San Jacinto College theatre department chair and artistic director Jerry Ivins will be awarded the prestigious Kennedy Center Gold Medallion for Region VI during the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) in February.
“I was shocked. I appreciate this award so much,” Ivins said. “Educational theatre in Texas is incredibly rich and I’m so proud to be a part of it.”
This is the highest award the festival gives and is considered a great honor in theatre education. Region VI covers Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.
Each year, the eight KCACTF regions honor individuals or organizations that have made extraordinary contributions to the teaching and producing of theatre, and who have significantly dedicated their time, artistry, and enthusiasm to the development of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.
Ivins has taught at San Jacinto College for 25 years. He is not only the artistic director for the College’s Central Campus theatre program, but he has been active with KCACTF for over 30 years and has served as the Texas chair and vice chair for KCACTF each for two years. He currently serves as a respondent and member of the regional committee, traveling to watch KCACTF entries across the region and deciding which productions move on to present at the Kennedy Center.
In addition to his work with KCACTF, Ivins is also heavily involved in the University Interscholastic League (UIL) one act play competition. He serves as a judge and adjudicator for UIL theatre and one act play and as a licensed contest manager, running two area, two regional, and the state one act play contest each year for 4a, 5a, and 6a schools. For the Texas Education Theatre Association (TETA) Ivins serves as the director of operations for the state theatre competition.
“My colleague at the University of Houston once said ‘If there is something happening in theatre education in Texas, Ivins either knows about it or is running it.’,” Ivins said. “I can’t help it, it’s my passion.”
And Ivins wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Sometimes people wonder why the receive emails from me at 3 a.m.,” Ivins said. “I work at San Jac during the day and then go home to be with my family. After my girls are asleep, I continue working into the wee hours of the night.”
Ivins says his passion stems from his own experience as a theatre student.
“Theatre saved my life. I couldn’t look anyone in the eye or speak to anyone,” Ivins said. “I joined theatre to meet a girl and it ended up being my life’s work. It has provided me a safe haven and if I can do that for someone else, I’ve done what I needed to do.”
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries, and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has served the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, since 1961. The College is fiscally sound, holding bond ratings of AA and Aa2 by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s. San Jacinto College is a 2019 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence Top 10 institution, a 2017 Aspen Prize Rising Star Award recipient, and an Achieving the Dream Leader College. The College serves approximately 45,000 credit and non-credit students annually, and offers eight areas of study that put students on a path to transfer to four-year institutions or enter the workforce. San Jacinto College’s impact on the region totals $1.3 billion in added income, which supports 13,044 jobs.