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Award-winning playwright and author Samuel Hay, one of the leading scholars in black drama in the U.S., will join Lafayette's faculty in 2002-2003 as visiting professor of government and law.

Listed in the current Who's Who in America, Hay has served as interim chair of the department of performing visual arts and theater at North Carolina A&T, and also held positions on the faculty of University of California-Berkeley, Morgan State University, Washington University, Purdue University, and University of Maryland-Baltimore County. He has received numerous awards, including the Harvard University Foundation Medallion, the Distinguished Scholar Award from North Carolina A&T, and Arena Players Achievement Award (Baltimore).

The addition of Hay opens up a new area for the government and law department — politics and drama/literature, notes John McCartney, associate professor and head of government and law. He will teach African Cultural Institutions in the fall and two courses in the spring.

“It's important to have Professor Hay because we want well-rounded government and law students,” says McCartney. “Students need not only to be familiar with institutions and methods, but also with values and spiritual and ethical questions. Theater and drama get to the center of that. Particularly now with the issue of corruption so prominent, the ethical perspective is critical.”

In many respects, Hay's presence makes the government and law department unique, according to McCartney.

“I believe we're the only college of our caliber in the country to teach politics and literature as a discipline,” he says. “Professor Hay will be a tremendous asset because he feeds into so many areas, including English and Africana Studies. Lafayette will benefit from his ability to work with students and enhance their college experience.”

“He makes our Africana Studies program one of the best among colleges in the country,” adds McCartney. “Our program definitely is the best in the Lehigh Valley – I don't think anyone else comes close.”

McCartney expects that Hay will produce dramatic work while at Lafayette and participate in an international symposium on campus next spring that will honor the 105th anniversary of Paul Robeson's birth. He is conducting federally funded research on how to elevate theater in historically black colleges.

Over 15 research grants totaling more than $1 million have been awarded to Hay and organizations he has represented, coming from groups including the U.S. Departments of Defense and Education, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Maryland Council for the Humanities, Fulbright Foundation, American Bi-Centennial Commission, North Carolina Humanities Council, and several universities.

Hay is author of African American Theatre: A Historical and Critical Analysis (Cambridge University Press, 1994) and Ed Bullins: A Literary Biography (Wayne State, 1997). He has written many plays, including David Richmond, winner at the American College Theatre Festival, Region IV and performed at the Kennedy Center as Best College Production of 1999. He also has directed plays at North Carolina A&T, BMT Theatre in Oakland, Morgan State University, Purdue University, and University of Maryland.

Hay is editor of Black Protest Drama: Essays (Cambridge University Press, 2002) and has served as guest editor for Chicory: A Magazine of Black Writing, Footprints: Anthology of Black Student Writings, and Deep: Poetry and Things. He has written essays for publications such as Black Theatre Network Journal, African American Review, Black Women Writers, Media and Methods, Negro History Bulletin, Maryland English Journal, Black World, and several programs for annual Conferences on African American Theatre.

He has presented lectures, papers, and presentations at dozens of conferences, including “Black Theatre during the Harlem Renaissance” earlier this year at California State University, Dominguez Hills. Hay has served as archivist of the Ed Bullins Collection, Greensboro, N.C.; artistic director of Cottage Theatre, Riviera Beach, Fla., and Bullins Memorial Theater, Oakland, Calif.; professor of literature at Indiana State Prison, Michigan City; and curriculum adviser at West Jupiter (Fla.) Prep School.

Hay earned a Ph.D. in theater history and criticism from Cornell University in 1971, a master's in playwriting from Johns Hopkins University in 1967, and a bachelor's in both speech & drama and English from Bethune-Cookman College in 1959. He has conducted studies of psychodrama and American literature at Atlanta University, English for the disadvantaged at Goucher College, and summer repertory theater at University of California-Santa Barbara.

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