Oakland University Says Goodbye to Beloved Teacher


On June 16, 2016, Oakland University (Rochester,MI) lost a faculty member, 63-year-old Thomas M. Suda, a teacher in the Music, Theatre, and Dance department.

Dedicated Teacher

Suda had been part of the Oakland University’s theater faculty since 1995, and for 20 years, he had been instrumental in the development and progress of many young students who considered theater their home.

On his Facebook page, students, family, friends, and colleagues posted messages to express their condolences and gratitude to a dedicated teacher.

One close friend wrote:

“The world lost a shining star, a truly beautiful soul, our Thomas M. Suda. It’s amazing to see just how many lives he touched so profoundly in his many years as a theatre professor at Oakland University. Tom, you will be truly missed.”

On September 9, 2016, a memorial celebration will be held on the university campus, starting at six in the evening.

Suda was born in Detroit, Michigan, and studied at Royal Oak Dondero High School and Wayne State University. He then taught at the Attic Conservatory Theater, the University of Detroit, and his alma mater Wayne State University.

Finally, Suda became part of the Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance, at Oakland University as a Special Instructor of Theatre.

He had a great love for theater, and had often dipped his hands into television commercials, industrial films, and voice-overs. He was also involved in several Off-Broadway regional productions.

Suda received various awards, including the Detroit Free Press James Kisicki Award for Ensemble Acting, and the 2016 recipient of the KCACTF Region 3 Gold Medallion Award.

Theater Lover

Thomas Suda was heavily involved in the production of theater plays held at Oakland University.

Just last year, Suda directed the university’s adaptation of “Equus”, Peter Shaffer’s story about a young man whose obsession with horses leads him to a dark path.

Suda had confessed that he hadn’t been sure what to work on for that year, when a book literally fell into his hands while he and his students were organizing the library. The book was “Equus”.

OU’s Music, Theatre, and Dance Department

The university’s department for the music, theater, and dance enthusiasts is a leading center of excellence.

The school has been given accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Music, National Association of Schools of Theatre, and National Association of Schools of Dance.

All students who are interested in joining the school are required to audition. The application is separate and must be done online.

Suda’s acting students have traveled to New York City last May for their very first Acting Showcase.

These students took workshops in the Business of Theatre, Acting for the Camera, Commercials and Voiceovers: Bobby Brooks, Gabriel Jamison, Sarah McEneaney, Briana Fogleman and Lester Finley.

Four casting agents watched these students and gave them feedback and comments to help them better their craft.

These students also performed their showcase for the associate casting director of the Manhattan Theatre Club, Kelly Gillespie.

Even though Thomas Suda is gone, his students and faculty co-workers continue to carry his torch of excellence and dedication for theater and teaching.

Rob Clark

SchoolCampus.org admin staff managing editor

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