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Theater Professor Leaves Giving Legacy to the Arts

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A $100,000 gift from the estate of the late theater professor Dwight Richard Odle will support students in the College of the Arts.

The gift will be directed to the endowment for MAMM Alliance for the Performing Arts, which raises funds to provide program grants for dance, theater and music activities that help students align arts, academics and careers. Proceeds from the endowment will help fund these grants.

“Richard spent his professional life teaching, mentoring and sparking creativity in hundreds of theater students. He became associated with the MAMM Alliance because it so perfectly fit with his desire to nurture the next generation of artists,” said Teri Allen, Odle’s close friend and trust executor. “He’d be thrilled to know that his legacy of giving will continue to open doors for students in the College of the Arts.”

Odle taught at Cal State Fullerton from 1967 to 1980 and died July 20, 2018. He endowed the Clayes Performing Arts box office, which now bears his name. Beyond his years at CSUF, Odle was very active in the theater community, and designed costumes for companies, including Laguna Playhouse and South Coast Repertory. Among his many credits is the costume design for the Repertory’s long-standing annual production of “A Christmas Carol.”

“Richard was such a beloved and dedicated board member. He produced many unforgettable events for MAMM Alliance,” said Verne Wagner, president of the organization. “This gift is such a heartfelt representation of his generosity and dedication to students. His memory lives on in their work and promise.”

“Since its founding, MAMM Alliance has made grants of more than $300,000 to support College of the Arts student programs in music, theater and dance. We are so grateful for their unwavering support — and grateful to Richard, of course, as his impact in education and the arts continues,” said Dale A. Merrill, dean of the College of the Arts. “Richard was a one-of-a-kind individual whose generosity was as big as his passion for theater.”

The gift, he added, will increase the endowment and enable the college to provide additional support for performing arts students and their productions, as well as special educational activities such as artist residences and performance showcases.