JONESBORO — As the Day of Giving unfolded Tuesday at Arkansas State University, Little Rock resident Bob Bidewell favored his alma mater through his support for students in the arts.
Bidewell has gifted stock valued at $25,000 to the Arkansas State University System Foundation, Inc., with the proceeds directed to benefit the Department of Theatre in the College of Liberal Arts and Communication.
“Once again Bob Bidewell has demonstrated his commitment to the arts at Arkansas State,” commented Dr. Carl Cates, dean of the college. “This gift for theatre will assist us as we work to improve learning for our students and to present theatrical productions for the region. I thank him for his example.”
Bidewell’s example is particularly appropriate during Day of Giving as A-State celebrates philanthropy that makes a difference in students’ lives.
Although he taught music in public school for the first decade of his career, Bidewell’s interest in the dramatic arts started developing during his freshman year at A-State. Through his work with the Greene County Fine Arts Council and The Foundation of Arts in Jonesboro, his interest deepened, and he returned to A-State to pursue additional coursework in the theatre program.
“While I was teaching at Greene County Tech, the principal asked if I would direct a spring show and I, of course, said yes. I had some amazing students and we did another show the next fall and then the next spring,” Bidewell remembers.
“I made the decision that theatre was a strong pull and decided to leave band directing and return to A-State for theatre. I didn’t finish the degree as ‘life’ and the need to work got in the way. However, I’m still very much involved in the local theatre scene in Central Arkansas.”
He designated his most recent gift to be used as faculty needs dictate.
“The Department of Theatre is absolutely thrilled with the generous gift from Bob Bidewell. It could not have come at a better time,” stated Dr. Marika Kyriakos, interim department chair and director of Fowler Center. “Best of all, Bob is truly passionate about theatre. In recent communication, he was reminiscing on the very first production he saw back in fall 1972 at Wilson Hall ... His strong connection to A-State includes personal ties he has developed with current students.”
Bidewell, who completed two degrees at Arkansas State – a bachelor’s degree in instrumental music education in 1976, and a master’s degree in music education in 1977 – continues his interest in music through involvement in community and school programs in Central Arkansas.
His interest in theatre has led to his involvement with dramatic arts programming, including the Argenta Community Theater in North Little Rock.
This is the latest in a series of gifts Bidewell has made to benefit fine arts programs at A-State. His previous gifts include several to the Department of Music and the Fine Arts Center Recital Hall renovation project.
Information about giving to Arkansas State University is available through the Office of Development in Cooper Alumni Center, (870) 972-3940 or development@AState.edu. Details about Day of Giving also are online.