Peter Sargent of Webster University has been honored with the Educational Theatre Association’s Founders’ Award which is presented to an individual or group who has made significant contributions to the growth and development of theatre education, research, and practice. The award recognizes work that supports the principles and mission of the EdTA founders to promote and strengthen theatre education.
With 50 years of service at Webster University as a dean, chair, and teacher, Sargent has guided hundreds of students through the school’s stellar musical theatre program. Many of those students first encountered him as “the man in plaid” at EdTA’s International Thespian Festival, perhaps in one of the dozens of lighting workshops he conducted during more than three decades of service to the Association.
Sargent has been at Webster University since 1966 and is the founding dean of the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts and head of the lighting design and stage management programs.
In presenting the award at this year’s ITF, EdTA Executive Director Julie Cohen Theobald said, “Regarding all that Peter has done for EdTA—the many technical theatre workshops; serving as audition mentor, adjudicator, EdTA board member; and as an EdTA Hall of Fame awardee—Peter personifies the mission and goals of this organization. Thank you, Peter.”
Sargent is also a recipient of a Special Citation for Education from the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, and in 2014, was honored with the Missouri Arts Awards, celebrating people, organizations, and communities that have made profound and lasting contributions to the cultural and artistic climate of the state. In 2015, a newly endowed chair was created in his honor to recognize Sargent’s work at Webster University and with theatre groups at both local and national levels.
“Peter’s contributions to the world of theater aren’t just limited to Webster University, but have had broad positive effects throughout St. Louis, across the state and around the country,” said Julian Schuster, Webster University’s provost, senior vice president and chief operating officer. “Besides his continuous numerous engagements with the communities and stakeholders of the university, Peter’s work with literally thousands of students over the years, many of whom have since had successful careers in live theater, television production and film, has had a tremendous impact. I offer my sincere congratulations to Peter and congratulate him on this well-deserved honor.”