The Richard B. Sessoms Fund for Student Experiences

Endowment Description

The Richard B. Sessoms Fund for Student Experiences is a permanently endowed fund established by Claire and Dwight Emanuelson ’84 at Washington and Lee University dedicated to encouraging and enabling students majoring, minoring or actively participating in the performing arts to take advantage of off-campus departmental career exploration experiences regardless of financial circumstances. The fund will be administered by the Chair of the Department of Theater, Dance and Film Studies in consultation with the Dean of the College.


The Richard B. Sessoms Fund for Student Experiences was established by Dwight H. Emanuelson and his wife, Claire Emanuelson, in October, 2011, to honor their friend, Dick Sessoms, for his outstanding service to Washington and Lee from 1980 to 2004. Mr. and Mrs. Emanuelson have established The Richard B. Sessoms Fund for Student Experiences to recognize the accomplishments of Dick Sessoms during his service to W&L as associate director of development, director of alumni programs, and senior director of major gifts.  In these roles Sessoms was admired by alumni, parents and students and known for his good cheer, wit, and tireless efforts on behalf of the University. Sessoms was so highly-regarded within the W&L community that in 1990 he became only the second person ever to be named an Honorary Alumnus by the W&L Alumni Association. The establishment of the Richard B. Sessoms Fund for Student Experiences also recognizes Sessoms’ love of music and theater performance. Throughout his career at W&L and since his retirement in 2004, he has enjoyed working with faculty and students on numerous theater productions and continues to play guitar and sing with local bluegrass musicians and with the band ‘Alone Mill’.

Chicago Trip 2018: February Break Theater Trip  #thtrbinge 2018!  

The Richard B. Sessoms Fund for Student Experiences Feb Break Trip to Chicago 2018

This February break, The department will be leading a trip to the windy City of Chicago to explore its vibrant theatrical landscape. We will be seeing a variety of performances and meet professionals from the industry. We will be seeing the Chicago production of the Smash Broadway hit HAMILTON, See PILLARS OF THE COMMUNITY, as produced by the award-winning theater company StrawDog. We will also see other shows picked from the best of the over 150 theater companies active in the Chicagoland area. An improv workshop, masterclasses and face time with industry professionals are in the works. We will be departing Lexington on Saturday the 17th of February and returning on Wednesday the 21st of February during February break. Cost will be $400, and this includes all Transportation, Housing for 4 nights, Tickets to all shows and dinners. Professors Jemma Levy and Owen Collins will be leading this trip to Chicago. Contact Melissa Gualtieri  immediately if you would like to be part of this trip.

New York Trip 2017
In February of 2017, the Richard B Sessoms Fund for Student Experiences subsidized a trip for 8 W&L students to New York City. Over the course of five days and four nights in New York the students saw 5 Shows, went to museums and galleries, toured three other theater facilities, met with more than 14 working theater professionals, met with the Dramatists Playwright Guild, and met with Will Cantler ’77, a Casting Director with Telsey + Company and Artistic Director MCC Theater.