April 24, 2007
A Shining Star Awarded to a Shining Star of a Teacher!
La Salle Honors Sid MacLeod
for 48 Years of Dedication and Service
Sid MacLeod probably never considered how long he might stay at La Salle University because he was too busy to think about it.
“I don’t know that I ever thought about staying here as long as I have,” said MacLeod, who joined the faculty in 1959. “I couldn’t put a date on it. It just seemed there were always things that had to be done, and I did them.”
For his dedication to students and teaching during the past 48 years, the Communication Department presented MacLeod with its annual Shining Star Award on April 20 and launched a drive to raise funds to create an endowment fund in his name. The gala reception was held at the Haverford School in Haverford, Pa.
“The interaction with students is what I enjoy about teaching,” said MacLeod. “The things that I’ve been involved in, whether it’s directing a play or musical, or teaching a class in speech or TV production, are where you get to challenge them or stimulate their thinking: that’s what I like best about working here.”
And his former students agree. Several returned to perform on stage for MacLeod, including Pat Cronin, former head of the actors wing of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, who did readings from Bespoke Overcoat, a play MacLeod directed him in while he was a student; Ralph Garman, DJ for KROQ-FM in LA, who did a duet of “Magic to Do” from Pippin; and Kate McCauley, who did a duet of "You're Just in Love," an Irving Berlin song from the musical, Call Me Madam.
Later, a dozen alums saluted with MacLeod with a production of "One" from A Chorus Line.
Brother Gerard Molyneaux, a La Salle professor who founded the Communication Department, said a typical day for MacLeod “begins at 7:30, when he throws himself into teaching, taping, and the tweaking. He finds the lost sound on a student’s project and prods the printer into spilling out a desperate prof’s mid-semester exam. Between times, he is collaborating with colleagues on a Channel 56 production, recording a meeting of the Sisters of St. Joseph, or editing yet another documentary program for the Christian Brothers or about La Salle. When the day’s done for the rest of us, Sid heads to the Hayman Center to tape the basketball games, where the players and coaches know him as ‘Super Sid.’”
As the Communication Department grew (it’s now one of the largest undergraduate majors at La Salle), Molyneaux said MacLeod virtually redesigned its building on South Campus.
A native of Chicago, MacLeod arrived at La Salle after earning a B.S.S. in economics from St. Mary's College in Winona, Minn., and an M.F.A. in speech and drama from The Catholic University of America.
In 1994, MacLeod received the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, and in 2000 he was named an honorary Christian Brother, the order that founded and operates
The Shining Star Award is given to a professional with an outstanding career in communication and also a record of service to the community. Last year’s recipient was the late actor Peter Boyle, a 1957 graduate of La Salle.
“He's generous with his time and talent,” said Lynne Texter, current Chair of La Salle’s Communication Department. “In addition to teaching, he's given thousands of tours to prospective students and their parents, manages every piece of equipment in the building, and conducts workshops for high school students, Girl Scouts, etc.”
“He's passionate, compassionate, dedicated to La Salle, enthusiastic, and caring,” said Texter. “He teaches by example, working with students and colleagues in and out of the classroom.”
Eileen Matthews, a 1981 La Salle graduate, said, “Sid proves that being passionate about your job, is the best way to inspire and to be successful. As a student, I learned that from him. He has also helped me on my own television productions over the years, and I am forever grateful.”
In 1987, Matthews produced a show called Dreams for WCAU-TV in Philadelphia. It was a special featuring students at the city’s High School for Creative and Performing Arts. MacLeod helped Mathews with the production, and the show wound up winning a local Emmy.
Kathy Reynolds, a 1997 graduate and reporter for WGGB-TV in Springfield, Mass., said “Sid was one of my favorite teachers. He had the most wonderful way of putting the fear of God into you – he was a very demanding professor who knew what a student needs to achieve in class in order to succeed. Sid challenged me to be better, to learn what I needed to learn to get that first job, which I never would have gotten without his help.
“He’s given me umpteen pieces of advice,” Reynolds added. “He’s helped steer my career. Sid never told me what to do, but always questioned me in a way that made me decide for myself what was the right path to follow.”