Members of Fordham University’s arts and sciences faculty recognized three of their own at the 18th annual Arts and Sciences Faculty Day, held Feb. 5 on the Rose Hill campus.
The event honors the work of the faculty in teaching, research and service, and recognizes individual professors for outstanding performance in those areas.
This year’s winners were:
• David Chabot, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology, recipient of the Undergraduate Teaching Award in the Natural Sciences;
• Evelyn Bush, Ph.D., assistant professor of sociology and associate chair for graduate studies, awarded the Undergraduate Teaching Award in the Social Sciences; and
• Matthew Maguire, M.F.A., professor of theatre and visual arts and director of the Fordham theatre program, recipient of the Undergraduate Teaching Award in the Arts and Humanities.
Maguire, an actor, director and playwright, also delivered the evening’s lecture, “Wild Man,” which was part performance and part analysis of his current one-man show of the same name.
The two-time Obie winner characterized his work as an exploration of the question, “How can we all get more wild?”
“A play is a ride on a runaway stallion,” he said. “Plays are vehicles to transport us to places we would not otherwise go—places of danger, places of abandonment.” It is the job of a playwright, Maguire said, to guide an audience through such wild terrain and return them safely.
Maguire metaphorically danced his way through first-person accounts of some wilder recollections from his childhood, young adulthood and up to, and including, the preparation of the one-man show itself—in which Maguire challenged himself to finish it in just three weeks for a set premiere.
Among Maguire’s wilder recollections were a bloody schoolyard brawl, a restaurant confrontation with a Mafioso and an IRA bomb scare.
Drama itself, Maguire said, may be the artist’s way of striving to safely understand why humans possess primal instincts such as the desire to fight and to kill.
But Maguire balanced his more worldly events with sublime moments that included waking up in a sunlit church pew to sounds of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and once feeling touched by grace when allowed to hold a host and chalice in a Mass with his parish priest.
“There are many wild moments that are ordinary,” said Maguire. “If we look for them, we will find that [creative]kernel we can all tap into.”
Maguire said that the one-man show, which was well received by critics, provides him with a new chance—a ‘wildness’—each time he performs in the presence of a new audience.
“Stopping terrifies me,” said Maguire. “As you see, I run a theatre program. I balance a budget. I have a family. I try to be responsible. These are not the works of a wild man, and yet I desperately yearn to hang on to that wildness.”
Equally important, said Maguire, is to inspire students inside the classroom to find their own sense of freedom.
“That is our goal,” added Maguire. “To bring the students into this place of sacred wildness too. Someplace alive, with a pulse.”
The evening was sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences.