University Park, IL,
11:25 AM

GSU Awards Goodman Theatre Icon and Civic Leader Honorary Degrees

Contact: Zion Banks


Phone: 708.235.7685


Goodman Theatre Resident Director Chuck Smith and Civic Leader Terry Mazany will receive honorary degrees from Governors State University for their leadership to remove cultural and economic barriers, while promoting a vision of equity and inclusion.

The honors will be awarded during the May 18 commencement ceremonies at the Tinley Park Convention Center.

Smith’s and Mazany’s innovative leadership have inspired the human spirit and transformed lives through creative expression that speaks to the university’s 1969 founding charter.

“In recognition of the 50th anniversary, Governors State University salutes Mr. Smith and Mr. Mazany, two individuals who personify the university’s mission to offer an exceptional setting for inspired education, where students’ imagination is set free,’’ said President Elaine P. Maimon.

Smith, a 1977 GSU alumnus, was among the first graduates of the so-called university without walls.

For more than 25 years, Smith has illuminated the Goodman stage, beginning as an understudy before shifting his focus to directing.

His interpretations of such classics as “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” “A Raisin in the Sun,” and “The Amen Corner” have won critical and commercial praise. Through the Artistic Collective, Smith has shaped careers, working with some of Chicago’s most notable acting talents, including Felicia P. Fields, Harry Lennix and Irma P. Hall, and he mentored emerging playwrights such as Lydia Diamond, Lynn Nottage, and David Barr.

Smith holds a Chicago Emmy Award for NBC’s “Crime of Innocence” and was theatrical director of  the Emmy-winning “Fast Break to Glory”. In 1997, he received the Award of Merit from the Black Theatre Alliance.

Mazany is a self-described educator and civic leader who led the Chicago Community Trust (CCT) for more than a decade, doubling the agency’s assets to more than $2.8 billion and increasing annual grant making to nonprofits to more than $300 million.

In 2011, Chicago Public Schools named him interim chief executive officer, a nod to his strategic leadership with traditional education initiatives at CCT.

The same year, Chicago artists seeking new audiences found a welcoming ear at the CCT, which generously funded the “MADE IN CHICAGO” series, which introduced more than 50 companies and their vibrant urban stories to the iconic Center for Performing Arts at GSU.

In 2018, Mazany joined the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta as Senior Vice President for Philanthropy.

Mazany will be honored during the 4:30 p.m. ceremony on May 18, when graduates will receive degrees from colleges of Education and Health and Human Services.

Smith will be honored during the 10 a.m. commencement ceremony, along with graduates from the colleges of Business and Arts and Sciences.

Admission to the commencement ceremonies is by ticket only.


Governors State University (GSU) serves approximately 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students with degree and certificate programs that prepare them for success in business, industry, healthcare, the arts, and education. As a state university, GSU is committed to providing high-quality, accessible, and responsible higher education opportunities. GSU is located 30 miles south of Chicago in University Park, IL and offers the most affordable undergraduate tuition and fees in the Chicagoland area. GSU is committed to embracing diversity and academic excellence.