The Cornell Distinguished Faculty Award was established by the Board of Trustees of Rollins College in 2004 in honor of Rollins’ beloved alumnus and longtime trustee George Cornell, whose generous bequest made the award possible. Each year the award recognizes exceptional professional accomplishments in at least two of the three primary areas of professional responsibility including teaching, research or service. Cornell Distinguished Faculty hold their title for three years.
This year’s recipient is Professor of Theatre & Dance Thomas Ouellette. “It’s tough to find a speechless theatre professor, but, truly, I was floored when President Duncan called my name,” Ouellette said. “It’s exhilarating to be recognized by my peers, humbling too.”
Ouellette plans to use the award money to build a series of courses that take junior and senior theater majors to London, New York, and Los Angeles in alternating semesters to audition, network with industry professionals, and help ease the transition to post-Rollins careers in the performing arts.
“Rollins faculty are a community of scholars who strive for excellence in teaching, scholarship and service,” said Dean of the Faculty and Professor of Sociology Laurie Joyner. “Thomas is a very deserving recipient of this outstanding award. His dedication to his discipline, commitment to the department of theatre & dance, and passion for teaching and learning is extraordinary.”
Ouellette received a B.A. in History from the College of the Holy Cross, and an M.F.A. in Acting from The Catholic University of America. In 2000, he was one of eight U.S. artists selected to participate in the Directors’ Programme at The Royal National Theatre, Oxford University. At Rollins, Ouellette has served as director of theater, department chair, and producing director of the Annie Russell Theatre. He has served on multiple faculty governance committees and currently serves on the Faculty Evaluation Committee. To date, Ouellette has directed 16 Main Stage productions and produced five Main Stage seasons (over 20 productions) at the Annie Russell Theatre, including the acclaimed 75th Anniversary season; and produced eight Second Stage seasons at the Fred Stone Theatre (over 25 shows). Off-campus, Ouellette is an active member of the three performing unions and directs and acts at theaters around the country.
This year’s Cornell Distinguished Faculty Award selection committee included: George D. and Harriet W. Cornell Professor of Religion Yudit Greenberg (chair), John M. Tiedtke Professor of Music John Sinclair, Rapetti-Trunzo Professor of History Claire Strom, Associate Professor of Computer Science Dick James and Professor of Economics Ken Taylor. Assistant Professor of Anthropology Rachel Newcomb served as the alternate.