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Lifelong friendship impacts future generations

Jul 15th, 2013 | Category: University Gifts


Sr. Mary Helene Probst, CCVI

Sr. Mary Helene Probst, CCVI

Mary Helen “Pinkie” Devine Pinner, ’46 BA, developed many lifelong friendships during her years at UIW. Sr. Mary Helene Probst, CCVI, was among those very special friendships.

Probst was director of speech and dramatics from 1940 to 1955, and was one of Pinner’s favorite professors. Years later Pinner and her husband, Bill, established The Sister Mary Helene Probst Scholarship in Speech/Theatre Arts to honor Probst.

They received two things from making this gift to UIW – 1) the joy this scholarship brought to Probst; and 2) the ability to make a positive impact on the life of a student.

Their scholarship supports students like Evan Michael Smith. Smith is the 2013 recipient of the Probst Scholarship. He is a theatre arts major with a minor in business management, and plans to graduate in December 2013.

In his freshman year, Smith auditioned and was chosen to play the male lead in UIW’s theatrical production “Play” by Samuel Beckett. But as Smith will tell you, acting is only one part of the theatre arts program at UIW. Students learn diverse skills necessary to put on an entire production such as carpentry and welding to build a set, lighting, costuming, and staging.

Though theatrical productions require much preparation, Smith has maintained a high GPA and earned two scholarships in addition to the Probst Scholarship – the UIW Theatre Arts Scholarship and the Dean’s Academic Scholarship. Smith credits his quality educational experience to his professors who really work to get to know the students, support them in their craft and want to see them succeed. Students receive exposure to professional actors, stage and lighting designers and are connected to UIW theatre arts alumni all over the country.

Smith participated in a 10-day summer British theatre study abroad course that included five days in London, two days in Stratford and three days in Paris. Students visited museums and attended theatrical productions. What impressed Smith most was being able to see multiple productions while there, and go on a backstage tour; it showed him once again why he is so passionate about theatre.

UIW student and Probst Scholarship recipient Evan Smith

UIW student and Probst Scholarship recipient Evan Smith

After graduation, Smith’s goal is to work in stage management or as a stage technician in a regional theater.

Smith is an example of the tremendous impact alumni and friends can make on students’ education by establishing a scholarship at UIW. Scholarships may be established with an outright gift or through a bequest or other planned gift. For more information, contact Alex Castañeda, director of major gifts and planned giving, at (210) 829-6071 or


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