Whittier College News Release

Whittier College
Office of Public Relations
13406 Philadelphia St.
P.O. Box 634
Whittier, CA 90608-0634


Media Contact: 562.907.4974 or mediarelations@whittier.edu


     WHITTIER, CA (June 15, 2005)—On Wednesday, June 8, Whittier College Professor Emeritus of Theatre and Communication Arts Jack de Vries passed away suddenly at his home in Whittier. The announcement was made to the college community by Interim President Jan Legoza.

     Joining the Whittier faculty in 1965, de Vries directed more than 80 mainstage productions throughout his 40-year association with the college. In 1981, de Vries took on additional duties, serving a one-year term as chair of the faculty. To Whittier College, de Vries brought extensive education and experience in theatre arts, including degrees from UCLA (C.Phil.) in theatre history, Boston University (M.F.A.) in directing/acting, and University of Redlands (B.A.) in drama and philosophy.

     He is remembered as an enthusiastic and dedicated leader among the faculty and particularly within the theatre department, weathering a variety of challenges in resources, facilities, and staffing.

     “After Founders Hall and the Poets Theatre burned in 1967 and before construction of the Ruth B. Shannon Center, the theatre department was forced to conduct its performances off campus,” said Interim President Legoza. “Jack’s unwavering support and guidance during these years helped to maintain a strong student following and ensure the vitality of Whittier’s theatre program.”

     Recognized by his peers and by the college community as a superior educator, de Vries was named Whittier’s Teacher of the Year in 1983 and recently was granted the title of professor emeritus by the college’s board of trustees. Outside Whittier’s campus, de Vries authored numerous publications and presented several broadcasts and lectures. But his career was also marked by his genuine love for performance. In his early days as an actor, de Vries played the role of “Claudius” in an NBC/Redlands production of Hamlet, a role for which he was nominated for a prestigious Peabody Award. In addition, de Vries was a playwright of four works—three of which were mounted at the Whittier campus. In fact, his final theatrical production for Whittier, the dark comedy “Boxes,” which he both wrote and directed, premiered at the Shannon Center in March 2005.

     Recalling his colleague, Brian A. Reed, associate professor and chair of the Department of Theatre and Communication Arts said: “Jack de Vries’ record of teaching, advising, artistic endeavors, and service to the college is extraordinary in many ways. He will, indeed, be missed by us all.”

     De Vries is survived by his wife, Linda and two sisters. A memorial service will be held on Thursday, June 16, at 11:00 a.m. at Sky Rose Chapel, Rose Hills Memorial Park, 3888 S. Workman Mill Rd., Whittier, CA.

     Founded by Quakers in 1887, Whittier College is an independent, four-year college offering a traditional liberal arts program integrated with both professional and pre-professional courses of study. With an emphasis on diversity, community, and curricular innovation, the College’s primary mission is to endow students with the education, skills, and values appropriate for global leadership and service.

     Whittier Law School, which is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools, is located on a separate campus in Orange County.


Whittier College Office of Communications
13406 Philadelphia » P.O. Box 634 » Whittier, CA 90608-0634
Tel: (562) 907-4213 » Fax: (562) 907-4927