Gilbert Parker, Wesleyan Theater Hero

Tommy, Gilbert and Lin (Photo courtesy of Angela Christian)

This past weekend a stellar group of Wesleyan alumni gathered in New York to celebrate Gilbert Parker,who graduated in 1948 and has gone on to a distinguished career in theater. They were also celebrating the creation of a scholarship in Gilbert’s honor.  Tommy Kail ’99 and Claire Labine (Gilbert’s former client, creator/head writer of “Ryan’s Hope”) had the idea of creating a scholarship for Gilbert. Over 40 of Gilbert’s friends, many of them not affilated with Wesleyan, have contributed more than $100,000 to this fund. I couldn’t be in New York for the event, but I was able to send the following note: “The Parker Scholarship commemorates a rich history. You were the first graduate of our theater department. During your sparkling fifty-year career as an agent, the Wesleyan community took pride in your reflected glory.  You made this relationship with our alma mater deeper and more personal, then and following your retirement, by closely mentoring Wesleyan graduates in the theater world like Tommy Kail, Lin-Manuel Miranda, John Buffalo Mailer, and Bill Sherman, among others.  It’s wonderful that a group of your friends and protégés initiated this scholarship fund (and typical of your generosity, Gilbert, that you have contributed to it).”

It’s wonderful to honor the creative and generous spirit of an alumnus like Gilbert Parker. And I’m so grateful that we honor him by establishing a scholarship to support future Wes stars!