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Press Release



January 15, 2014


Award named after former theatre director Scott MacLaughlin

Recognized for his willingness to help with events at the Kansas Thespian Conference, former Cowley College theatre director Scott MacLaughlin, who passed away on June 3, 2013, was honored during the annual conference held January 9-11 at the Hyatt Regency Wichita and Century II Performing Arts and Convention Center.

Each year, approximately 1,200 high school theatre students attend the three day conference. Students choose from nearly 100 workshop sessions taught by college theatre professors, high school drama teachers, and guest artists from around the country.

On the last day of the conference, Leslie Coats and former Cowley theatre student, Chad Nulik, who graduated from Cowley in 1997 and is now the theatre instructor at Salina Central High School, brought Cowley College interim theatre director Dejon Ewing and technical director of theatre Jamison Rhoads on stage to announce they were changing the title of the annual Tech Olympics Award to the Scott MacLaughlin Tech Challenge Award.

Coats explained that when she first came up with the idea of having the tech competition she called Scott. She stressed that what the competition eventually became was due to Scott’s immediate willingness to jump in and help.  “Whatever you need” she said was his dependable answer. 

Each year, MacLaughlin and Rhoads helped with the Lighting, Hang and Focus event as part of the Tech Challenge.

“We did the Tech Challenge as a form of service and because we wanted to help and love Tech,” Rhoads said. “It is gratifying to see the impact Scott made on the conference.”

Nulik explained that when he was a student at Cowley it was Scott who inspired him. He said that he was where he was and doing what he was doing because of this man. 

“It was working under Scott that gave me a new appreciation for Tech Theatre,” Nulik said in the college’s Spring 2008 alumni newsletter.

MacLaughlin spent 17 years working at Cowley College and served as the school’s director of theatre and theatrical services from 2004 until his untimely passing.

Ewing and Rhoads were joined at the conference by Cowley College assistant technical director Stuart Parman.

Ewing, who served as an instructor of MacLaughlin’s while he attended Cowley, and later was a colleague of his in the Theatre Department, said it was an honor to share the stage with the presenters during those emotional few minutes as they informed the high school students, packed into Century II’s main performance hall, of this honor.

“It was so wonderful to know that they were made aware of Scott MacLaughlin and the valuable contribution he made to the building of this important conference,” Ewing said.