Established with a generous gift by Stephen Fox ’77 in 2014, the Patrick J. Quade Endowed Chair in Theater honors the long and distinguished service of Professor Emeritus Patrick J. Quade ’65 to St. Olaf College and the theater community. Dr. Quade was a dedicated leader in both the Department of Theater and the Office of International and Off-Campus Studies. He was responsible for numerous memorable theater productions at St. Olaf, from Mother Courage and her Children in 1968 to Boarders in 1999. His production of Godspell was a national winner in the American College Theater Festival. He launched both a one-act play festival (which still runs today and bears his name) and the St. Olaf Children’s Theatre Institute, which was under his leadership from 1978 until 1990. He was also field supervisor for the Global Semester, the Term in the Middle East, and the Theatre in London Interim Program, which he lead ten times. In his retirement, Dr. Quade still leads adult students abroad with his active participation in the St. Olaf Study Travel program. Karen Peterson Wilson ’77 is the first holder of this chair.
Dr. Karen Peterson Wilson distinguishes herself in St. Olaf classrooms on campus and abroad, with both student and alumni learners. She connects her interests in both theater and philosophy, creating innovative interdisciplinary courses such as Who Owns the Arts: Censorship, Sponsorship, and Artistic Freedom, and a new international course, The Arts and Literature of Australia and New Zealand. Four of the thirty productions she has directed for the St. Olaf Theater have been part of the New Plays on Campus program, a national program she helped create, connecting college students and professional playwrights through the MN Playwrights’ Center. She has been awarded CTAM’s (Communication and Theater Association of MN) Outstanding Individual in Communication and Theater Award, and she was recently elected President of this State organization. She has presented papers and panels on the international, national and state level, has served several times as Department Chair and continues to serve on the State’s “Scholars of Distinction in Theater” program. Her professional journey exemplifies commitment to her students, passion for teaching, and true dedication to a life of worth and service.