Visual and Performing Arts News

  • Alumna Follows Familiar Script to Comedy Fame by Joining Groundlings
  • Emily Joyce BA’15 with classmates Samat Turgunbaev and Robert Keller (right).

    A UT Dallas alumna has taken her penchant for comedy and improvisation to Los Angeles, where she is honing her craft through classes at The Groundlings Theatre & School.

    Emily Joyce BA’15 enjoys comedy and hopes to make it to a big stage where she can impact a lot more people.

    “I am an entirely silly person; I just have a knack for making people laugh,” she said. “I like being able to do really silly characters and to do voices. I know it’s weird, but I like making other people feel good.”

    Along with The Second City and a few others, The Groundlings is known for the development of some of the best comedy talent in the country. Alumni of the program include well-known comedians and actors such as Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Phil Hartman, Maya Rudolph and Lisa Kudrow.

    Emily Joyce BA’15

    “I’m the person that just soaks up comedy,” Joyce said. “A person who wants a career in comedy has to look at places such as The Groundlings, Second City or Upright Citizens Brigade. ‘Saturday Night Live’ pulls from these places, so if you want to be a writer or performer with ‘SNL’, then you have to look into these places.”

    She said she would like to not only be an improv actor, but also a sketch writer for “Saturday Night Live.”

    “It’s one of the top improv and comedy shows in the business, and working there can open a door to take you wherever you want to go,” she said.

    While Joyce had learned a lot about theater before she attended UT Dallas, it was at UTD where she discovered her love for improv, said her mentor, Kathy Lingo.

    “Emily told me after she had taken her first improv course that this is what she wanted to do for a living. And I knew she would do it,” said Lingo, clinical associate professor in the School of Arts and Humanities. “She’s got the smarts; she’s got the drive; she’ll make it.”

    Read the full story on the UT Dallas News Center.

  • Carolyn Brown Photo Exhibit Kicks Off Spring Series at SP/N Gallery
  • UT Dallas President Richard C. Benson, with Brown, attended the opening reception for the exhibit. In a catalog that accompanies the exhibit, Benson called Brown “a bold and pioneering student of the human condition.”

    The Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History at The University of Texas at Dallas recently opened a retrospective exhibition of photography by Carolyn Brown, who is known for her architectural pictures of the Middle East, Latin America and Texas.

    UT Dallas President Richard C. Benson joined Dr. Richard Brettell, director of the O’Donnell Institute, the Margaret M. McDermott Distinguished Chair of Art and Aesthetic Studies and the Edith O’Donnell Distinguished University Chair, at a recent reception to welcome Brown and her exhibition to the SP/N Gallery on campus. Benson also holds the Eugene McDermott Distinguished University Chair of Leadership.

    Approximately 75,000 photographs — transparencies, digital scans, digital photographs and prints — already are archived at the O’Donnell Institute where, in collaboration with Brown, the institute is organizing and digitizing the archive and, over time, will make it accessible through an online research portal.

    The SP/N Gallery hosts numerous exhibitions for the institute and the School of Arts and Humanities. Accompanying the Brown retrospective at the gallery is an exhibition of the Comer Collection, which captures scenes of American life from the middle to late 20th century. Both exhibitions will end Feb. 16.

    From March 1 through March 24, the gallery will present its annual high school juried art exhibition. After that, from April 26 to May 11, UT Dallas’ art students will display their artworks at the gallery in a juried competition.

    To read more, including about the SP/N Gallery photo exhibit, visit the original article on the UTD News Center.

  • Crow Family Gives Complete Asian Art Collection, $23 Million to UT Dallas
  • UT Dallas President Richard C. Benson and Amy Lewis Hofland, director of the Trammell and Margaret Crow Museum of Asian Art, talk about the museum’s collection and the impact of the gift to the University. If you don’t see the video, watch it on Vimeo.

    The Trammell and Margaret Crow family has donated the entire collection of the Trammell and Margaret Crow Museum of Asian Art, together with $23 million of support funding, to The University of Texas at Dallas to create the Trammell and Margaret Crow Museum of Asian Art of The University of Texas at Dallas.

    The University will continue to operate the Trammell and Margaret Crow Museum of Asian Art in its current space in the downtown Dallas Arts District, where it has been located for more than 20 years. The gift funding will provide for the design and construction of a second museum on the UT Dallas campus, which will allow for a wider range of the full collection to be viewed by the public.

    This plaque of a crowned Buddha from the 19th century is part of the Trammell and Margaret Crow Museum of Asian Art collection donated to UT Dallas.

