The annual award honors distinguished CUA alumni who have become leaders in their fields of endeavor and recognizes them for their extraordinary accomplishments and achievements in their life’s work.
Fr. Schubert founded the DeSales University Performing and Fine Arts Department with the Help of Bill Callahan, his former CUA professor, in 1969. Soon after, he traveled on a Royal Observership to Stratford-upon-Avon, England, in 1971, where he studied directorial techniques used in Royal Shakespeare Company productions. He worked on The Duchess of Malfi production that starred acclaimed actress Judi Dench. The experience inspired Fr. Schubert to create the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival in 1992, and served as producing artistic director until 2001. Last summer, almost 30,000 people attended the six plays performed at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, the official Shakespeare festival of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
“Theatre is a group art. For that reason, this award belongs to a number of people who contributed time, energy, creativity and other resources to help make things possible,” said Fr. Schubert. “I attended CUA during a period when there was a rich litany of scholars and artists whose talents and skills were inspirational on so many different levels. I am honored and humbled to receive the CUA award.”
Fr. Schubert credits the success of CUA’s drama department for inspiring him to establish the successful undergraduate department at DeSales. When it started, the DeSales Theater department had only 13 male students. As a result of Fr. Schubert’s leadership and extraordinary vision, the department flourished over the years, and the program has grown to more than 300 students and 24 full-time faculty and staff.
In addition to Fr. Schubert, the group of six distinguished honorees included: Michael L. Mark, noted music teacher and inductee to the Music Educators Hall of Fame; Dominican Sister Jamie T. Phelps, O.P., director of the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans, the only black Catholic university in the United States; and Brig. Gen. Coral Wong Pietsch (Retired), first female general in the Army’s Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps and the Army’s first female Asian-American general.
Also, Luis Vasquez, program director with the D.C. Department of Mental Health and founder of the Hermano Pedro Day Shelter in Washington, D.C.; and Frank Persico, currently, chief of staff and vice president for university relations in the Office of the President at CUA, who served in several other offices at CUA and also as co-chair for the visiting committee organizing Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to CUA in 2008.
A native of Philadelphia, Fr. Schubert earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and a master’s degree in speech and drama from CUA, and a doctorate in theatre from the University of Denver. In addition to the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon in England, he also studied with the Abbey Theatre Company in Dublin, Ireland.
Press Release: Fr. Gerard J. Schubert, OSFS, Founder of DeSales Performing and Fine Arts Department and Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, is Honored | Posted on: 4/27/2009
For more info: Tom McNamara, Executive Director of Communications DeSales University | 2255 Station Avenue | Center Valley, PA 18034