Remembering Ursinus College Professor Who Turned Theater and Dancing into Academic Subjects

Professor Joyce Henry.
Image via Ursinus College.
Professor Joyce Henry.

When Joyce Henry joined Ursinus College in 1972 to teach in the English department and advise the drama club, the theater was not even an academic major, writes Ed Moorhouse for

“It existed and was vibrant, but it was something of an extracurricular activity for students,” said Professor of Theater Domenick Scudera. “She was finding a way into the academic world that existed here by bringing her work into different departments. She laid the foundation for a theater and dance program to happen.”

During her more than two and a half decades with the school, Henry introduced acting classes as well as independent studies in directing and playwriting. She also founded proTheater.

Just after starting, she was the lead artist in charge of creating and directing the shows, but she was also responsible for the financial aspects of productions. Her hard work showed she was doing a lot for the college, with very little.

“We had few resources, but a lot of heart, and Dr. Henry was the driving force behind it all,” said Associate Professor of English Rebecca Jaroff.

Henry produced and directed over 50 plays from 1981 until she retired in 1999.

Read more about Joyce Henry at

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