The Milly S. Barranger Distinguished Professorship Fund in Dramatic Art
In 2006, Alice M. Welsh established the Milly S. Barranger Distinguished Professorship in Dramatic Art in recognition of her fondness for her dear friend Milly Barranger, former dramatic art department chair and producing director of PlayMakers Repertory Theater. The two friends met at PlayMakers.
Welsh’s gift of more than $333,000 was matched by $167,000 from the state’s Distinguished Professors Endowment Trust Fund to create a $500,000 professorship.
Author and co-editor of 16 books and chapters, articles and reviews on theater and drama, Barranger retired in 2003. She has been a member of the College of Fellows of the American Theatre Conference, the Association of Theatre in Higher Education and the League of Professional Theatre Women. She is also a past president of the American Theatre Association and the National Theatre Conference.
McKay Coble, dramatic art department professor and chair, credited Barranger with building the department that exists today.
“Milly hired a young and talented faculty/company that eagerly continued and expanded the extraordinary work of our founders — a pantheon that includes professor Frederick Koch, Paul Green, Martha Nell and Bill Hardy, Louise Lamont, Arthur Housman, Tom Haas and David Hammond,” Coble said. “It was also under her charge that the UNC Center for Dramatic Art was built. Our magnificent facility now houses all aspects of theater education and production where before we were scattered between three buildings, including an old army barracks and the morgue of the old medical school.”
Welsh moved to Chapel Hill in 1953 with her husband, psychology professor George Welsh, who died in 1990. Alice served on the Chapel Hill Appearance Commission and the Chapel Hill Planning Board and was an officer at the Ackland Art Museum. From 1970 to 1975, she served on the Chapel Hill Board of Aldermen, where she initiated programs in human rights, open space and parks initiatives, historic preservation and recycling. In 1983, she was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the N.C. Museum of Art and to the board of directors of the University Women’s Club. At one point, Welsh lived within walking distance of PlayMakers and did not miss a single play.
“I’ve always been interested in theater, even when I was very little,” Welsh said. “When you’re in Chapel Hill, you start to meet people interested in the arts. Milly and I have maintained a good, strong friendship. Milly elevated the department of dramatic art to getting recognition across the country.”
(Excerpts taken from 2007 DDA News feed article “Milly S. Barranger Distinguished Professorship Established in Dramatic Art.”)
The Milly S. Barranger Distinguished Professor:
2014 – Present: McKay Coble