    The Crow Museum’s growing permanent collection demonstrates the diversity of Asian art, with more than 1,000 works from Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Thailand, Tibet and Vietnam, spanning from the ancient to the contemporary. The collection also includes a library of over 12,000 books, catalogs and journals.

    The collection was started by Dallas residents Trammell and Margaret Crow in the 1960s. Trammell Crow was legendary in the business world, known as one of the most innovative real estate developers in the United States. At one point in the mid-1980s, he was said to be the nation’s biggest developer, with more than 8,000 properties in over 100 cities. During numerous business trips to Asia, he developed an appreciation for its unique and diverse art. Over the course of three decades, the Crows assembled a vast and distinguished collection, including a 6-foot Ming dynasty seated Vairocana Buddha and one of the finest collections of later-period Chinese jades in the United States, including such works as the 18th-century Qing dynasty sculpture titled Jade Mountain.

    “Like the gift of art from Avery Brundage to the City of San Francisco more than 50 years ago to found the Asian Art Museum, the Crow Museum joining forces with The University of Texas at Dallas forges another powerful connection between Asia, the United States and beyond,” said Dr. Jay Xu, director and CEO of the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. “I look forward to partnering with both institutions in showcasing how beautiful artworks, and the living cultures that created them, can expand a conversation for all to participate in.”

    In 1998, the Crow family opened the current museum with the goal of keeping the collection intact and increasing the American public’s knowledge and appreciation of the arts and cultures of Asia. Trammell S. Crow, president of the Crow Family Foundation and son of Trammell and Margaret Crow, has overseen the development of the museum during the past 20 years as a point of connection between the U.S. and Asia.

    “We are excited to see The University of Texas at Dallas bring the museum that our parents built into a new era,” Crow said. “It is our hope that the museum will continue to create global awareness and conversation through the power of the collection and its programs and reach new audiences, both among UT Dallas students and the broader North Texas community.”

    Read the entire article on the UT Dallas News Center.

  • Barrett Collection Gift Expands Canvas for University’s Art Aspirations
  • Caspar Wolf’s View Across Lake Seeberg to the Muntigalm is part of the Barrett Collection, considered to be the largest and finest private collection of Swiss art ever formed.

    Caspar Wolf’s View Across Lake Seeberg to the Muntigalm is part of the Barrett Collection, considered to be the largest and finest private collection of Swiss art ever formed.

    The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) announced the gift to the University of the Barrett Collection, consisting of over 400 works of Swiss art. It is the single-largest donation ever made to UTD as well as the largest gift of art to any school in The University of Texas System. This unparalleled collection of paintings, sculpture, drawings and prints is the only definitive collection of Swiss art outside of Switzerland and is considered the largest and finest private collection of Swiss art ever formed. With works dating from the late 14th through the mid-20th century, the Barrett Collection includes important pieces by every major artist born in Switzerland, from Caspar Wolf (1735-1783), the first painter of the Swiss Alps, to Cuno Amiet (1868-1961).

    Recognized for its excellence in science, engineering and business, UTD has recently placed greater emphasis on the arts. With the creation of the Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History in 2014, the University has fostered innovative research and graduate education in the history of art, embracing a global history of art that ranges across geography, chronology and medium. The gift of the Barrett Collection, which will be housed in a new Barrett Museum to be built on campus, will extend the vision for the O’Donnell Institute, attracting new scholars and expanding the role of the arts across the University.

    “The arts are an essential facet of any great university,” said Dr. Richard C. Benson, president of UTD. “I am grateful to the Barretts for this generous gift, which will catalyze the development of arts programs at the O’Donnell Institute at UTD and provide our students with direct access to an extraordinary collection.”

    The collection was started in the 1990s by Dallas residents Nona and Richard Barrett. As a result of extensive travel in the country, they realized early on that, outside of Switzerland, Swiss art was widely unknown, underappreciated and undervalued. After an early visit to the collection of Mme. Monique Barbier-Mueller in Geneva, they made their first acquisition at Art Basel of a painting by Ferdinand Hodler. Relying on knowledge gleaned through research and their rapidly developing private library, along with guidance from curators, dealers and art historians, the Barretts have become the most knowledgeable American collectors of Swiss art of the past two generations. This has enabled them to build the present collection, often acquiring works before they reach the market. Since Nona’s death in 2014, Richard and his present wife, Luba, have continued to expand the collection.

