In Memory

Robert Challener (Faculty)

Robert ChallenerCHALLENER, Robert B. 91, affectionately known as "Mr. C." by his college, university and high school students, passed away at his summer home in Wells, ME, Sept. 29, 2011. He was the son of Mr. & Mrs. George Challener of Canonsburg, PA. He received his BFA and MFA in Drama & Speech from Carnegie Institute of Technology, now known as Carnegie Mellon. He was a lieutenant in the signal corps serving three and a half years in New Guinea, and the Philippines during WWII. After the war he became head of the Drama and Speech Department at Transylvania College in Lexington, KY. While there he opened a summer arena theater, the first of its type in Kentucky. He then served as head of the Drama and Speech Department at the University of Kentucky. After moving to Florida, he became chairperson of the fine arts department at Northeast High School in St. Petersburg, where he taught drama and speech. He was the first to introduce arena theater to high school students in the state of Florida. He is the author of the book "Play Production Arena Style," a widely used book by college & high school teachers throughout the country. He and Nelson Morrow, his partner for 63 years, founded Harvesting for Scholarships for Ruth Eckerd Hall, an event that raises money for students to further their education in the arts, and also founded the Florida Orchestra Chamber Players, an evening of chamber music to help fund the Orchestra. Robert served 12 years on the boards at Ruth Eckerd Hall and six years on the board of directors of The American Stage. He received the Marcia P. Hoffman Arts in Education Award and the National Society of Arts & Letters Community Award. Memorial Contributions may be made in his name to the Florida Orchestra.