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Backstage Reception

Cogan gift funds summer program at Elkhart's Lerner Theatre

Doloris Cogan and Marvin CurtisDoloris Cogan of Elkhart donated $200,000 to IU South Bend to establish the Doloris C. Cogan IU South Bend Summer Theatre Series at the Lerner, which will enable the Raclin School of the Arts to bring three to five fully-staged productions to the Lerner Theatre each summer in the future. Cogan was publicly recognized for her generous gift at an August 9 company performance of A Raisin in the Sun.

The IU South Bend Theatre and Dance Company began its first summer theatre series at Elkhart’s Lerner Theatre this year. From June to August, the performers brought the four plays from the 2011-12 academic season back to the stage—H.M.S. Pinafore, Johnny Appleseed, It’s a Wonderful Life – The Radio Show, and A Raisin in the Sun. 

Cogan says her background in speech, debate, and the arts helped her professionally and personally.

“I’ve had a wonderful life and I attribute that to my education,” said Cogan. “This is an opportunity to bring IU South Bend, the Lerner Theatre, and the people of Elkhart together to learn and enjoy the arts."

The idea of the summer series developed as a collaboration between Marvin Curtis, dean of the Raclin School of the Arts and David Smith, general manager of the Lerner. The project is seen as an extension of the work by the school of the arts to the Elkhart community, with the Lerner providing technical learning opportunities for students.

“Ms. Cogan’s generosity will provide youth, families, students and Elkhart residents the opportunity to experience the arts each summer in a beautiful theatre at an affordable cost,” said Marvin Curtis, dean of the Raclin School of the Arts at IU South Bend. “Our goal is to become a summer destination for actors, playwrights, directors, and others who want to explore their crafts.”

Cogan graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, Nebraska and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York City before going on to a distinguished career in corporate communications. Her résumé includes Pepperidge Farms, Inc., in Westport, Connecticut and Miles Laboratories in Elkhart.

//pictured Doloris Cogan and Ernestine M. Raclin School of the Arts Dean Marvin Curtis