Retired Theatre Professor Makes Lasting Gifts to EWU Students

August 26, 2020 By Leilah Langley
Students on stage acting in a play

A pair of gifts from a long-time theatre professor at Eastern Washington University are likely to bookend many deserving students’ college careers.

Professor Emeritus Gene Engene recently gave a generous gift to the Theatre Showcase Angel Scholarship, which is designed to recruit students to EWU’s theatre major. His gift will help an additional ten students begin college.

After learning that it is common for students to run out of money just short of earning their degrees, which forces many students to drop out or delay degree completion, Engene made a separate gift to the Bryan Jackson Memorial Scholarship. The fund was established in memory of EWU alumnus and local high school theater teacher Bryan Jackson. It is awarded to students who demonstrate financial need in their senior year. Engene’s gift to the Jackson Memorial Scholarship will help ten deserving students stay in school and earn their degrees.

Paige Pedersen is a recent recipient of the Bryan Jackson Memorial Scholarship and an example of the positive impact scholarships have on students. The incoming senior is majoring in business management with minors in economics and theatre. She aspires to become a stage manager.

“Receiving this award has tremendously helped give me confidence in the work that I do and excites me to continue working on my craft,” says Pedersen. “Knowing that all my hard work is being recognized gives me even more drive to do my best.”

By making gifts to these scholarship funds, Engene continues his life’s work of encouraging and training performing artists for careers that bring meaning and delight to countless lives. The EWU Foundation is seeking others who might be inspired to make a contribution to support theatre scholarships and spur new acting talent at Eastern. Gifts to these funds today make an immediate impact.