Edward E. Griffith, L.H.D. '88

Member of the faculty
1946-1976

October 3, 1992

Edward E. Griffith was born on February 4, 1911, in West Winfield, New York. He graduated from Ithaca College in 1930 with a B.A. in English. Following graduation, Professor Griffith taught at several upstate high schools before joining the faculty at the Colleges in 1946. In 1988 he was awarded the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters by Hobart and William Smith.

Affectionately known as “Griff,” he taught at the Colleges from 1946 to 1976, retiring as professor of English and drama emeritus. He and his late wife, Kay, were a prominent part of the college community for more than 45 years.

Although Professor Griffith taught many humanities courses during his 30 year tenure, his passion was for dramatic literature and theatre, and on campus his name became synonymous with “Little Theatre.” He produced more than 150 plays and directed most of them. He demanded from his actors and production crews the same total commitment he offered them. Of course, it was not the quantity of production that made his 30 years remarkable but rather their quality and diversity: Shakespeare’s Richard III, Twelfth Night, Merchant of Venice, and Othello; André Gide’s Oedipus; O’Neill’s Mourning Becomes Electra (the first college production permitted by O’Neill’s widow); Saroyan’s Beautiful People; Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s Alligation and Victims of Amnesia; the musicals Guys and Dolls, Kiss Me, Kate and Finian’s Rainbow; and Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman and The Crucible.

One of Professor’s Griffith’s greatest successes may have been his production of The Crucible. After it ran on campus for four nights, he took the production to Albany, where it played to several thousand people over a period of five days.

A review of Gide’s Oedipus in a 1953 issue of The Herald, the Colleges student newspaper, captures the magic of production that succeeds:

Absolutely flawless from a technical standpoint, the performance clearly showed that Director E. E. Griffith, who piloted the entire production, had completely outdone himself in his effort to bring to his audience an evening of high theatrical entertainment.... The director, the cast, the crew, and the entire staff are to be wholeheartedly compounded for all their efforts. It isn’t every day that students are given the opportunity to witness a production of this magnitude; it isn’t every college that will even attempt it.

He also directed the Genesee Players (1930-32), the Crawford Players (1933-36), the Glens Falls Company (1940), and the Colleges’ Summer Theatre and Children’s Theatre.

Professor Griffith taught many hundreds of students various aspects of his craft and left an indelible mark on the Colleges.


DFA RECIPIENTS

2018

Elena Ciletti

Patrick A. McGuire L.H.D.'12

2017

Jim Crenner

Benjamin Daise

Maureen Flynn P'09, P'12, P'16*

2016

Roger Farrand '49, P'78

Lois F. Nellis '46*

Ann B. Oaks '74, P'84, P'85, P'89

2014

Claudette Kemper Columbus

2013

Nicholas V. D'Angelo P'98

2012

Peter R. Beckman

Leonard Lawson L.H.D. '68*

Tom Millington

John George Van Deusen P'43

2011

Mary Gerhart

Joel Kerlan, P'89

Deborah Tall*

2010

Joseph N. Abraham, L.H.D. '81*

Donald L. Woodrow P'83, GP'15

2008

Valerie C. Saiving

William G. Hosking '47, P'74*

2007

Walter A. Ralls

2006

Valerie Kish

Frank O’Laughlin*

2004

John Loftus P'75, P'76, P'91*

Toni Flores P'94*

2003

Richard Heaton P'86*

Marvin Bram P'91, L.H.D. ’99

2002

Joseph DiGangi

Eugene F. Murphy P'74, L.H.D. '90*

2001

Ralph Bullard*

Kenneth Carle P'82, P'84, P'90

2000

Benjamin P. Atkinson, L.H.D. '86*

Otto Eugene Schoen-René*

John Lydenberg*

Lindsay A. J. Lafford P'65, P'71, L.H.D. '87*

1999

Robert A. Huff*

1998

Theodore Tellefsen Odell '20, Sc. D.'67*

Irving O. Bentsen '54

1997

Charles Delamater Vail '59, L.H.D.'04*

John Archer Silver*

Charles John Rose '76*

Francis Phillip Nash*

Joseph H. McDaniels, LL.D. '11*

1996

Abigail Mosey*

Brooks Otis, L.H.D. '77*

1995

John Muirheid*

Maynard O. Smith P'76

1993

Richard A. Ryan

William Pitt Durfee, LL.D. '22*

Walter Hetherington Durfee '08, Sc.D. '59*

1992

Elon Howard Eaton*

Edward E. Griffith, L.H.D. '88*

1991

Milton Haight Turk, LL.D. '38*

Kathryn Dapp Cook, L.H.D. '84*

1990

Horace Webster*

John Towler*

Hamilton Lanphere Smith, D.Sc. 1900*


* deceased

 

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