Former ICC Professor Inspires Alum to Endow Scholarship

Performer on stage holding a book.

Gary Mitchell, an ICC alum, former faculty, and active pirate community member, made his appearance on stage at The William Inge Theatre on Thursday, December 1, during the ICC Fine Arts matinee performance of OUR TOWN. Mitchell plays the same role on the stage he performed on 20 years ago. After completing his education, he returned to campus and taught theatre and English for the next 31 years. He is now retired and enjoys participating in theatre performances on the ICC stage.

Dedicating himself to education and his students, Mitchell touched the lives of thousands, Everett Falder being one of them. Falder, currently living in Kentucky, attended ICC in 1974-75; he was a student-athlete on the football team and a theatre enthusiast. His enthusiasm for his college success was driven, in part, by his previous English Professor, Gary Mitchell.

"College opened a new world to me," said Falder. "It brought special people into my life. Gary is one of those people." This impact inspired Everett to help endow the 'Gary Mitchell Endowed Scholarship Fund' through the Independence Community College Foundation. "I would share with every student at Independence that faculty members do care about you," explained Falder. "They want you to learn and explore to be successful in life. Gary made a positive impact and difference in my life." 

The scholarship will be awarded annually to a student involved in football, theatre program, or both. Potential scholarship awardees may have an interesting opportunity to perform alongside Mitchell on stage in a future ICC production.

"Everett was in one of my English comp classes. Ray Rothgeb cast him in BRIGADOON where Everett met and became friends with my brother Mark, an ICC theatre student. Mark had written and was directing a one-act play for the Anna Play competition," explained Mitchell. "That connection resulted in Everett winning the "Best Supporting Actor" Anna Award in 1975."

Mitchell continues to work alongside and encourage students on stage.

"Everett and Gary's story reminds us how important mentors are in life," said Bryce Saia, Foundation Executive Director.

"It also reminds all of us at the College and Foundation why we are here and believe in what we do."

"So, what to do with this wonderful, endowed scholarship that Everett has generously made possible in my name? I hope it can be used to encourage anyone in athletics to try the performing arts," concluded Mitchell. "May this scholarship open the door for someone as special as Everett Falder."

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