Loyola Marymount University (LMU) theater professor Judith Royer, C.S.J., who has taught at the university for 35 years, was named the 2008 Outstanding Teacher of Theatre in Higher Education on July 3rd by the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE).

She will receive the award at the association’s national conference in Denver on July 30th.

Royer teaches acting, playwriting, and dramatic literature/ criticism. She also is a director and producer, and she founded the Playwrights Center Stage Series, a course designed to help students develop and perform new works with guest professional artists.

“Seeing a student succeed is worth all the effort I put into my work,” Royer said. “It’s when I realize I am doing something right.

“You can sit and talk about theatre, or you can interact with people actually working in the business. My classes are created to serve as bridges into the professional world.”

The award honors a college-level faculty member whose excellence as a teacher is recognized by students and colleagues. Also, the honoree must have had a significant impact on students as scholars and artists and on their lives as members of the theatre community.

Royer received more than 100 letters of recommendation from LMU alumni, current students, grad students, colleagues, and members of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education.

The theater professor has directed more than 35 plays and 40 original scripts in the United States and British Isles. She has worked as a producer, director and dramaturg with new play development programs sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, Playwrights Theatre, The Mark Taper Forum and Theatre Gallery in Los Angeles, of which she is the founder and former artistic director.

In addition, Royer was awarded a Kennedy Center Gold Medallion for her work in fostering new plays and playwrights around the country.

For those considering a career path in theater, Royer offered this advice:

“If you don’t have a strong passion for the arts, then you probably need to find another career path,” she said. “It’s a long road, but if you can’t conceive of doing anything else: Go for it!”