    “We have benefited so much from our city of Dallas and are glad to have an opportunity to give something back. Our wish is for our collection to remain intact and have a permanent, public home in our own city as well as in Texas. The building of the Barrett Museum on the UTD campus not only will achieve that, but will enable the collection to continue to grow through future support from the Barrett Collection Foundation,” said Richard Barrett. “Our dearest hope is that this gift will enhance the cultural fabric of this fine university.”

    Noted both for its completeness and the depth of holdings of works by the most important Swiss-born artists, the Barrett Collection has drawn the attention of art historians, curators, and museum directors from around the globe. Works from the collection have been on view at major art institutions internationally, including the Tate Britain, Kunsthaus Zurich, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Musée d’Orsay, among others. Representative works in the collection include:

    • Swiss Carnation Master, Hubert and St. Catherine of Alexandria, c. 1490, oil on panel
    • Jean-Etienne Liotard, Portrait of the Empress Maria Theresa, 1762, pastel on vellum
    • Caspar Wolf, View Across Lake Seeberg to the Muntigalm, 1778, oil on canvas
    • Johann Heinrich Füssli, The Expulsion from Paradise, 1803-05, oil on canvas
    • Angelika Kauffmann, Ulysses on the Island of Circe, 1793, oil on canvas
    • Arnold Böcklin, Loneliness, 1875, oil on canvas
    • Alexandre Calame, Vue du Handeck, c. 1837, oil on canvas
    • Ferdinand Hodler, Landscape with Rhythmic Shapes, 1908, oil on canvas and Woman with Flowers (The Song), 1909, oil on canvas
    • Felix Vallotton, Femme au Miroir, 1909, oil on canvas
    • Cuno Amiet, Self-Portrait, 1921, oil on canvas and Portrait of Anne Amiet with Red Background, 1913, oil on canvas
    • Giovanni Giacometti, Bagnanti (Alberto and Diego), 1919, oil on canvas
    • Augusto Giacometti, Amaryllis, 1942, oil on canvas

    Dr. Richard Brettell, a scholar of modern painting and founding director of the O’Donnell Institute, has known the collection since its inception. He has worked closely with the Barretts to develop plans for the museum, which will be unique in the world outside Switzerland.

    “The creation of a museum with a collection of this breadth and depth of Swiss art at its core is unprecedented in the United States. But bringing this collection to a major research university makes the significance of the gift even greater,” Brettell said. “The focus and range of the Barrett Collection will spark many new dissertations, articles and books written by our graduate students and faculty.”

    In addition to the works currently in the collection, UTD will also receive funding from the Barrett Collection Foundation for future acquisitions, including works by post-World War II and contemporary Swiss artists.

    To read more, including about the Barrett collection, visit the original article on the UTD News Center.

  • Alumna Plays Leading Role at Shakespeare Dallas
  • Jenni Stewart BA’06 is associate artistic director at Shakespeare Dallas, which stages plays in an outdoor park setting and will launch indoor productions in early 2019.

    Jenni Stewart BA’06 is associate artistic director at Shakespeare Dallas, which stages plays in an outdoor park setting and will launch indoor productions in early 2019.

    UT Dallas graduate Jenni Stewart BA’06 enjoys playing parts and directing fellow players — particularly when performing Shakespeare.

    “I think it’s the universality and also the richness of the language that keeps me continually engaged with it,” Stewart said. “I think he’s a playwright you can study forever and never unlock all of his secrets and mysteries.”

    Stewart is the associate artistic director at Shakespeare Dallas — the first woman to be in a position of artistic leadership in the organization since it began 47 years ago. The group produces Shakespeare plays in an outdoor park setting and will launch indoor productions in early 2019.

    As second-in-command of the Shakespeare troupe, she works with the artistic director to select plays, supervise programs and ensure excellence in each performance. She also directs some of the shows.

    “We’re serving our community and trying to present the best artistic offerings we can for what we need in the moment, as well as in the future,” she said.

    While attending UT Dallas, Stewart acted in a number of shows and performances, worked as an assistant with the theater program and founded a student performing arts theater group called the Rat Pack.

    She worked closely with Fred Curchack, professor of drama in the School of Arts and Humanities.

    “Jenni is a gem. She performed brilliantly in our UTD plays and professionally. She’s been a force of nature at Shakespeare Dallas and in the Dallas arts community for years, working with internationally significant writers, directors and actors,” Curchack said. “Now she’s directing a major production. She’s so talented, so smart and so compassionate.”

