Marjorie Hoffman Hagan (C34) left a bequest in her will to establish an endowed professorship in the Department of Theatre.
Marjorie Hoffman Hagan (C34) left a bequest in her will to establish an endowed professorship in the Department of Theatre.

Shapiro won the 2008 Tony Award for best direction of a play for Tracy Letts' Pulitzer Prize-winning play August: Osage County, which was first staged at Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago. She has been affiliated with Steppenwolf since 1995, serving as the original director of the New Plays Initiative, later joining the artistic staff as the resident director, and currently serving as an associate artist. Other recent Steppenwolf credits include I Never Sang For My Father featuring John Mahoney and the world premieres of Man From Nebraska also by Tracy Letts, Until We Find Each Other by Brooke Berman, The Infidel, and Purple Heart by Bruce Norris, and The Ordinary Yearning of Miriam Buddwing by Alexandra Gersten.

Hagan was a lifelong donor to the School of Communication. She planned her generous gift to the school more than a decade ago. While a student, Hagan was a member of Zeta Phi Eta, the national speech sorority, and performed in numerous theatrical productions. After receiving her degree, she became involved in theatre in Madison, Wisc., and taught speech at the elementary and high school levels. She was highly involved in alumni and fund-raising activities for the benefit of Northwestern and was active in both her Wisconsin and Naples, Fla., communities. Hagan is survived by her three children, five grandchildren, and several great-grandchildren.

Hagan (top row, far right) was a member of Zeta Phi Eta at Northwestern
Hagan (top row, far right) was a member of
Zeta Phi Eta at Northwestern.

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