A crowd of more than 250 Anne Arundel Community College faculty, staff, alumni, actors of all ages and community theater crews and supporters packed the college Pascal Center for Performing Arts on Aug. 10 in celebration of the life of the late Robert E Kauffman, professor of performing arts emeritus, and the official dedication of the theater in his name.
Kauffman died March 3. Known to all as "Chief," his enthusiasm and drive during his 30-year career at AACC turned a fledgling theater program into the dynamic college Department of Performing Arts for dance, music and theater students. Chief was active in the theater community even in the last year of his life. Those attending his celebration included many of Kauffman’s former students and colleagues connected to his successful travel-study theater trips to New York City and England.
DVDs of the celebration are now in production and available to those who donate $25 or more to the Robert E. Kauffman Scholarship at the college.
The night of memories, laughter and music began with the official dedication of the theater stage and adjacent areas in Kauffman’s name. After recognizing his extensive accomplishments, AACC President Martha A. Smith, Ph.D. and Board of Trustees Chair Victoria K. Fretwell joined Chief’s widow Dorothy "Dottie" Kauffman and his sister Yvonne Kauffman to unveil a bronze dedication plaque that will permanently hang in the theater. Areas included in the naming of the Robert E. Kauffman Theater include the inner lobby, box office, technician’s booth, auditorium and seating, orchestra pit, stage, scene shop, backstage and green room.
Following the dedication, many of Chief’s former students who are now stars on the regional theater scene joined his colleagues, the AACC Dance Company, AACC musicians and AACC Kids in College theater youth for dramatic and musical performances. The audience enjoyed scenes from "Cabaret," "The Foreigner," "Hello, Dolly" "The Diviners," and "Thoroughly Modern Millie." Emcees Carol Cohen and David Reynolds and storytellers Joy Ajello, Cyndy Cassidy, Greg Dayman, Lynda Plavin Fitzgerald, Peter Kaiser, Walter League, Barbara Marder and Christy Stouffer shared favorite Chief stories. A narrated PowerPoint presentation treated the audience to historic photos of the college and Moonlight Troupers drama club.
After singing "Neverland" from "Peter Pan," former Pan actor Mary Armour-Kaiser was joined by dozens in the audience who responded to a call to come on stage if they had worked on one of Chief’s four "Peter Pan" productions. The grand finale, which drew a standing ovation, featured the group performing a rousing rendition of "Neverland."
A reception sponsored by the AACC Foundation Inc. followed. The evening raised about $1,000 in donations to the Robert E. Kauffman scholarship to help aspiring theater arts majors and Theatre at AACC participants. DVDs of the event are now in production. To obtain a copy, contribute $25 or more to the Robert E. Kauffman scholarship. There are several ways to donate:
- Online: visit www.aacc.edu/theater and click on the Donate Today link.
- By mail to the AACC Foundation Inc. make sure your name and address are on the check or included in the donation letter and write "Kauffman Scholarship" in the memo line. Mail to AACC Foundation Inc. 101 College Parkway, Arnold MD 21012-1895.
- In person: Drop off your check to the foundation staff at the Isaac Cox House on the Arnold campus.
Copies of the program will be posted online at www.aacc.edu/performingarts. For information, contact the foundation at 410-777-2515 or firstname.lastname@example.org.