    It was at UT Dallas that Stewart met Raphael Parry, the executive and artistic director of Shakespeare Dallas, who was a guest director. After graduation, she interned at Shakespeare Dallas and then quickly landed a permanent job there. She was named associate artistic director earlier this year.

    Stewart said when she was a student at UT Dallas, the theater program was a dynamic environment for learning.

    “It put out this generation of highly creative theater professionals who were able to work in multiple disciplines. You got to try your hand at everything,” she said. “I still collaborate with a ton of peers that I had at UTD. And they’re some of my favorite people to work with.”

    At the same time, current UT Dallas theater students often serve as interns for Shakespeare Dallas and, according to Stewart, are working out well.

    “UT Dallas is probably more well-known for its STEM schools and training, but it obviously is putting out some good people from arts and humanities as well,” she said.

    This article originally appeared on the UT Dallas News Center.

  • Staking a Claim in the International Art Scene
  • Ekaterina Kouznetsova BS’16

    Ekaterina Kouznetsova BS’16

    Ekaterina Kouznetsova BS’16 is making her mark on the local and international art scene as the founder of ArtMail, a subscription art service she conceptualized and launched just months after graduating.

    The Russian-born Dallas resident serves as both creative force and personal curator at the company that mails subscribers museum-quality prints of new works from emerging international artists.

    Kouznetsova parlayed the skills she learned in the University’s marketing, global business and art history programs with immersion in the local arts that began her first year in college.

    “When I was just a freshman, I started getting very, very involved in the Dallas arts scene, and it became apparent that that was the industry I wanted to work in,” she says.

    As a freshman, Kouznetsova landed a position at a local art gallery, followed by a fashion editor gig for Dallas-based magazine THRWD.

    From there, she was asked to manage marketing for Dallas designers Susie Straubmueller and Lucy Dang, and was soon brought on as the international art editor for Nakid Magazine, where she reviewed the work of eight to 10 new artists each week for two years.

    All this exposure to the arts industry started to add up, she says, noting that “patterns began to emerge.” Kouznetsova observed how talented artists from around the world were facing similar challenges, namely a lack of both exposure and sustainable income.

    “So often, [the art industry] comes off as a very sterile, unwelcoming place,” she says. “And I thought, there’s got to be a better way to fix all these issues.”

    In her final semester at UT Dallas, Kouznetsova was taking 21 hours while also working as Nakid’s international arts editor — the same semester she decided to start building her new business.

    “I’m one of those people that unless I’m overwhelmingly busy, I feel like I’m wasting time,” she says with a laugh.

    In 2016, Kouznetsova spent the summer abroad exploring the international market, primarily in London, as part of her global business studies. Following her August graduation, she drew from her expanded knowledge of art curation and launched ArtMail to the public later that year with a roster of 20 artists.

    Kouznetsova used Instagram and a website to market the new business, which earned her a hat tip in the visual arts section of The Dallas Morning News.

    The goal, she says, was simply to craft an open atmosphere for artists intimidated by traditional galleries, while also making emerging art and decor accessible to the general public.

    “I try to ensure a steady stream of income for the artists so that they can keep on creating work,” she adds. “Each artist receives a very, very generous commission that is higher than any other printing company by far, on both prints and originals.”

    Kouznetsova explains that most galleries and curators will keep as much as half of a work’s selling price, but she takes “much less.”

    The subscriber receives a certified giclée print guaranteed to last 150 years, along with an artist interview and certificate of authenticity.

    “I work to promote the stories behind the art and to create multicultural connections between artists and clients,” Kouznetsova says. “This creates an extra level of connection and education between the collector and artist; it’s not just going to a store and buying a random print.”

    So how does it all work? Kouznetsova says art lovers can sign up online, where they are prompted to pick their favorite paintings from a menu of options. The process, which takes about three minutes on the subscriber’s end, provides Kouznetsova with enough information to curate a customized selection of artists and prints.

    Prints are matted in specially designed environmentally sustainable frames “made of recycled biomatter with a clear light acrylic on the front with UV coating,” she says.

    The bonus: They’re incredibly light.

    The company also offers original works for purchase, ranging from $1,000 to $10,000.

    As for the future for ArtMail, “We’re building a neural net,” she says, “an AI as an experiment in art curation.”

    “We’ve actually already built it out in print data, with tens of thousands of referral points. For now, it’s been surprisingly accurate, predicting pieces that I personally curate.”

    Kouznetsova hopes to eventually release the technology, but for now, all works are selected by the entrepreneur herself. Her stake in the international art scene is expanding.

