Professor recieves lifetime achievement award

Elizabeth Staub

Villanova professor and “Our Town” director James J. Christy received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Greater Philadelphia Theatre Alliance, which was presented to him at the 2005 Barrymore Awards on Oct. 10. The award honored Christy for his contributions both as an educator and a director in the Villanova and Philadelphia communities.Presenting the award were Fr. Peter Donahue, O.S.A, chair of Villanova’s theatre department, and Michael Hollinger, a Villanova professor and playwright, both former students of Christy. During his tenure at Villanova, Christy served as chair of the theatre department for 13 years and also started a Summer Shakespeare Festival, while still managing to direct in the Philadelphia and surrounding areas. Christy plans to retire at the end of the 2005-2006 academic year.Christy received his undergraduate degree in speech and drama from Catholic University in Washington, D.C. He then recieved his master’s from Villanova and his doctoral degree from Stanford. He returned to Villanova as a professor in 1967.”Villanova allowed me to be both a teacher and a director,” said Christy. “But it’s time to let it go.”After retiring, Christy looks forward to living abroad, possibly in Italy or Scandinavia, and hopes to have time to read and explore his other interests. Christy also expressed interest in returning to Villanova, a place he has called home for the last 39 years, and even directing one or two plays a year in the local community.”I’ll probably stop directing ten minutes after I’m dead,” said Christy.Directing “Our Town” in this, his retirement year, was something of a sentimental choice for Christy. At 23, it was the first play he directed at Archbishop McDevitt, a local Philadelphia high school. “The play deals with eternal issues and the cycle of life,” said Christy. “There’s a trick in the mind, a trick about youth. Everyone remembers the young years. They matter more because they are gone.”Now that Christy’s retirement is imminent, he seems pleased with his decision.”Retirement will be okay,” Christy said. “Right now, between the combination of directing ‘Our Town,’ the Barrymore Award, and the Lifetime Achievement Award, I’m very happy.”