'Dr. Appel' honored

Oregon Shakespeare Festival Artistic Director Libby Appel was awarded honorary degrees by The University of Portland and Willamette University this month.

On May 6, Appel received an honorary doctorate of public service from the University of Portland at its commencement. The following weekend on May 13, she was awarded the Doctor of Fine Arts honorary degree at Willamette University, where she was also the featured speaker. Appel traveled to both universities to receive the awards.

"I am privileged to have been honored by these Oregon universities," Appel said. "This recognition means that the work we do at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival is valued in other parts of our state. For me, art is central to our lives, and I am proud to represent that point of view to the graduating classes of 2007."

E. William Beauchamp, president of University of Portland, wrote in a letter to Appel, "For years now we have admired your entrepreneurial creativity and verve, your dedication and commitment to the community, and your admirable and relentless insistence that art is a crucial and nutritious ingredient in a well-lived life."

In a letter from the president of Willamette University, M. Lee Pelton wrote, "Under your invigorating leadership OSF has emerged as a global leader in theatre. I, along with many members of the Willamette University community, am continually impressed with all you have accomplished at OSF."

Appel is retiring this season after 12 years as artistic director at OSF. She worked as a guest director for four seasons before her appointment in 1995.

In her 15 years, she directed 23 productions, including "Enrico IV" (The Emperor), "King Lear," "Uncle Vanya," "The Magic Fire" (also at the Kennedy Center), "Three Sisters," "Richard II," "Richard III" and "The Winter's Tale." She was the artistic director at Indiana Repertory theatre from 1992-1996; dean and artistic director at the School of Theatre at the California Institute of the Arts and head of the acting program at California State University, Long Beach.

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