    Kouznetsova reports that she recently began a collaboration with curator Deve Sanford and the Ritz-Carlton in Abu Dhabi.

    “ArtMail is creating connections between an artist in Thailand and a software engineer in Dallas,” she says. “I’m very glad that I live in a world where I’m able to do that and facilitate those connections.”

    This article originally appeared in UT Dallas Magazine and was written by Gracy Gaddy.

  • College Prep Camp Helps Teens Improve Communication Skills
  • Dr. Carie King (left) and Dr. Melissa Hernandez-Katz

    Dr. Carie King (left) and Dr. Melissa Hernandez-Katz

    Even with excellent test scores and high class rankings, many prospective college students still have a lot of work to do when it comes to college essays, resumes and interviews, according to two UT Dallas communication instructors.

    That need for better student communication skills in the admissions process is why the two will hold a college preparation camp this summer.

    “Students think it’s all about test scores, but it’s really not,” said Dr. Carie King, clinical professor of communication and associate director of rhetoric in the School of Arts and Humanities.

    “We’re covering some of the most stressful parts of the college application process — the essay and the interview — while providing some other important information for students hoping to be accepted into their targeted universities,” said Dr. Melissa Hernandez-Katz, senior lecturer in communication in the School of Arts and Humanities.

    Developed for rising high school juniors and seniors, the camp will be held the week of July 30.

    While some research studies indicate that the college admissions process can be very stressful for high school students, Ingrid London BS’07, MS’16, director of freshman admissions, said UT Dallas tries to make the process as streamlined as possible.

    “It can involve a lot of information and a number of deadlines, but our goal is to make the application process as smooth as possible for prospective UT Dallas students,” London said.

    University admission requirements vary a great deal across the country. UT Dallas, for instance, does not require essays or interviews for admissions, but they may be required for scholarship applications. Other universities also may require interviews and essays for scholarships or admissions.

    London said communication skills are important for prospective students and are considered in UT Dallas’ holistic application process.

    In addition to essay and interview preparation, the summer camp will look at other factors that could influence admissions counselors, such as social media and life balance.

    Hernandez-Katz said social communication use makes it more difficult for some students to switch to a more formal approach when necessary.

    “Students text a lot, and they often become very relaxed in their texts. Sometimes that comes across in their emails so that when they’re emailing an admissions director, or a person in charge of awarding a scholarship, they can be too informal,” she said.

    King said colleges want to know about student activities and motivations.

    “They want to know how you’re going to be able to balance the challenges of the academic world with being healthy, taking care of yourself, socializing and creating lasting relationships — part of the whole college experience,” King said.

    Hernandez-Katz and King will provide two three-hour sessions each day during the camp. Interested students or parents can register online.

    This story originally appeared in the UT Dallas News Center

  • David Lozano receives this year's Undergraduate Achievement Award
  • David Lozano

    David Lozano, BA ’09

    At the 2018 Honors Convocation, David Lozano BA’09 received the Undergraduate Alumni Achievement Award. Recipients of this award are accomplished in their industry or profession and engaged in their local community.

    Lozano is executive artistic director at Cara Mía Theatre in Dallas, writing, directing and producing original bilingual plays for the Latino community. He is also an activist who advocates for funding of culturally specific arts organizations.

    When he came to UT Dallas in 2001, it was only to study theater performance under drama professor Fred Curchack. At the time, he had no intention of pursuing a degree, but was cast in a play that Curchack was directing. He was hooked.

    “I was passionate about research and learning my craft,” Lozano said. “I felt like I was breathing nutritious air. I decided I was where I needed to be.”

    It took him longer than most to earn his bachelor’s degree in humanities from the School of Arts and Humanities, as he also worked full time at the theater. Trained in physical theater, Lozano prefers to work on collectively created plays that focus on actors’ improvisations rather than a script.

    “The presence and dynamics of the actor are the starting point,” Lozano said.

    Besides creating new works, Cara Mía’s resident artistic ensemble produces classic plays by nationally acclaimed Latino playwrights. It has produced world premieres of major Mexican-American writers such as Sandra Cisneros, Jimmy Santiago Baca and Cherrie Moraga.

    “My experience at UT Dallas has helped me to become a better storyteller through theater, filling out my capacity as an artist,” Lozano said.

    This article is an excerpt from an article by Robin Russell that originally appeared in the UT Dallas News Center.

