Thanks to the generosity of alumni and community donors, the Department of Theatre and Drama offers scholarships to both undergraduate and graduate students. Students of all levels, from incoming freshmen to seniors, may be eligible. The descriptions of the scholarships that the Department offers are listed below. Please take a moment to look at the history behind the scholarship and the criteria that applies to the scholarship.

An email announcement will be sent out when applications are open, which is usually during a two month period in the spring. To apply for our scholarships, go to Theatre and Drama Scholarships. You can find scholarships throughout the university here.

Questions relating to scholarships can be directed to Terri Bonner.

An Award Ceremony will occur in the spring of each academic year for all scholarship recipients. Details relating to this ceremony will be sent out prior to the event.

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Katherine Buerki Scholarship

This scholarship fund was established in 1952 by Fredrick A. Buerki in memory of the late Mrs. Katherine Buerki.


  • Available to juniors for work during their senior academic year
  • Candidates are not required to have a major in Theatre and Drama, but special consideration will be made for individuals with character and possible success in the theater
  • Primary consideration is given to students who hold interest in theatre

Phi Beta Award of Merit

In May of 1971, the Phi Beta – National Professional Fraternity for the Creative and Performing Arts established this fund to the departments of Music, Theatre, Communications Arts, and Communicative Disorders.


  • Available to outstanding students in their Junior year (not necessarily a theatre major)
  • Awards rotate between the four departments

Jane H. Butt Scholarship Fund

The fund was established on June 30, 1972, through the estate of Margaret E. Smith in honor of her late sister, Jane Butt. Jane received her BA in 1910 from the University of Wisconsin.  Fall semester application process only.


  • Available to Graduate and Undergraduate students. If given to a graduating senior, it must be gifted before the end of the 2nd semester
  • Special consideration for seniors with outstanding contributions to the Department of Theatre and Drama

Charline M. Wackman Scholarship

This fund was established on February 9, 1973, as a request within the Last Will & Testament of Charline M. Wackman dated October 19, 1961. Mary Brabyn Wackman was Charline’s mother who preceded her death by some years. These scholarships were established for students in the performing arts related to theatrical production.


  • Available to Wisconsin residents only
  • Available to Graduate, Undergraduate, and incoming Freshmen students
  • Considerations include good academic standing

Helen K. Herman Memorial Scholarship in Theatre and Drama

Mildred Herman established the Helen K. Herman Memorial Scholarship Fund in memory of her sister on March 31, 1973. Helen Herman graduated from UW-Madison in 1925 and was a high school English teacher for 41 years devoted to student drama and performances. Mildred Herman received her BPH in 1931 in Letters and Science, and her MPH in 1938 in Education and Speech.


  • Available for Undergraduates, Fellowships, or Graduate Students
  • Awarded to Full-time students majoring in the Department of Theatre and Drama
  • Based on Academic ability, need, extracurricular activities – especially dramatic performance

Ross T. Quint Memorial Scholarship

The fund was established by Helen Ann Quint as a memorial to her son, Ross, on September 20, 1978. Ross received his BA in 1972 from the University of Wisconsin in Theatre and Drama.


  • Available to Graduate or Undergraduate students who are outstanding Theatre and Drama majors
  • Considerations include good academic record, character, and extra curricular activities
  • Targets students who possess more than just dramatic ability

Daniel J. Travanti Scholarship

The fund was established by Daniel J. Travanti on March 11, 1987. Daniel received a BA in 1963 in Speech from the University of Wisconsin.


  • Available to full time Graduate and Undergraduate students majoring in Theatre and Drama
  • Considerations for performance ability, academic standing, extra curricular activities and/or financial needs

Ronald Mitchell Scholarship

The fund was established on September 12, 1989, with a gift from Dora Mitchell in memory of her husband, Ronald Mitchell.


  • Available to outstanding Graduate students majoring in Theatre and Drama studying within the area of theatre

Midge North Loring Scholarship

The Fund was established March 28, 1990, by Richard L. Loring and Eric David Loring to honor Richard’s late wife and Eric’s mother, Marjorie (Midge) North Loring.


  • Available to Undergraduate female students majoring in Theatre and Drama

Fredrick A. Buerki Memorial Scholarship

The fund was established December 26, 1990, by the Department of Theatre and Drama with donations from friends, alumni and colleagues to honor the late Professor Emeritus Fredrick Buerki. Fredrick Buerki received his BS in 1927 and MS in 1935 from the University of Wisconsin. He was a Professor of Speech at the UW, the founder of the American Educational Theatre Association and the Madison Theatre Guild, and a technical director of the Wisconsin Union Theatre.


  • Available for Undergraduates only
  • Awarded to a talented student in technical theatre – preferred but not limited to scene design
  • Not necessarily aimed at need

Margaret Emma Williams Award for Excellence in Theatre

This fund was established in 2002 as a result of the Last Will & Testament of Margaret Emma Williams dated October 19, 1998. Margaret was a treasured teacher at Madison East High School. Due to her outstanding contributions to the Drama program at East High School, the school dedicated their auditorium in her name.


  • This fund supports the Department of Theatre and Drama and it’s students.

Marianne Ritis Cool Scholarship

Established in 2004. The scholarship goes to prospective teachers in the theatre education program.


  • Prospective teacher in the theater education program who intends to teach

Kaczmarek-Skloot Citizenship Prize

This fund was established in September 2004 with a gift from Jane Kaczmarek. Ms. Kaczmarek is a 1979 graduate of the School of Education with a degree in Theatre and Drama. She established this scholarship to honor Professor Robert Skloot, one of her professors in the Theatre and Drama Department.


  • Available to Graduating Seniors
  • Considerations to those who embodies a sense of history, social justice, and a sense of humor
  • Special consideration for those that are actively involved in the betterment of others and society (including projects that enhance the lives of people economically, academically, spiritually etc.

Performing Arts Students for the Overture Center Award

Established March 9, 2006, the Department of Theatre and Drama initiated this fund using gifts that were designated for Performing Arts Students for the Overture Center.


  • Available to deserving Graduate or Undergraduate students enrolled in the Department of Theatre and Drama

William E. Elliot Endowed Scholarship

This fund was created on August 23, 2006, to be a permanently endowed scholarship fund which is shared between the Department of Communication Arts and the Department of Theatre and Drama.


  • Available to Graduate and Undergraduate students
  • Applicants should be pursuing courses in radio, television, film, speech and drama

Full Compass Foundation Inc. Scholarship

Established in 1978, Full Compass Systems, currently located in Madison, WI, is a nationwide supplier and distributor of professional audio, video, and lighting equipment. On October 1, 2010, Full Compass signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the University of Wisconsin Foundation to establish this scholarship fund. The goal for this scholarship program is to “Keep the Arts in Wisconsin” and to help support those continuing their arts education.


  • Available to Undergraduate students with the intention to pursue or who has declared a major in the Department of Theatre and Drama
  • Very strong preference will be given to a Wisconsin resident who is a first or second year student

Friends of Dennis Dorn Scholarship Fund

Created on March 8, 2012, this fund was established as a permanent endowment to students in a field which has been kind and satisfying for Dennis Dorn and many of his friends and colleagues. Professor Dorn received a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and served as a faculty member and technical director of the Department of Theatre and Drama from 1976 – 2009. In addition to his ten years serving as Director of University Theatre, he held numerous elected offices in the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT), and was named a USITT Fellow in 2000.


  • Available to students entering their senior year and who will not graduate prior to the forthcoming fall semester
  • Applicants should be pursuing courses in the area of theatre technology and production
  • Recipients must be individuals of good character with a demonstrated commitment to the Department’s program of fully-mounted production