Walking into the De Witt Theatre Arts Center, the first face you’ll see is Rebecca Donahue.
With her strong ties to Northwestern, Donahue makes an impact in students’ lives as she cares for those around her.
Donahue grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she attended performing arts schools throughout elementary and high school.
“Theater and dance have been important to me (along with the appreciation of all arts) as long as I can remember,” she said.
Aside from school, church was Donahue’s home away from home. She enjoyed the welcoming aspect of her home church and the people who always made her feel loved.
Growing up in performing arts schools and being involved in her church both played an important role in her choosing to attend NW.
“I thought Northwestern had the best theatre department of the Christian schools that I looked at, and I still believe that today,” Donahue said.
In August 2002, she applied to NW. Donahue had been passively a part of the NW community since 1998. She had two older sisters who were already theatre majors on campus. What made her transfer was watching her older sisters and the interactions they had with the school community.
“I wanted the personal connections that my sisters had with their professors and peers around them,” Donahue said.
As the theatre department building and office manager, Donahue interacts with students in many different ways. She loves when students stop by her desk and tell her about their day.
“I love connecting with students and hearing their dreams, how they process what is going on in life and mostly just laughing and being goofy,” Donahue said.
She also interacts with students through RUSH, an annual dance performance directed and performed by students on campus. When Donahue founded RUSH back when she was a student, she wanted to offer a way for all students to be involved in dance, even for those who may not think they have the skill. Last year was her first year advising RUSH after not running it since she was a student in 2005.
“Unfortunately, it was cut short, but it was still fun to get to know students that don’t usually frequent our building,” she said. “My favorite thing about the performances is that I get to encourage and empower students to use the gifts that God gave them that make them unique.”
When asked what her favorite parts about NW are, she said theater of course, and that everyone should go see the shows and experience great theater. Along with that, Donahue has always loved the connection and passion that the faculty and staff have for the students at NW.
“Some of my most incredible friends today are people I had as professors while I was a student at Northwestern,” she said.
Donahue has also left an impression on the students who visit her office.
“I have spent many hours, just within the last year, in her office chatting about many different things,” senior Kevin Griffiths said. “She cares about us very much and will always be there with a helping smile and a caring heart.”
Junior Wyatt Waage echoed Griffiths and could also attest to the welcoming environment that Donahue creates as soon as you step through the door.
“Becky is someone who is always willing to help out in any way she can. No matter if it is getting things ready for rehearsal, answering any questions you have or helping you figure out life’s mysteries,” Waage said. “Personally, I have gone to her numerous times to have her help me externally process things. She is almost always at her desk and greets you when you walk into the theatre office. She helps make the theatre building the warm, friendly and welcoming place it is.”