Why Maggi McKerrow Supports Theatre Students

February 1, 2024

Maggi McKerrow, Professor Emerita at SDSU.
Maggi McKerrow, Professor Emerita at SDSU.

After serving as chairwoman of the SDSU Theatre program’s scholarship committee, Professor Emerita Dr. Maggi McKerrow understands how hard it can be for young performing artists to pay their way through school.

“When I retired, I decided that I really wanted to set up a scholarship so that students would have support in going to the university,” she said of her scholarship, the Maggi McKerrow Endowed Scholarship for Theatre.

SDSU’s former theatre professor received her PhD from the University of Michigan then, through connections with a former classmate, was encouraged to apply for a job in San Diego that would further set off her career.  

“The college wanted to start a program in Theater for Children and Creative Drama, which was a field I specialized in,” McKerrow recalled. “I developed a class where we created plays for young people that toured to local elementary schools using the actors from San Diego State Theatre Department.”

That program, the Theatre for Young Audiences program, still performs locally 52 years later. 

Among Dr. McKerrow’s favorite classes she taught during her 38 years with SDSU, was Creative Drama: a class designed for future teachers.

“The students didn't know that much about Theatre,” she said of the majority of undergraduates taking her course. “Each semester, as we improvised scenes and dramatized stories the students learned more about theatre and themselves, they transformed. They got to know one another better and became more comfortable thinking on their feet the way that you have to do when you improvise.  A perfect skill for teachers.”

She continued: “It was a great pleasure to see the way the students grew and changed over the semester.” The students in Creative Drama often knew the classmates in that course better than those in other classes they were taking on campus.   

“I really miss being around students,” she added. “I love getting to know all sorts of different people.”

Dr. McKerrow also explained that during the years she taught at SDSU there was a group of theatre professors with whom she became very close.  “It was a great pleasure to work with a group of people you knew, respected, and liked.”

When she retired, she became a member of the SDSU Faculty and Staff Retirement Association and started a program where retired faculty and staff return to campus  to see plays and musicals staged by the School of Theatre, Television and Film.  

“I am delighted to keep up with what’s going on right now,” she added.

Dr. McKerrow concluded that she felt “tremendous joy working at San Diego State for the years that I did. It was a really challenging job, but also a very rewarding one. I found it a thoroughly good life experience.”

Today, her scholarship is already being awarded to students annually. Currently financed by Dr. McKerrow and her friends and family, the scholarship is given to an outstanding undergraduate pursuing a degree in Theatre Arts or Film and New Media Production. 

More information about the scholarship can be found here.

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