Catawba names office after two theater professors

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Catawba College News Service
Two faculty emeriti from Catawba College’s theatre arts department were honored Feb. 20 with a facility on campus named in their honor.
College President Dr. Joseph B. Oxendine recognized Dr. Hoyt M. McCachren Jr. and Dr. James R. Epperson during a dinner on campus. He unveiled a bronze plaque and announced that the McCachren-Epperson Theatre Arts Office Facility is being named in their honor.
The facility, that Oxendine joked was already unofficially known on campus as the McEpp House, sits at the corner of Summit Avenue and West Innes Street. A former two-story residence, the facility has been renovated and refurbished to provide office space for some members of Catawba’s theatre arts faculty.
Oxendine noted that between McCachren and Epperson, the two have contributed 63 combined years of service to Catawba College. “We stopped counting when they each retired, but if you count the time they’ve given back to the institution during their retirement, the overall years of service would climb even higher,” Oxendine said.
McCachren joined the faculty at Catawba in 1957 and his career overlapped with Epperson’s for 26 years after Epperson joined the college in 1970. They each chaired and taught in the theatre arts department and influenced the lives of hundreds of Catawba theatre students. Both men are members of Catawba’s Blue Masque Hall of Fame.
McCachren, who retired in 1994, served as theatre arts department chair between 1974 and 1983 and as dean of the Shuford School of Performing Arts between 1983 and 1991.
McCachren is a native of Concord and a 1954 alumnus of Catawba. He holds his master’s degree from the University of Oregon and his doctorate from the University of Georgia. During his tenure at Catawba, he received the Trustee Award twice, the Sears-Roebuck Foundation Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership Award and the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award. The N.C. Theatre Conference presented him the Marian Smith Distinguished Career Award in 1995.
McCachren and wife Minnie live in Salisbury and have four adult children and five grandchildren.
Epperson, who retired in 2002, served as professor of theatre arts from 1970 until 1979, and as theatre arts department chair from 1985 until 2002.
Epperson was born in Tennessee and grew up in Arkansas. He studied speech and theatre as an undergraduate at the University of Arkansas and earned his master’s degree in theatre there. He earned his doctorate in theatre from Florida State University. Before joining the faculty at Catawba, he taught briefly at Appalachian State and then went on to direct the drama education program at the University of Oklahoma for several years. He interrupted his tenure at Catawba for six years while he worked as a publisher for Worrell Newspapers and served as associate professor at Western Carolina University.
Epperson and wife Lucinda make their home in Salisbury and have two adult children and two grandchildren.