Blue Masque Hall of Fame inducts new class of honorees
Catawba College’s Homecoming weekend (Oct. 2-4) included Blue Masque Hall of Fame festivities. After last year’s first ceremony, four new outstanding individuals from Catawba’s rich theatre tradition were added to the Hall of Fame during an induction ceremony held in Hedrick Theatre on the night of Oct. 2, immediately after the production of “The Women.”
A reception followed on Keppel Auditorium stage.
The purpose of the Catawba College Blue Masque Hall of Fame is to recognize and perpetuate the noteworthy theatre tradition of Catawba College by honoring and memorializing individuals who have made outstanding contributions to this tradition. Inductees into the Hall of Fame must have either, attended Catawba College as a full-time student, been employed at Catawba as a full- or part-time faculty/staff member, or contributed to the success of the Blue Masque by performing outstanding service as a volunteer. The following individuals were recognized for their meritorious life in theatre.
James R. (Epp) Epperson spent 26 years at Catawba College before retiring in 2002. The Jefferson-Pilot professor of theatre arts, Epperson served as theatre arts department chair for the last 17 of those years, while also acting as associate dean and then dean of the school of performing arts. Under his leadership, the theatre arts department was repeatedly listed by the Princeton Review as one of the top undergraduate theatre programs in the nation.
Epperson has been honored by Catawba College with the Trustee Award for Outstanding Service; by the North Carolina Theatre Conference with the Herman Middleton Service Award, as well as with the Marian Smith Distinguished Career in Theatre Award; and by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival with its John F. Kennedy Medallion of Excellence.
Also a director with more than 80 productions to his credit, the Blue Masque established the Jim Epperson Outstanding Student Director Award in his honor. Epperson served on the board of the Southeastern Theatre Conference, where he presided as college/university chair; the board of the North Carolina Theatre Conference, acting as its president and playwriting chair; and the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, serving on its regional executive committee and as its playwriting chair. He holds the Ph.D. from Florida State University and M.A. and B.A. degrees from the University of Arkansas. Married to the former Lucinda Covington, he has two children, Heather and Robert, and two grandchildren.
Nina Louise Tucker worked at Catawba College for 42 years before retiring in 1986. A native of Cheraw, S.C., and a 1944 alumna of Catawba College with a bachelor of science degree in business administration, Tucker first served as secretary to the college registrar, then as associate registrar, and later as assistant to the vice president for planning and academic services.
Tucker has been honored by Catawba College with the Trustee Award for Outstanding Service, the Exemplary Life Service Award, the Distinguished Alumnus Award, and the O.B. Michael Outstanding Alumnus Award. The Louise Tucker Staff Council Award and The Louise Tucker Endowed Scholarship have also been established at Catawba in her honor.
Described as “a fountain of knowledge about Catawba and its people,” Tucker’s dedication to and knowledge of the Blue Masque have covered all but its first 15 years. In retirement, as when she was a Catawba student and staff member, she serves as an ambassador for the Blue Masque.
Tucker’s longtime service to Catawba’s theatre arts was first recognized by the Blue Masque when she was made an honorary member of the Blue Masque. She was later honored with the Blue Masque Lifelong Patron designation.
Mark Fincannon received his B. A. degree from Catawba College in 1980 with a double major in theatre arts and speech communication. Soon after graduation, Fincannon formed, with his brother, Fincannon and Associates, a motion picture and television casting company.
Now a veteran casting director for 30 years, he has been responsible for casting over 125 feature films, 100 television movies of the week, seven television mini-series, and hundreds of hours of television series, including three full seasons of “Matlock” and six seasons of “Dawson’s Creek.”
Fincannon is a member of the Academy of Television of Arts & Sciences andwon an Emmy in 1998 for the casting of Tom Hanks’ H.B.O. series, “From The Earth To The Moon.” He is currently casting the seventh season of “One Tree Hill,” as well as launching a new television series for Lifetime TV entitled “Drop Dead Diva.” A member of the Casting Society of America, his casting company was nominated in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2004 and 2006 for their casting award. While at Catawba, the theatre arts department awarded Fincannon the 1979 Florence Busby Corriher Special Achievement Award, its highest student honor. He and his wife Sharon have four daughters, Christian, Mary, Naomi, and Heather.
David H. McCorkle completed his theatre degree at Catawba in 1963. Upon graduation, McCorkle moved to New York City, finding roles in off-Broadway, off-off Broadway, summer stock, and touring productions. In these productions he worked with such notables as Barbara Harris, Carol Channing, and Terrance McNally. In 1986 McCorkle completed the masters degree in social work from New York University, receiving their Chancellor’s Award for Community Service. As a social worker and psychotherapist, he incorporated his theatrical knowledge into a vital part of helping children recover from trauma and mental illness. Working with the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services and as a facilitator for their Sanctuary Project, he coordinated, among other services, a program for performing artists living with HIV.
Championing therapeutic theatre, he uses drama techniques in therapeutic climates for vulnerable youth and those who care for them. As a consultant for the “Sanctuary Model,” he has traveled across America, and most recently Northern Ireland and Scotland as a trainer in these techniques. He was also involved in assisting with emotional recovery following 9/ll.
McCorkle is now a board member of Creative Alternatives of New York in which he “interweaves the metaphoric world of theatre with group psychology.”