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Arthur Wagner

Faculty In Memoriam / Founding Chair

Arthur Wagner
  • 9500 Gilman Dr
    Mail Code: 0344
    La Jolla , California 92093


Arthur Wagner (May 11, 1923 – September 21, 2015) graduated from Stuyvesant High School in NYC. He earned a B.A. degree in Philosophy from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana in 1946 and a M.A. degree in Theatre Arts two years later from Smith College in Northhampton, Massachusetts. Wagner served as supervisor of dramatic activities at the Jewish Community Center in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1948-49 and as artistic director at the Springfield Civic Theatre in 1949-50. He went on to study with Paul Mann at the Actors Workshop in New York City from 1953-1955. Wagner was named head of the Theatre Arts Department and director of the Annie Russell Theatre at Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida in 1956 and held the position for nine years while earning his Ph.D. in Drama from Stanford University in 1962.

From 1965 to 1967 he served as professor of drama at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana where he established the Graduate Actor Training Program. He spent two years as a professor and director of Graduate and Undergraduate Actor Training Programs at Ohio University before moving to Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1971, after serving for three years as professor of drama and founder/director of the Graduate Actor Training Program at Temple University, Dr. Wagner joined the UC San Diego faculty in 1972. He served as the founding Chair of the UC San Diego Department of Drama from 1972 to 1977 and from 1977 until his retirement in 1991, he was head of the Graduate Professional Actor Training Program. Professor Wagner also served on the Board of Trustees of the La Jolla Playhouse. A gifted professional actor and director, he had numerous directing and acting credits and was a member of Actors Equity.