Jarvis Christian College is proud to announce that educator and award-winning actress Dr. Tommie “Tonea” Stewart will be its Black History Month Convocation Keynote Speaker on Tues. Feb. 25, 2020, 11 a.m. This event is free and open to the public and will take place in the Smith-Howard Chapel. Seating is on a first-come first-serve basis.
Tommie “Tonea” Stewart, a native of Greenwood, Mississippi, has lived in Montgomery Alabama since 1990. She is a professional actress, play director, national museum exhibit director, retired tenured Professor and Dean of the College of Visual & Performing Arts at Alabama State University (ASU).
As Dean of the College of Visual & Performing Arts, Stewart served as administrator over the Departments of Art, Music, and Theatre. She also served as professor, role model, motivator, and mentor to students. Since her arrival, the number of theatre majors, minors, and the number of graduates from the Department of Theatre Arts has soared. The Department of Theatre Arts received the 2013 and 2014 Best Fine Arts Program Award from HBCU Digest. Over 75% of ASU theatre graduates have received full scholarships to major graduate universities such as Brown, Yale, University of California, Los Angeles, University of Louisville, Washington State, New York University, Pennsylvania State and Louisiana State University, to name a few. Youth and adults from the Montgomery area and across the nation have been touched by her summer performance and enrichment camps: T.A.P.S. (Theater Artists Performance School), Camp 3T (Teaching through Theatre), TTI (Technical Theatre Initiative), ARPAC (Adult Repertory Performing Arts Camp) and Camp Gifted for persons with disabilities.
After receiving a B.S. degree in Speech and Theatre from Jackson State University and an M.A. in Theatre Arts from the University of California at Santa Barbara, Stewart completed her Ph.D. in Theatre Arts at Florida State University in 1989. She was the first African American female to receive a doctorate from the FSU School of Theatre and the first McKnight Doctoral Fellow in Theatre Arts. During her study at FSU, Tonea also received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 2014 she was the recipient of the Alabama State Council on the Arts Fellowship Award.
As an actress, Tonea is best known for her recurring role of Miss Etta Kibbee in “In the Heat of the Night.” She earned an NAACP Image Award nomination for her role in the film adaptation of John Grisham’s “A Time to Kill” and a New York World Festival Gold Medal Award for the narration of Public Radio International’s series “Remembering Slavery.” Tonea began her acting career in 1969 and became the first African American to direct and star in a leading role at New Stage Theatre, the most prestigious equity theatre in Mississippi. Since then, she has directed over 40 plays as well as directed major museum exhibitions such as the Rosa Parks Museum, African American Museum of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and The International Civil Rights Museum in Greensboro, N.C. Stewart has performed in Canada, Mexico, South Korea, Scotland, Turkey, and throughout the United States, including Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. Her screen and television credits include: A Time To Kill, The Rosa Parks Story, Mississippi Burning, Invasion of the Body Snatchers III, Living Large, My Stepson/ My Lover, “Walker, Texas Ranger,” “Memphis Beat” “Matlock,” “Leave of Absence,” “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” “ER”, “Touched by an Angel”, “Mississippi Damned” “Come Sunday” and several Lifetime Movies, the latest being “The Wronged Man.”
Tonea has served as spokesperson for “One Church, One Child” of Alabama, Aularale Cosmetics and for NOSAP, a Texas based organization aimed at youth development. She was inducted into the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame and holds honorary doctorates from Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins, Texas, Talladega College in Talladega, AL and Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama.
Tonea is a member of the Order of The Golden Circle, a life member of the NAACP, SCLC, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and a dedicated member of Hutchinson Missionary Baptist church. She is married to Dr. Allen Stewart. They have three children and five grandchildren.
About Jarvis Christian College
Jarvis Christian College is a historically black liberal arts, four-year institution affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). The mission of the College is to prepare a diverse population of lifelong learners intellectually, socially, spiritually, and personally through providing interactive services and using varied modalities of instructional delivery.
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