Suzanne M. Davis Memorial Award

About the Award

The Suzanne M. Davis Memorial Award was established to honor one individual each year for distinguished service to SETC over a number of years and is presented during the annual SETC Convention awards banquet. Administration of this award is assigned to the Nominations Committee, with the final choice made by vote of the Board of Directors.

Suzanne M. Davis was the wife of Harry Davis, a SETC founder, its ninth president, and the original director of Unto These Hills. Suzanne was the production’s first costume designer and was the first to suggest that there should be an annual award to a person for outstanding service to SETC. When Suzanne died, Alvin Cohen endowed that award in her memory.

2019 Award Recipient

Congratulations to Esthere Strom

Esthere Strom, recipient of SETC's 2019 Suzanne Davis Memorial Award. Photo by Caitie McMekin.
Esthere Stom and SETC Executive Director Emeritus Betsey Horth. Photo by Caitie McMekin.
Strom accepts the award at the 70th Annual Award Ceremony and Banquet Gala. Photo by Caitie McMekin.

Award Announcement by Executive Director Emeritus Betsey Horth:

“The Suzanne Davis Award honors an individual who has contributed to theatre throughout the southeast and, in particular, to the Southeastern Theatre Conference organization.

And it is the most closely guarded secret we have. Our intent is to tell you about this person without them knowing. Yes, they are here, and at some point they will be asking themselves – ‘Is this me?’ And then after a few more clues, it’s ‘Oh my goodness, it IS me!’

This year’s recipient works tirelessly within our field of theatre in a particular area that is not considered overly glamorous. This part of our business doesn’t make headlines but without people like our recipient, theatre as we know it would not exist.

When it comes to representing theatre in the southeast, the individual’s vehicles tell that story; the countless stops across the region; the meetings; the advocacy; the desire to provide current information and assistance to those who are in producing theatre and events.

When it comes to SETC, this individual bridges both professionals and academics, organizes in great detail with the central office team, and has masterfully danced between management and business during the annual convention since 2012.

Our awardee this evening has been instrumental in proposing innovative ideas – new ways to look at the way we do things – AND more importantly, has helped SETC implement those ideas. We are also grateful for the wide range of sponsorships that this person helped initiate or sustain. These sponsorships have connected our sponsors directly to you by providing networking opportunities, information and just plain FUN!

Almost everyone who attended the convention this week benefited from this person’s insights and efforts.  When you strolled through this area looking at potential schools and really neat theatrical equipment, you were impacted by this individual’s efforts.

Some people are lucky to be born in the south, others choose to live, work and love the south. This year’s recipient is one of those people who chose to embrace the south.

And if you are still guessing – here is your final clue – I actually knew her 30 years ago when she was a tech student at the college where I taught — but we both had to land at SETC to know each other.

It is my great honor to present the Suzanne Davis Award to this most extraordinary volunteer: Longtime SETC Exhibits Chair Esthere Strom.”

Past Award Recipients

2018:  Betsey Horth
2017:  Ron Keller
2016:  Dean Slusser
2015:  Alan Litsey
2014:  David Thompson
2013:  Stephen Bayless
2012:  Bob Ankrom
2011:  Denise Halbach
2010:  Dennis Wemm
2009:  Donna White
2008:  Mike Murphy
2007:  Joe Filippo
2006:  Jack Benjamin
2005:  Victoria Pennington
2004:  Ward Haarbauer
2003:  Mark J. Malinauskas
2002:  Susan Cole
2001:  David Wohl
2000:  Clifton Egan
1999:  William E. Wilson
1998:  Donald Wolfe
1997:  Thomas Stephens
1996:  Gerald Ray Horne
1995:  Frank Mohler
1994:  H. Jefferson Corbin
1993:  Richard Newdick
1992:  Scott Parker
1991:  Donald Drapeau
1990:  Hazel Hall
1989:  Dicki Farrar
1988:  Donald Loeffler
1987:  Arthur Greene
1986:  Dorothy Schwartz
1985:  Robert Knowles
1984:  David Weiss
1983:  Alvin Cohen
1982:  Allen Bales
1981:  Richard Fallon
1980:  Delmar Solem
1979:  Robroy Farquhar
1978:  Mark Sumner
1977:  Albert Johnson
1976:  Philip Hill
1975:  Herman Middleton
1974:  Marian Smith
1973:  Ann Hill
1972:  Roger Boyle
1971:  Randolph Edmonds
1970:  Marian Galloway
1969:  Harry Davis
1968:  Leighton Ballew
1967:  Bob Porterfield
1966:  Paul Green
1965:  Sara Spencer