After nearly 30 years of teaching at the University of Mount Union, theatre professor Dr. Doug Hendel is preparing for his retirement from the institution.
Ever since his arrival on campus in the fall of 1982, Hendel, or “Doc,” as he most commonly known among students and faculty, has been an inspiration to many students thanks to his kind demeanor and obvious passion for both teaching and theatre.
“I really enjoy teaching and working with the students,” said Hendel. “I’ve also enjoyed directing the plays. It has been the kind of thing that has made me want me to keep coming back year after year.”
Through instruction both in the classroom and in the director’s chair, Hendel has connected with many students on some important lessons in the world of theatre and about life in general.
“Probably one of the most memorable things I’ve learned from Doc is to always live in the moment and to never be afraid to be too big,” said Nicole Alponat, a sophomore communication major. “He gives lots of people chances, and regardless if they’ve had theatre experience or not, he’ll give them a shot.”
Hendel estimates that he has directed nearly 70 plays while at Mount Union. Many people seem to agree that the shows he directs are often big hits for all audience members alike.
“His shows are always poignant,” said Jon Baley, a recent Mount Union graduate. “He always seems to pick shows that are not only great stories, but always hit home with the audience in one way or another and are never forgettable.”
During the summer, Hendel enjoys being involved in community theatre. He often participates in the Ohio Shakespeare Festival at Stan Hywet Hall in Akron, Ohio. Tom Stephan, a retired English teacher from Stow, Ohio, has acted with Hendel in several Ohio Shakespeare Festival performances.
“Doug is one of those guys you truly enjoy working with onstage,” said Stephan. “He’s pleasant, does his homework with line-learning, takes direction well and gives the audience 110 percent.”
Hendel says that he will continue to try to be involved in community theatre after retirement and even audition for some small professional theatre work in the area. On top of this, he has many plans to keep himself busy.
“My wife and I are planning on doing a lot of traveling to places like Italy and Costa Rica, and some places out west in this country,” said Hendel. “I also thought it might be fun to get back into playing the trombone and try to recreate my skills and see if I could get involved in a community orchestra. I also want to ride my bike more and play some golf,” he added.
In his final production at Mount Union, Hendel will be directing and acting as the leading role of Martin Vanderhof in the upcoming performance of “You Can’t Take It With You” by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman. The show will be performed on Feb. 17, 18, 23, 24, and 25 at 8 p.m in Rodman Playhouse. Also, before the performance on Feb. 18, there will be a reception in honor of Hendel from 3-5 p.m in the lobby of Rodman Playhouse.