Six inducted into national theatre honor society

Initiates into the USAO Sigma Xi Cast of Alpha Psi Omega take a moment in the spotlight after having been inducted. Pictured are (from left) Brandon Nalley, Olen Cox, William Benzel, Katie Davis, Daniella Jimenez, Courtney Mayall and Russell Cunningham.

Six inducted into national theatre honor society



Six USAO theatre arts students were honored for scholarship and contributions to the university theatre as they were inducted in April into the Alpha Psi Omega chapter at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.


New inductees include William Benzel, a junior theatre arts major from Tulsa; Olen Cox, a senior music major from Grant; Russell Cunningham, a junior theatre arts major from Chickasha; Daniella Jimenez, a senior theatre arts major from Newalla; Courtney Mayall, a senior theatre arts major from Anadarko; and Brandon Nalley, a junior theatre arts major from Duncan.


The new members were initiated and welcomed to the organization by the current members of the chapter and their advisor, Katie Davis, APO member and associate professor of drama.


Sigma Xi is the USAO chapter of Alpha Psi Omega, a national theatre honor society. With more than 600 casts, the organization is the largest national honor society in America. Its goal is to acknowledge those demonstrating a high standard of accomplishment in theatre and to encourage a wider fellowship for those interested in theatre.


“It is always exciting to welcome new students to this prestigious society,” Davis said.


“The Sigma Xi Cast was chartered at OCLA in 1966 and the chapter was re-instated in the spring of 2008.  This year, five APO members will graduate, having earned the bachelor of arts degree in theatre arts.  We are also proud to reflect the interdisciplinary of the institution by having several members in our cast whose major is not theatre.”


In their annual business meeting, Sigma Xi voted to honor Chickasha resident and USAO alumnus Henry Heine with an honorary membership in the cast. Heine has contributed to many USAO productions, both onstage and in technical support, and is the past president of the Chickasha Community Theatre.


JD Meyer, a senior theatre arts major from Mustang and Sigma Xi Cast president, said that, “We really value the relationship that we have with our community arts organizations and are proud to have so many USAO graduates working in theatre locally, in Oklahoma, and across the nation.”


In an address to the initiates, Davis shared a message from the National Business Manager, Dr. Bret Jones of Wichita State University.


“Alpha Psi Omega, by conferring on you its fellowship, its ritual and its symbols, has brought you into the enjoyment of many advantages and privileges.  Earning the right to membership in this organization is in itself a recommendation of your ability and your industry.“


To qualify for the organization, students must demonstrate academic excellence and must have earned 75 points by participating in college theatre productions. It is required that production points be earned in more than one of the following categories -- performance, production, dramaturgy, playwriting or service.


As part of the initiation, each student must complete an examination and publically perform 12 lines from a Shakespeare monologue from memory.


The six initiated students were officially recorded in the register of the national organization and paid dues for lifetime membership in the society.


Those interested in more information about the national organization are invited to visit online.