Larry '67 and Susan (McGuinn) Benedict '69 met as undergraduates working as theater technicians for a production of Romulus. They say their theater experience helped shape their lives and careers—and endeared them to UMass Amherst. "We couldn't have imagined the life we have been able to have," Susan says.
They also have fond memories of coming of age working as carpenters, electricians and production managers for campus performances. "I didn't realize it at the time but we learned many life skills," Larry says.
Larry and Susan earned masters and doctorates from UMass Amherst. Larry worked as a higher education administrator and Susan as a public elementary school teacher who also taught college level courses.
They have shown their gratitude with three different kinds of gifts for students studying the theater technical arts: a $20,000 commitment for scholarships, a pledge to create an $80,000 endowed scholarship and a planned bequest with a value of $750,000. "When I was a junior I got a $200 scholarship and that made all the difference in the world," Larry recalls.
The Benedicts hope their gifts make a financial difference for students as well as validate their talent and work as unsung heroes in the theater world.
Student Benefits From Scholarship
Katrina Frances Lewonczyk '10 is the perfect recipient for a Benedict scholarship. For most of her undergraduate years, Katrina worked in stage management and scenic design. "I loved it. I have a strong, well-rounded background," she says. She parlayed her experienced into a properties residency at Long Wharf Theater in New Haven, Conn.