Godwaldt recognized for professional excellence

Johan GodwaldtJohan Godwaldt, a technical director in SUNY Oswego’s theatre department, has received a SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service.

Godwaldt builds scenery for theatre productions, oversees theatre facility maintenance in Tyler Hall and teaches classes in stagecraft in addition to supporting campus-wide special events.

“In all of his work as a teacher and technician, artist and craftsman, he combines discipline, responsibility and commitment in a spirit of collaboration,” said Mark Cole, theatre department chair.

Godwaldt came to Oswego with seven years’ experience in university theatres as a technical director, first at Mankato State University in Minnesota and then at Loyola University in New Orleans. He is an active member of the U.S. Institute of Theatre Technology.

In building scenery for Oswego theatre productions over the past 11 years, Godwaldt works closely with students, many of whom have no previous experience in theatre or construction.

“When Ray Bradbury, the author of ‘The Traveler’ and ‘The April Witch,’ saw the video of the production, he wrote us that the design elements were strikingly rendered and taught him new things about his work,” wrote Cole, who adapted the works and directed the production. “We would not have made that impression without Mr. Godwaldt’s contributions.”

Godwaldt created a network for student job placement in theatre and created the first regional theatre job fair. Oswego graduates who have worked with him as students include the technical directors of the Glimmerglass Opera Company and Syracuse Stage, and shop foremen and carpenters at Yale University School of Drama, the Long Wharf Theatre and Walt Disney World Resort.

Outside the theatre department, Godwaldt serves as a member of such college-wide committees as the College Hour Committee, College Calendar Committee, Campaign Committee and Torchlight Committee.

The Campaign Committee helped organize the public launch of the college’s first major fundraising campaign last September, a one-day, four-event spectacular involving more than 2,000 people that relied heavily on Godwaldt’s organizational skills and stagecraft.

“Johan volunteered hundreds of hours to this project and spent many weekends and evenings working with us. His dedication was endless,” said Carolyn Rush, campaign launch coordinator.

In the community, he serves as an elder, Sunday school superintendent, vacation Bible school director and leader in the boys program at Fulton Alliance Church. He is vice president of the board of the Oswego Youth Soccer Association, where he is also a coach and field coordinator.

A local physician wrote in support of his nomination for the award, describing him as “one of the most sincere, honest, and altruistic people that I have ever met. His concern for his students, his friends, his colleagues, and mankind as a whole is a standard for the rest of us to strive for.”

SUNY Chancellor John R. Ryan said that the SUNY awards “provide much-deserved university-wide recognition of extraordinary professional achievement. I commend this year’s recipients and the campus presidents, faculty and staff who aid and support them in their success throughout the school year.”

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(Posted: May 15, 2006)