A prominent figure in the arts, Susan Helene Watts amassed more than 50 years of professional excellence in her field prior to her retirement in 2015. A theater instructor and division chair at Mid-Plains Community College for 15 years, she formerly worked for a number of other schools and universities, including Oskaloosa High School, Highland Community College, Valley Falls High School, and within the Douglas County School District. In addition, she was a communication coordinator and actor at Omaha Magic Theatre from 1989 to 1990, as well as the owner and manager of the Old Bank Café in the late 1970s.
Alongside her primary endeavors, Ms. Watts has been a delegate for the Nebraska Transfer Initiative since 1995 and a charter member of Leadership McCook since 1990. The former chair of the local integrity subcommittee on the North Central Accreditation Committee, she was also on the advisory board of Bright Beginnings, a member of the Campus President’s Advisory Council, and a board member of the Southwest Nebraska Community Theater Association. Locally, she was a parade judge for the Heritage Days Committee, a writer and performer of the banquet committee with the McCook Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the board of directors of Spring Fest, among other notable roles.
To prepare for her illustrious career, Ms. Watts pursued a formal education at Michigan State University, earning a Bachelor of Arts in 1963. She followed this accomplishment with a Master of Science from The University of Kansas in 1984. In addition, she has been a prolific author and actor, performing in such works as “Marvin’s Room,” “Pools Paradise” and “Mornings at Seven,” as well as penning “Dear Cassandra” and directing more than 60 musicals and plays throughout her tenure.
In recognition of her exceptional contributions to theater, Ms. Watts has accrued several accolades throughout her career. She was presented with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018. Additionally, in 2010, she was honored with the Dr. Gene A. Budig Award from McCook Community College. Earlier in her career, the Kansas Historic Theatre Association named her an Outstanding Kansas Theatre Teacher in 1983. However, the highlights of her career have been witnessing her former students graduating and accomplishing vast feats in the wake of their education.
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