A new scholarship and fund will seek to honor the memory of a UNC student and carry on her love of the dramatic arts.
Lillian Chason, a freshman from Barrington, R.I., died in 2009 of complications from the H1N1 virus.
Now, the Lillian Chason Scholarship and Undergraduate Excellence Fund will support her passion: the dramatic arts.
Zealan Hoover, a friend of Chason’s and UNC’s student body vice president, met Chason the first semester of her freshman year.
“Everyone was attracted to her because she was just such a wonderful person,” he said.
He remembered her passion for theater, especially her role in the play “A New Dress For Mona.”
“She tried out for the lead and when she got it, she was just so thrilled,” he said. “She was through the roof excited.”
The Lillian Chason Scholarship will be an annual award of about $5,000 given to a student with an interest in dramatic arts, said McKay Coble, chairwoman of the dramatic arts department.
Coble said she hopes the scholarship will be awarded for the first time this spring for the 2012-13 school year.
A board of dramatic arts faculty and other members of the Chason family’s choosing will select a recipient from a pool of faculty nominations, Coble said.
Selection will be based on the nominee’s contributions to the classroom, studio and productions within the Department of Dramatic Art.
The Lillian Chason Undergraduate Excellence Fund pays for the Lillian Chason Theatre Arts Weekend, which brings a theater artist to campus for a workshop weekend with students.
The first Theatre Arts Weekend took place this past fall. Thom Jones of Trinity Repertory and Brown University conducted a three-day voice and dialect workshop, Coble said.
“The scholarship and Arts Weekend are very fitting tributes to Lillian in that they express the vitality that was so characteristic of Lillian,” Coble said in an email. “Both aspects respond to the active artist engaged in the dynamic world of theater.”
Cate Chason, Lillian Chason’s mother, said the original money for the excellence fund came from the proceeds of “A Dress For Mona,” donated by the cast. Later, the University gave money to both the scholarship and the undergraduate excellence funds after legal mediation, she said.
Coble said the University contributed $200,000 to the scholarship and $50,000 to the excellence fund.
Cate Chason said the undergraduate excellence fund has the money to continue providing Theatre Arts Weekends for at least the next 10 years, and they are seeking more donations.
The scholarship and fund are a fitting continuation of Chason’s legacy, Hoover said.
“It’s great that she’s going to continue to inspire generations of students here at UNC.”
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