JOHN R. WATTS
FORMER DEAN, THE THEATRE SCHOOL
DePaul recruited John Ransford Watts as dean of The Theatre School in 1978. Under his leadership, the school grew from a three-year certificate program to one of the top four-year conservatory training programs in the country, graduating countless actors, designers, directors, technicians, playwrights, managers and dramaturgs whose impact on the Chicago and national theatre landscape is immeasurable. Watts was instrumental in orchestrating the acquisition of the historic Blackstone Theatre, now known as the Merle Reskin Theatre, in Chicago’s South Loop. Following his retirement in 1999, Watts was honored with the Via Sapientiae Award in 2000, the institution’s highest recognition for service and accomplishment.