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The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival awarded Weber State University Professor Catherine Zublin with the region eight gold medallion, an award selected to someone who is a conductive instrument to the KCACT foundation.

The award will be given to Zublin at this year’s festival in February.

Zublin had no idea she was being considered for the award. “I was a little overwhelmed and got pretty teary,” Zublin said.

Zublin has been teaching at WSU for 32 years. She said she wouldn’t still be here if it weren’t for her colleagues and the open minds of her students.

“Catherine’s best quality as a professor and mentor is her fierce belief in her students,” Jessica Sume, one of Zublin’s students, said. “She is always in our corner. I have seen her literally bend over backwards for the best interest of her students and the university. She makes me feel like I can conquer the world.”

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The kind of educators KCACT highly value are professors who encourage young artists to pursue their dreams, create new artistic content and develop their talents.

KCACT is a foundation built to create renowned performers and performances while encouraging young artists and new works to continue growing around America.

The festival is split up into eight different regions. Region eight covers Arizona, Central and Southern California, Hawaii, Southern Nevada and Utah.

This year, KCACT will host their fiftieth festival. The festival is a five-day event where students come and present their work to experienced artists, audition for scholarships and attend workshops that promote students and teachers to become more informed theater artists.

Gill Gonzales, chair of KCACT region eight, explained that the gold medallion is the highest honor that the group awards.

The participant of the award is chosen from faculty, department or organizations that have contributed to the mission of KCACT.

“It [the award] is given to someone who has an excellence in theater education,” Gill Gonzales said.

However, being involved in theater was not something that Zublin grew up doing. She received her degree in Communication.

“I was in a play in high school, but I was no good. I took an acting class in college but was also bad at that,” Zublin said. “I realized that costuming was the most interesting part of theater for me. I liked helping the actors create their character.”

After college, Zublin received a position with The Colorado Shakespeare Festival. Zublin felt honored to work for the prestigious festival.

She started her career in theater working with props, but quickly realized that props was not her passion. Zublin transitioned her responsibilities from props to costume. She was able to take on this role due to her ability to sew.

Since then, Zublin has accomplished goals and served her community by designing costumes for more than 60 theater productions, received The Crystal Crest Master Teacher award, been named outstanding mentor from the university’s office of undergraduate research, served on the Treehouse Children’s Museum Board of Directors, directed fundraisers for the Ogden OUTReach Resource Center and held Chair of Design, Technology and Management for KCACT Region eight.

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Among her achievements, this year, WSU was chosen to perform the production of Where Words Once Were at the festival, and Zublin did all of the costuming designing for this show.

Zublin expressed her humble gratitude for having her peers at WSU and people throughout the region recognize her contributions.

“It is a pleasure to recognize Catherine with this award,” Gonzales said. “She has been a valued member of the WSU faculty and has contributed to many students in achieving excellence in theater. She is a very important person to our organization and it is important that she is recognized with this honor.”

Toria Snow, a student of Zublin, knew the year before she graduated from high school that she wanted to go into costume design. Snow was told that if she wanted to be successful in her career choice, she would need to come to Weber and learn from Zublin.

“Catherine’s passion for her craft and her students is an inspiration to me,” Snow said. “She is talented and creative and she chooses to use her skills to help young artists be the best that we can be.”

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Even though Zublin did not start her career with a heavy theater background, she has made a memorable impact on students, professors and other show business enthusiasts within the region.

“I think the fact that Catherine didn’t grow up in theater is one of her best qualities,” Sume said. “Catherine approaches every project with a unique perspective and fresh mindset. She has qualities that are rare among theater artists.”

Zublin sets high expectations for her students and goes above and beyond what is normally expected of a professor. Gonzales feels instructors like Zublin are greatly important in today’s society.

“We live in a very difficult time in our country’s history. The performing arts are so important because they help us make sure this moment in time has a story attached to it,” Gonzales said. “Catherine has contributed to this mission by being a solid and stable leader and bringing forth many improvements and innovations. For that, as an organization, we cannot thank her enough.”

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