Note Pat, Hank, and Chip are only ones of the Clemson Players wearing Clemson Orange
CLEMSON PLAYER’S REUNION
October 21-22, 2016
Pat and I drove from Maine to South Carolina to attend a reunion of current and past Clemson Players—graduates and current undergraduates of the Clemson University Theatre Department. Pat and our daughter Jan, are former Clemson Players and I’ve participated in many of their theatre projects, so I sort-of qualify.
Pat is a registered nurse and has always had a variety of interests, including art, theatre, and doll-doctoring. She enrolled at Furman University in Greenville, SC and earned her art degree there together with her friend, Jennie Peacock. Pat and Jennie shared the Art Award at their Furman graduation in 1975. Before graduating, Pat and our daughter Jan performed in the Furman Drama Department’s production of “Our Town.” She’d caught the theatre-bug!
Pat and my drama involvement go way back to when we were living in Pickens, S.C. and heard about the Clemson Little Theatre. Clemson was about 20 miles from Pickens. About the same time, Chip and Diane Egan arrived at Clemson. They both earned their master’s degrees at Northwestern University and were theatre majors at Hanover College. Chip had taken a job at Clemson as a drama instructor at a university that didn’t have either a theatre minor or major.
Diane and Chip also became active at the Clemson Little Theatre (CLT) in the mid 1970s, not connected to the university. Pat and I met them there. Pat was performing in the CLT production of “The Loves of Cass McGuire.” Under the leadership of Joe Merck, Ken Hembree, and Lucy Kelley CLT was the oldest theatre in South Carolina. We all spent lots of time together and transformed a former grammar school in Central, SC into a wonderful little theatre.
The Egan’s and the Haskell’s became stalwarts of CLT and Pat started working with the Clemson Players when our daughter, Jan enrolled at Clemson. Jan was the very first student with a theatre minor at Clemson University.
Chip Egan was a “consensus-builder” at Clemson and he steadily grew in stature, and the drama department grew along with him. He became head of the English Department and eventually, Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Music.
Pat, with Chip’s guidance, moved from Clemson, where she acted, directed, and made most of their costumes, to the University of Georgia and earned her master’s degree in theatre-design at UGA.
In 1993 Pat and I founded South Carolina Repertory Company (SCRC) on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Once again, Chip and Diane Egan were mentors and assisted us in getting our professional theatre started in a small black box near Sea Pines. Chip and Pat designed our new theatre on Beach City Road, where we moved in 1998.
SCRC ran for 22 years and produced 110 shows. Chip and Diane introduced us to many of their associates and SCRC became known for its outstanding selection of shows—seen by 80,000 guests. We closed our theatre in 2014 with a joint production of the show, “The Outgoing Tide” with the Good Theatre in Portland, Maine.
Pat and I are now really retired and have decided to move from Hilton Head to Clemson, when we sell our Hilton Head house. We bought a small house near Chip and Diane in a beautiful section of this college town.
This weekend, we returned to Clemson at attend a reunion of Clemson Players. Fortunately (for us) Clemson’s nationally ranked football team was not playing so the town was fairly quiet. Jan joined us as we reconnected with former and current Clemson Players in an outstanding gathering put together by Theatre professors David Hartmann, Tony Penna, Shannon Roberts, and Mack Leckenbusch.
Chip, now retired from Clemson, was recognized for his long-time leadership at Clemson with the announcement of a Chip Egan Scholarship Fund. This scholarship fund joins the Brunswick Yarns Fund that Pat and I gave to the Clemson Theatre Department years ago.
Pat and I are pleased to be headed back to the Upcountry and look forward to the many advantages offered by a college town. We’ve been warned that home football games can get a little rowdy and noisy.