Texas Tech University

Linda Donahue: Retirement Reboot

Jamison Driskill

November 17, 2020

Linda Donahue

Associate professor and head of the School of Theatre and Dance's arts administration program Linda Donahue was planning to retire at the end of the 2019-20 academic year. She had announced her plans to travel to Spain with her husband for an extended vacation. Tickets had been purchased, reservations had been made, and all the arrangements were falling into place when suddenly everything went sideways.

For some time, Donahue held onto hope that the pandemic would subside, and travel restrictions would be lifted in time for their trip. However, as spring gave way to summer, the outlook was not good.

Enter Mark Charney, Director of Theatre and Dance: "Although Linda Donahue was poised to retire, the School begged her to stay one more year, and, because she loves her students and the School, she was more than happy to facilitate our request."

It is with a mix of great sadness and tremendous gratitude that we would like to (once again) announce that Linda Donahue will retire at the end of the spring 2021 semester. In her 24 years of service, Donahue has made significant contributions to the School of Theatre and Dance and impacted the lives of countless students.

In 1997, Donahue joined the faculty at Texas Tech to head the theatre management program which, under her direction, has evolved into one of the top arts administration programs in the nation. She acknowledges that much has changed: "We have grown, not only in students, but in faculty. We are developing new programs and classes, we have become much more student-centered, and we have a lot of encouragement to do interdisciplinary work."

Donahue is one of the School of Theatre and Dance's early pioneers in the effort to create an interdisciplinary learning environment. During the 2012-13 academic year she collaborated with Dominick J. Casadonte, Jr., a Minnie Stevens Piper Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Their project "Chemistry/Theatre Project: Theatre Techniques to Teach Chemistry Lab Safety," discovered ways actors and playwrights could use their talents to train teaching assistants in lab safety protocols through scenario improvisation.

Donahue has presented her work at international destinations across the European continent, including destinations in Switzerland, Italy, and Greece, among many others. She has also led student study abroad trips to the United Kingdom, Spain, and the Czech Republic.

During her tenure, Donahue has received numerous accolades. In 2013, she was awarded the distinction of becoming an "Integrated Scholar" for her outstanding achievement in teaching, research, and service. Of all the awards she has received, Donahue acknowledges that this one impacted her the most: "To be recognized in all three areas is pretty amazing. I'm proud of it."

Donahue is most delighted by her students' accomplishments. They have interned at some of the country's most reputable theatres and arts organizations, ranging from The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to Steppenwolf Theatre to the Getty Museum.

Donahue's approach to teaching has been effective because she cares so deeply about her students. Thomas Laney, III, a third-year MFA student in the arts administration program shares a common sentiment held by many of her students: "Dr. Donahue has invested herself in many different aspects of my education at Texas Tech. She has always made sure that I push myself to excel, but that I never overextend myself. After knowing her for six years, I am still in awe with how much she genuinely cares about me and my family."

Mark Charney struggles to come to terms with Donahue's departure: "I am in denial about Linda's retirement. When I arrived here nine years ago, she was instrumental in welcoming me to Lubbock and Texas Tech. As both associate and graduate director, she has been instrumental in the massive growth of our program. The arts administration program she built with love and care is among the best in the nation. She has created partnerships with major theatres and industry organizations all around the world, and she's been recognized by the university, the Lubbock community, and the nation for her teaching, research, directing, administrative abilities, and creative problem-solving skills. On top of that, she is a dear friend."

Donahue has mentored a generation of grateful students who have left Texas Tech well-prepared for careers in arts administration. "I want my students to go out into the world with fabulous critical-thinking skills, and I want them to consider how external environments impact the arts. I want them to bring that knowledge to their arts organizations. Think about it. Do something about it. Become an arts leader."

Theatres and arts organizations across the nation are forever indebted to Donahue for the knowledge and skills her former students have brought to their administrative teams. And many of us are beholden to Donahue for her dedicated service, tireless advocacy, and steadfast leadership. Please join us as we wish Linda Donahue a sincere 'thank you' and a hearty congratulations on her upcoming retirement.