By Callie Ewing, BA ’03 MH ’22
Marty Sheridan, BA ’77, shared a unique bond with her youngest nephew, Tim Sheridan. Like Marty, Tim had red hair, so when Marty was with Tim and his family, strangers often mistook her for Tim’s mother.
“We were very close,” said Marty.
After Tim’s death at age 38 in July 2020 due to COVID-19, Marty originally worked with other family members to create an annual scholarship in his memory, but Marty recently moved forward on her own to endow the Timothy Andrew Sheridan Memorial Scholarship Fund in University Theater.
Tim loved all aspects of theater and had a degree in drama from the University of Southern Maine – a degree hard-won because of his struggles with high-function Asperger’s syndrome, which made him all the more inspirational to his aunt. He lived in Astoria Queens, New York, and worked for the city, but spent most of his free time working and volunteering at Gallery Players Theater in Brooklyn. Therefore, the scholarship will be awarded at UD with a preference given to students with a major or minor/concentration in drama or who are involved in University Theater in some way.
“Over the years Tim did everything from acting and working the lights to managing rehearsals, serving first as an assistant stage manager, then associate producer in 2017 and production stage manager in 2018/19,” said Marty. “One of my favorite memories of Tim was seeing him play Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream there in 2015; that’s what he loved. His day job was a way to make money so he could pursue these other activities.”
Chair and Director of University Theater and Associate Professor of Drama Stefan Novinski, M.F.A., BA ’92, said, “It is a special privilege to help honor Tim's legacy. This scholarship will help enkindle Tim's love of theater in UD students for generations to come.”
Marty traveled frequently and spent a lot of time and special occasions with Tim's family; her brother Dan is Tim’s father.
“We were all very close,” she said. “Tim always held a special place in my heart. When Tim died and we were all so heartbroken, I spoke with my family about wanting to do something special to honor him. We could not travel to Massachusetts for a funeral and gather as a family normally would due to the COVID travel restrictions, so it was especially important to find a way to remember him. It had to be about Tim.
“I had also recently received alumni emails from UD soliciting help for students whose studies were interrupted by COVID shutdowns and changes, which I donated to, and I had already been thinking along the lines of trying to further help UD students in a difficult time,” she explained. “I did well at UD and loved my experiences there in the ’70s (especially Rome!), but I’d had people helping me, and I wanted to pay it forward.”
A biology major who ended up having a career in seismic data processing and geoscience for ExxonMobil, Marty especially associates her time at UD with the lifelong friends she made during her four years, the wonder of her Rome semester, and the feeling of being in a secluded, safe, wonderful place. “I was always very happy there – I loved being a student,” she said.
She also appreciated that because of the solid background in science and mathematics that she had received at UD, she was able to shift into a career that didn’t exactly align with her major without having to go back to school, but she also believes the Core Curriculum was crucial to her formation and later success. “It had a strong influence on the way I think; I had a liberal arts education but worked in the science world. The humanities in the Core gave me a good foundation, a broader view, so that I could see there was more to life than science. I learned to think independently and to challenge myself.”
When Tim died, the two aspects, paying her successes forward by helping UD students and at the same time honoring Tim, came together. Marty decided to endow the scholarship as a way of continuing to do both of these things in perpetuity. “I just retired a few years ago, I had a good career and am in a good place,” she explained. “I think Tim would be proud of me for doing this because I’m helping people who are involved in theater.”
To learn more about contributing to this scholarship or establishing your own, please contact Associate Director of Development Veronica Moreno at 972-265-5846 or email@example.com, or go directly here, select "Other" from the dropdown menu and type "Timothy Andrew Sheridan Memorial Scholarship Fund in University Theater" to designate your gift.