Eastern Michigan University theater overseer Pamela Cardell Cato honored for service to area students, teachers and directors

Pam Cardell sits in the EMU seats at Quirk-Sponberg Theatre.

YPSILANTI – Pamela Cardell Cato, Assistant Managing Director for the EMU Theatre, has been honored with the annual Michigan Thespians Standing Ovation Award.

The award, given by the Michigan Educational Theatre Association, recognizes outstanding contributions to the state’s theater community.

Cardell Cato received the award for her work on EMU Theatre’s annual “Drama Day,” and for past assistance with special events for the Michigan Educational Theatre Association. Those include helping start a college scholarship program offered to high school drama students attending the annual Thespian Festival, an event hosted by the theater association.

Creating positive and lasting change

The organizing committee stated the award is given “In honor of those who create positive and lasting change by leading with optimism and light; giving unconditionally of themselves and forever changing each of us."

“The biggest contributing factor was participation with the Thespian Festival College Scholarship program.” said Cardell Cato. “EMU was the first university to attend the festival and inquire about offering scholarships in addition to the Thespian Scholarship that was awarded each year.

 “I inquired about being able to offer scholarships to EMU and was invited to watch the scholarship auditions and then present scholarship offers to students. This sparked other colleges and universities wanting to participate.”

From Cardell Cato’s initial inquiry, the program has grown from only EMU offering a couple of thousand dollars in scholarships to a variety of colleges and universities attending and providing scholarships. In 2018, more than $9 million was granted in scholarships.

EMU Drama Day an inspiring event for high school students

Drama Day at EMU is an annual recruiting event for the University Theatre. Hundreds of high school teachers and students are invited to campus to participate in engaging theatre workshops, along with lunch and a matinee of an EMU Theatre production.

Cardell Cato coordinates and manages all aspects of “Drama Day,” and successfully engaged 317 participants representing 24 high schools at 2018’s event.

 “My next big goal is to get everyone here on campus to come and see a show at Quirk (Theater),” said Cardell Cato.

Cardell Cato has served as Assistant Managing Director for EMU Theatre since 1996. Her current position includes coordinating EMU Theatre’s annual High School Drama Day and Scholarship Auditions, marketing and promotions, maintaining the theatre scholarship/service award system, assisting the student theatre group, Players at EMU, overseeing special events and outreach and assisting with Mainstage and Laboratory productions.

In her years of theatre participation, she has taken on a variety of roles such as actress, assistant director, director, producer and has worked with several area theatres, including The Purple Rose, Performance Network and the Riverside Arts Center.

About Eastern Michigan University

Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 19,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Health and Human Services; Technology, and its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website.

February 13, 2019

Written by:
Michal Liberman

Geoff Larcom