  • A&H Scholarly and Artistic Successes
  • Tricia Stout was recently invited to present at the prestigious Graduate Symposium for the Nasher Prize, which was awarded to Theater Gates. “Some of the brightest masters and doctoral art history students across the country will share ideas on ethics in social practice, the artist’s role in community rebuilding, and black bodies in performance art, among other themes related to Gates’ work.”

    Ten Ways to Study Up on Sculptor Theaster Gates’ Mode of Social Practice Before Nasher Prize Weekend

    Jessica Ingle spearheaded the wildly successful Vignette Art Fair for the second year in a row – “an alternative fair that highlights talent that has been under-recognized and made ancillary by art institutions and establishments.”

    And Diane Durant, Senior Lecturer in Photography, was an artist in the show. Press coverage of the event includes:

    Art + Seek (State of the Arts) – http://artandseek.org/2018/04/13/vignette-art-fair/
    Dallas Observer – http://www.dallasobserver.com/arts/texas-vignette-is-a-nonprofit-aimed-at-bringing-attention-to-dallas-locals-and-women-10555757
    Glasstire post-show – http://glasstire.com/2018/04/16/how-was-this-years-vignette-art-fair/
    Glasstire pre-show – http://glasstire.com/2018/04/04/vignette-art-fair-in-dallas-focuses-on-women-artists/
    Arts + Culture – http://artsandculturetx.com/detailed-portrayals-at-the-dallas-vignette-art-fair/
    D Magazine.com – https://www.dmagazine.com/arts-entertainment/2018/04/things-to-do-in-dallas-this-weekend-april-12-15/
    Modern Dallas – http://moderndallas.net/agent/vignette-art-fair-2018/

  • For 80-Year-Old Undergrad, Long Road to Degree Nearly Complete
  • Suzanne Stricker

    Suzanne Stricker began taking classes at UT Dallas in 2006. On May 11, she will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in visual and performing arts.

    For 80-year-old Suzanne Stricker, a hobby of taking college classes soon will turn into a UT Dallas bachelor’s degree. And, even then, she will not be stopping her path of lifelong learning.

    Stricker plans to participate in commencement ceremonies for the School of Arts and Humanities on Friday, May 11, as she earns her degree in visual and performing arts.

    “I’m excited about it. And my family is proud of me,” she said.

    Born in New Zealand, Stricker speaks with a slight accent, which was much stronger when she moved to Texas in 1967.

    “Because I felt that people were having a hard time understanding me, I practiced rolling my R’s,” she said.

    Stricker stayed at home as she raised her family. But when the last of her three children began high school, she saw it as an opportunity to begin taking classes: first at a community college and then, after she worked for a local nonprofit organization, at UT Dallas in 2006.

    Because she enjoyed music and played the piano, Stricker chose an academic path that focused on the humanities. Her classes included history, geography, communication and, of course, music.

    “She came into my classes probably over age 70, yet she was one of the most energetic and enthusiastic members of the class,” said Dr. Kathryn Evans, senior lecturer and director of the UT Dallas Chamber Singers.

    As a member of the Chamber Singers, Stricker participated in “The Best of Broadway,” a traditional University show that involves singing, costumes and movement. But none of that proved to be an issue.

    “I appreciated that they would let me be in it because I was so much older than everybody else,” she said.

    Evans said Stricker kept up well.

    “She’d get up there and do the steps, and do her best, and she would say she was a little bit older, but it didn’t even slow her down,” Evans said.

    For Stricker, one of the major attractions to enrolling at UT Dallas was the special state of Texas tuition waiver for individuals 65 years old and older. The waiver allows senior citizens to take up to six hours each semester with no tuition costs, as long as a minimum GPA is maintained.

    “That means I don’t have to pay for classes,” she said. “It was something I could take advantage of so that I could continue my studies. And since I’m retired and have good health, thank the Lord, I can do things like this that I enjoy.”

    Stricker said she has enjoyed her time at UT Dallas, and especially appreciated her “excellent” instructors and the diverse student body.

    “You’re getting to know others of different persuasions, and what they can do. It’s such a diverse community at UTD,” she said.

    Evans said Stricker is a great role model and inspiration for students, as well as for Evans herself.

    “She was a very wonderful student and, in some ways, I think she inspired me to go back to school,” Evans said. “Suzanne is a great example of lifelong learning.”

    Stricker said she hopes to continue taking classes at UT Dallas, perhaps working toward a master’s degree.

    “I believe it’s good for your mind to be able to keep learning,” she said.

    This article originally appeared in the UT Dallas News Center.