Thomas Desiré Pawley, III, PhD, 98, of Jefferson City, passed away Monday, August 1, 2016, at Adams Street Place.
Dr. Thomas D. Pawley, III, VSU Class of 1937, was a pioneer in Theatre and is recognized as an educator, director, playwright, and historian. Dr. Pawley was Professor Emeritus of Theatre and a former Dean of Arts and Sciences at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri. He built the Speech and Theatre Department at Lincoln where he taught for 40 years. He was one of the first African Americans to be accepted in the old American Theatre Association and distinguished ATA College of Fellows.
Above all, Dr. Pawley was a leader in the National Association of Speech and Dramatic Arts (NADSA) and the HBCUs Summer Theatre Program. His book, The Black Teacher and the Dramatic Arts, ranks as one of the leading anthologies and scholarly dialogues in African-American Theatre. In 1952, he initiated one of the first college summer-theater programs for black students at Lincoln and, during his Lincoln tenure, directed 75 student plays. In 2011, Lincoln renamed its Langston Hughes Theater, in Martin Luther King Hall, as the Pawley Theater in his honor.
His father was professor of English at VSU. During his tenure he coached the debating team and authored an english text book entitled A Modern Advanced English Grammar for Secondary Schools and Colleges in 1930. A street was named for him at the University in 1986.