Upcoming Projects

Abbie Hoffman

More than 40 years ago, social activist and politician Abbie Hoffman paid a visit to the University of Rio Grande/Rio Grande Community College to meet with students and faculty.

Hoffman was a prominant national figure in the 1960s and 1970s, and now a Rio Grande student is researching Hoffman’s visit to campus in the hopes of creating a theatrical production based on the visit.

Lucas Lawrence, a sophomore from Patriot OH, is working on the project with Greg Miller, Ph.D., director of cultural advancement at Rio Grande.

In 1969, Hoffman was in Ohio for a student rally at Antioch College, Miller explained. Some Rio Grande students attended the rally, and then invited the social activist back to Rio Grande. Hoffman agreed to come to campus with the students, and then spent the night at Rio Grande.

Lawrence has read about Hoffman’s visit to campus, and he is now looking for any alumni or area residents who might have met Hoffman during his time at Rio Grande. He wants to hear about what the students, faculty or area residents may have thought of Hoffman during his time on campus, and he would like to learn more about the visit.

Depending on the information he receives, Lawrence is then hoping to turn the stories from alumni and area residents into a theatrical production. Any dates for such a production will be publicized at a later date.

Rio Grande has been able to successfully create several other theatrical productions  in this manner recently. The show, “That Was Bob,” for example, is based on stories from family members and friends of the late Bob Evans.

Currently, Lawrence is working with the title of “The Night Abbie Hoffman Spent at Rio Grande,” for his show, but the title may develop along with the story as he hears from different alumni and area residents.

The visit to campus made an impression on Hoffman, as he mentions it in his book, “Woodstock Nation,” and it likely made an impression on several Rio Grande alumni and area residents.

Anyone who would like to share their stories with Lawrence, or anyone who would like more information on the project is invited to call Greg Miller at 1-800-282-7201 or send him an e-mail at gmiller@rio.edu.

For additional information on upcoming events at Rio Grande, as well as information on the wide range of academic programs offered on the university’s scenic campus, log onto www.rio.edu.

Schoolhouse Scholars

A new local theater group is looking for children and teenagers interested in taking part in  theater productions.

The theater group is being sponsored by the University of Rio Grande/Rio Grande Community College, and will perform on campus and in the community. Children between the ages of 7 and 17 are needed for the new organization.

Area children and teenagers don’t need to have any experience with acting to be in the group, they just need to have an interest in being a part of the productions.

Lucia Colley a senior at the university who has been studying Performing Arts and Early Childhood Education along with Greg Miller, director of cultural advancement at Rio Grande, have a great deal of knowledge and experience in theater, and will lead the young actors.

Colley explained that the students will perform short stories, poems, original plays and other types of theater. Some of the productions will involve music.

All of the productions will be focused around a common theme of stories from the life of the 1800s.

“We want to do a lot of McGuffey Reader type of stories,” Miller said. This refers to the types of stories that were told in the textbooks back in the days of the one-room schoolhouses in the 1800s.

“Every story dealt with values and morals,” Miller said. The stories were all used to tell lessons and teach the students, and they also make entertaining presentations that the theater group can work on today.

The cast will start off rehearsing at Rio Grande, but could also rehearse out in the community, depending on where the students who are participating live. If the theater group garners enough interest from the community, Colley and Miller would also consider starting additional clubs based around where the students live in the region.

Starting off, though, they are looking for any area students who enjoy acting or would like to learn more about acting, and would like to make new friends with other children and teenagers from the region.

The group will perform on campus, but will also perform at festivals and special events in the community. The shows will be fun for everyone involved, and they will also be a great learning experience for the children and teenagers.

“Being involved in theater is great for helping people improve their public speaking skills, it gives them confidence and it gives them an opportunity to gain a greater understanding of different pieces of literature,” Miller said.

“Being a part of this group will also help the students build self-awareness, expand their social network and enhance their communication skills,” he added.

“Involvement in theatre boosts imagination and creativity, enhances inter and intra personal relationship skills, improves self-confidence and self discipline and encourages collaboration and cooperation, because it takes all of us working together to bring the show to the stage,” Colley said. 

The theater group can also be a fun summer activity for children and teenagers while they are out of school. The cast will perform throughout the year, though, as many students will want to stay with the organization during the school year.

Colley and Miller are hoping to start the theater group soon, and are encouraging interested parents and children to contact them by calling Miller at his office at Rio Grande at 245-7030 or 1-800-282-7201, or by sending him an e-mail at gmiller@rio.edu or by contacting Lucia at 740-395-7121 or sending her an e-mail at luciacolley@gmail.com

For additional information on the theater program at Rio Grande, as well as information on the wide range of academic programs offered on the university’s scenic campus, log onto www.rio.edu.


“River of Freedom” stories of the underground railroad that relate to the Ohio River and the roll Gallia, Meigs and the region played in the years leading up to the Civil War.

“The 56thincludes stories of the volunteer infantry that was formed in Jackson County and Gallia County to fight in the Civil War with the campaigns that were led by Ulysses S. Grant.  This division included 150 Welsh Americans from the local communities who still spoke Welsh and comprised the largest number of Welsh-Americans in any regiment of the War.