Tag Archives: Pulitzer Prize

Eric McDowell and Hannah Avery in "Proof"FAMILY DYNAMICS: Professor of Mathematics Dr. Eric McDowell performs with on-stage daughter Hannah Avery during the Berry College Theatre Company’s recent production, “Proof.”

Eric McDowell in "Proof"Anyone who has ever studied mathematics with Dr. Eric McDowell will tell you he brings a theatrical flair to his teaching. He has even gone so far as to collaborate with students on ingeniously creative (and award-winning!) videos that educate as they entertain.

In November, the longtime Berry faculty member stepped out of the classroom and onto the Sisters Theatre stage in a role seemingly created just for him. Acting alongside students Hannah Avery, Andy Sphar and Katie Cooley, McDowell infused elements of his own personality into “Robert,” a recently deceased mathematician beset by mental illness in his final years whose relationship with his daughter is the crux of the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning Proof.

“I could just have easily been playing a history professor or a writing teacher, I don’t think it would have really mattered,” McDowell said. “The personality I put into Robert is very much my own. I see a lot of me in him anyway. How much of that is the mathematician I don’t know.”

McDowell’s fascination with acting dates to a childhood role in The Sound of Music. A 30-year hiatus followed high school, but recent years have found him performing in such local productions as Spamalot, Into the Woods and Almost, Maine. His Berry College Theatre Company debut came about as the result of a request by guest director Jon Royal, who sought an obvious age difference between “Robert” and the student performers.

The experience left McDowell profoundly impressed by all aspects of Berry theatre.

“My favorite part of the process was watching the other three actors perform and being so impressed with how talented they are,” he reflected. “It was my first look inside Berry theatre, and everybody is so professional in their work.”

Student media: Actors display “raw” emotions in Proof

Reporting by student writer Kendall Aronson

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Doris Kearns GoodwinNoted presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin will be the featured speaker for the 2015 Gloria Shatto Lecture. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author and former assistant to President Lyndon Johnson will address students and others in the Berry community at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 19, in the Cage Center. Admission to the lecture is free, but tickets are required for entry. Call 706-236-2226 for details.

Goodwin’s impressive list of accomplishments includes six New York Times bestsellers and numerous awards for her writing. Her Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln inspired the award-winning film Lincoln, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Daniel Day Lewis. Her most recent book, The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism, has been acquired for film rights by DreamWorks Studio and Spielberg. She is a familiar face on television news programs and has served as on-air consultant for several PBS documentaries.

Goodwin joins a long line of notable speakers who have visited Berry thanks to the Gloria Shatto Lectureship, which was funded through Berry’s Century Campaign to honor the memory of Georgia’s first female college president. Past speakers include commentator Cokie Roberts and political adversaries James Carville and Mary Matalin.

By Carey Blankenship, philanthropic communications student assistant

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