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Department of Theatre and Dance Announces Retirement of Professor Robert Schmidt

Professor and former Department Chair Robert Schmidt of the Department of Theatre and Dance at The University of Texas at Austin will retire on Jan. 31.

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Professor and former Department Chair Robert Schmidt of the Department of Theatre and Dance at The University of Texas at Austin will retire on Jan. 31.

With unanimous support of the executive vice president and provost and the faculty of the Department of Theatre and Dance, Schmidt has been granted emeritus status as the Frank Erwin Jr. Centennial Professor in Drama, effective Feb. 1.

“The college and Department of Theatre and Dance are deeply indebted to Bob for his remarkable and indelible contribution to our students and programs and to the leadership of the department,” said College of Fine Arts Dean Douglas Dempster. “He has accomplished great things for his department over nearly 30 years of service. I offer my congratulations and best wishes for his continued success in all his endeavors.”

Schmidt has served the Department of Theatre and Dance as professor and chairperson. He has been an administrator and faculty member at the university since 1982. He and his wife Penny recently created the Robert N. Schmidt Performance Design Endowment, an endowment in excess of $50,000.

“During the years that I’ve been on the faculty at The University of Texas at Austin, I’ve had the privilege of working with world-class colleagues and promising students who are now at the top of their field,” said Schmidt. “During that time the Theatre Design program has become among the elite programs in the U.S. One reason for that has been its global perspective; understanding the value of international exchange of culture, methodology and ideas. Penny and I wanted to do what we could to help provide ongoing support for students and faculty in the Theatre Design program so that they can be at the forefront of those theatre artists who continue to re-shape and re-imagine the field.”

Schmidt’s career as a theater artist has spanned over three decades and has included work as a scenic designer for theater and television in Europe and Asia, as well as at major regional theatres in the United States. He designed the award-winning entry from the U.S. to the Prague Quadrennial Scenography Exhibition in 2003. Schmidt has been commissioner for scene design for the U.S. Institute for Theatre Technology, associate editor for Theatre Design and Technology Journal and the U.S. delegate to the Scenography Commission of the International Organization of Scenographers, Theatre Architects, and Technicians. He was a board member and executive committee member of the University/Resident Theatre Association.

Schmidt earned his bachelor’s degree in theater and drama and his master’s degree in scenic design from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.