Much beloved associate professor, Dr. Linda Donahue, retired…twice…as she explains below. What she doesn't share is that, because we had no hire in arts administration, she unretired—so not embarrassing, as she expresses below—but a favor for a School that still has not replaced her.
Dr. Donahue was not only Head of Arts Administration, but she also was our only faculty member solely dedicated to that program, as well as one of my Associate Chairs and Graduate Director (for more than a decade). In her years at Tech, she built the arts administration program, ranked by American Theatre as one of the ten best in the country, and her legacy is still evident in the dozens and dozens of graduates leading programs, working actively in the arts (profit and non-), and teaching around the country.
For many years, she was also one of the professors in our School who created international opportunities, from the one she references below in Seville, to the month-long Arts in Prague course, an unforgettable experience for all fortunate enough to join her in that transformative program. My wife and I accompanied her and ten students a few years ago, and I still am reeling from all that I learned and experienced.
Dr. Donahue retired during COVID, and she refused the college offer of an online retirement party (she'd have refused an in-person celebration too), so we never officially celebrated her many years with the Department/now School of Theatre & Dance, which says a great deal about Linda. She cares deeply about every student she taught and every bit of growth to which she mightily contributed, and very little about acknowledging the many accolades she incurred during her 20+ years at Texas Tech. But do know, from the perspective of those of us who love and appreciate her, she is responsible for much of the “good” in the School of Theatre & Dance right now.
Linda and her husband, Dan, also a huge supporter of our School, decided recently to move from Lubbock, a city they both love, to relocate in Seville. I asked her to share with the readers of our newsletter, in her voice, why she is trading West Texas for Spain.
Here is her response:
Life is an adventure. Sometimes you come to a crossroad. Here we goooooooo…..
I retired in 2020, hoping to spend some time in Spain, but Covid had other plans, so I “UN”-retired (a bit embarrassing, by the way) for a year because of Covid lockdowns, but then I really pulled the retirement plug in late 2021. Folks asked me what I was going to do with all my free time, and my truthful answer was, “I am looking forward to cleaning out all the closets in our house of 24 years.”
I was too busy, however, to get around to that arduous closet task. Instead, we (hubby Dan and I) spent our time traveling, especially to our beloved Spain, generally spending 3 months, September-November, living at least 2 months in Seville.
Why Seville? If you have been there, you know.
Starting in 2003, I taught theatre to Texas Tech study abroad students at the TTU Center in Sevilla, for a total of over 3 years (2003-2019), including some long semesters and many 6-week summers. This was a REALLY good academic assignment. And the students enjoyed an unforgettable experience.
I am eternally grateful to Texas Tech and those who founded the TTU Seville Center (President Don Haragan, Allen Keuthe, Douglas Inglis) for giving me the life-changing opportunity to teach our TTU students in Span's most beautiful city.
FLASHBACK: In 2002, TTU President Don Haragan popped into my office, unannounced, in the theatre building to discuss the possibility of me teaching in Sevilla. “Whaaa?” Of course, he visited when I was wearing jeans, sandals, and a tee-shirt and totally not expecting to see the prez. I had to call him later to ask if his visit was an invitation to teach or just a discussion. It was an invitation. Don Haragan provided the life-changing opportunity. I recently called him to thank him and express my gratitude.
FLASH FORWARD: Five months ago Dan and I decided to move permanently to Seville. This wasn't really premeditated, maybe not unexpected (?), but we certainly have loved our time in this most exceptional city.
WHY RELOCATE? The answer: why not? We're retired. After a bit of angst and a lot of work, we now have a sales contract on our house and a date for an estate sale for all of its contents. We are donating our 2 cars. We will arrive in España with super-minimal stuff. Our plan is to ship 4 boxes to Seville and start all over with furniture, household contents, etc. Our apartment—we have decided to rent, as those who live in the city center do-- will be way smaller than our 4-bedroom Lubbock house. Looking forward to this. Getting back to the basics. We are uprooting!
Is this crazy? YES. And we can't wait.
Life is an adventure!
Thank you, Dr. Donahue, for all you have contributed to the School of Theatre & Dance. You denied us a retirement party to celebrate your distinguished career, and I am sure you aren't crazy about my singing your praises here. But thank you for all that you did to advance education, community activism, and the profession during your years with us. After meeting you, our new Dean remarked to me that you were, indeed, irreplaceable.
You will be missed, but because of your immense generosity, never forgotten. And yes, we will visit you and Dan in Seville, often.