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Noted Actress, Educator to Motivate AAMU Fall Graduates

Noted Actress, Educator to Motivate AAMU Fall Graduates
Posted By: Jehan Bunch on November 26, 2007

NEWS November 26, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Jerome Saintjones

Noted Actress, Educator to Motivate AAMU Fall Graduates

Huntsville, Ala. ---- A well-known actress, drama professor and youth advocate will serve as the Fall Commencement speaker at Alabama A&M University Friday, December 14, at 9 a.m. in the T.M. Elmore Building.

Since 1990, professional actress Tonea Stewart, a native of Greenwood, Miss., has lived in Montgomery, Ala., where she has served as a is tenured professor and chair of the Department of Theatre Arts at Alabama State University.



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As department chair, Dr. Stewart is teacher, role model, and mentor to many students at ASU. Since her arrival at the public historically black university, the number of theatre majors, minors, and department graduates has soared. Youths and adults from the Montgomery area and across the nation have been touched by Stewart’s artistry through T.A.P.S. (Theater Artists Performance School), Camp 3T (Teaching Through Theatre), and ARPAC (Adult Repertory Performing Arts Camp) summer performance and enrichment camps.

After receiving a B.S. degree in Speech and Theatre from Jackson State University (Miss.) and an M.A. in Theatre Arts from the University of California at Santa Barbara, Stewart completed her Ph.D. degree in Theatre Arts at Florida State University in 1989, becoming the first African American female to receive a doctorate from FSU’s School of Theatre and the first McKnight Doctoral Fellow in Theatre Arts.



During her study at FSU, she also received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

As an actress, Stewart is perhaps best known for her recurring role in In The Heat of the Night. More recently, she earned an NAACP Image Award nomination for her role in the film adaptation of John Grisham’s A Time to **** and The Gold Medal Award for the narration of Public Radio International’s series “Remembering Slavery.”



Stewart began her acting career in 1969 and became the first African American to direct and star on stage at New Stage Theatre, the most prestigious equity theatre in Mississippi. Since then, she has performed on stage in Canada, Mexico, South Korea, Scotland, and throughout the United States, including Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center, and has appeared on screen and television. Among her notable titles are: The Rosa Parks Story, Mississippi Burning, Invasion of the Body Snatchers III, Living Large, My Stepson/My Lover, “Walker, Texas Ranger,” “Matlock,” “Leave of Absence,” “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” “ER” and “Touched by an Angel.”

Dr. Stewart has served as spokesperson for “One Church, One Child” of Alabama and for NOSAP, a Texas-based organization aimed at youth development. In 1995, she was inducted into the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame. She has honorary doctorates from Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, and Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins, Tex., and has received numerous keys to cities throughout the United States.

Stewart is a member of the Order of The Golden Circle, a life member of the NAACP, SCLC, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., and a dedicated member of Hutchinson Baptist Church. She is married to Dr. Allen Stewart, and they have three children.

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