My Example
Dr. Martin J. Maloney (Northwestern University) provided quiet but powerfully effective inspiration to me when I took several of his popular culture courses at the School of Speech (now the School of Communication) back in the 1970s. A World War II era former marine, Maloney possessed a deep, soft radio announcer’s voice (colored by years of smoking) and delivered his lectures in the laid back manner of one who had already seen wave after wave of “the latest thing” and was not easily swayed. He was the first college professor I experienced who allowed that serious papers could have a touch of the irreverent, and who understood and embraced the importance of presentation creativity. It was liberating. His face lit up at student innovation and insight, and I wanted to bring that smile to his face as often as possible. In his courses I ended up performing for that audience of one. More important, I took the stylistic confidence he helped to encourage and nurture as I moved forward through each new setting of life. Though Dr. Maloney has long since passed on, I still appreciate the times he egged me on, obviously aware that I had something to say, and that I should take center stage and say it.

- Walter

Do you have a teacher who inspired you?
Share your story

by text message to 773-234-7836

by phone call to 773-234-7836
​or by email to

My Example
I remember Dr. Thompson, my high school physics teacher. Dr. Thompson included demonstrations of showing how physics worked (in this case kinematics; showing how to use principals to protect eggs from breaking in our home-made eggmobile.) Dr. Thompson taught theory interspaced with examples of how physics can predict the direction (results) and develop insights to interactions without becoming hugely mathematical or didactic. It was in this class I decided to become an engineer.

- Rich

My Example
I have been blessed with many wonderful teachers, but no one has impacted my life as much as Bill Raffeld. Among many, many lessons, he has taught me the importance of believing in people and consistently expressing that belief both in telling and in showing.

- Rachel


As we see in The Life of Galileo, inspiring teachers can shape the lives of their students and leave a legacy that lives far beyond their expectations. Here is a collection of stories from you - our Remy Bumppo Family - honoring those special teachers in your lives.

My Example
Brecht's Life of Galileo does not present a favorable view of the Catholic Church (that's an understatement). Ironically, however, most of the teachers who inspired me with a love for the arts and humanities were Catholic priests, who taught at Chicago's Archdiocesan Seminary. Fr. William Flaherty instilled a lifelong love of literature and Fr. Stanley Rudcki introduced me and many others to the delights of classical music. The most amazing figure, however, was Fr. Donald Cunningham, who somehow convinced Chicago's archbishop to let him spend several years studying at Yale's Drama School. When he returned to Chicago the authorities had no idea what to do with him and his newfound knowledge. Eventually they let him teach one night-class in drama at the newly opened junior college seminary in Niles, Illinois. This class taught me two things that have stayed with me: (1) I have no talent for acting; but (2) I love the theater and can never get enough of it. Thanks, Fr. Don.


My Example
My inspirational teacher was Nan Withers-Wilson at Loyola University Chicago - I had her for a Voice and Dialects course, but she really influenced my overall view of myself as a person and as an actor. I remember when she took roll call on the first day - she asked me if my name was pronounced 'Ee'liza or 'Uh'liza. I said I didn't care either way and Nan said, 'Oh, but you must care. You must know your name just like you must know yourself when you present yourself to the others.' She had similar stipulations about starting answers with "I think..." She would say "Just say what you know, not what you think." Once I graduated from Loyola, I had such a hard time answering the question, "So what do you do?" and I would kind of hem and haw and say, "Well, I want to be an actor, but I am working a temp job and doing this and that.." I told Nan that it felt almost physically impossible for me to answer with the words "I am an actor." Nan said, "Eliza, you don't believe you are an actor and that is why you find it hard to tell others that you are. Once you believe it, you will be able to say it." And that knocked the wind out of me, because it was true.Eight years later, I have finally worked up the courage to say it without batting an eyelash. Thanks, Nan.

- Eliza


Artistic Associate Shawn Douglass and Artistic Associate Kelsey Brennan.
​Photo Credit Johnny Knight.

My Example
Surrounded by outstanding teachers during my lifetime (mother, sister, daughter, colleagues, friends), being a teacher, and having been taught, my head and heart are filled with stories of the influence and greatness of teachers. Because it is Remy Bumppo who asked, the first that comes to mind is the story of Dan Reichard, my colleague at Oak Park and River Forest High School. Dan taught a wildly popular Humanities course, often standing tall atop his desk, dark brown, tousled hair waving in time to his expressive "conducting" in front of enthralled seniors. Dan used to say, about the arts and, especially, about the performing arts, that "we have only ten standing ovations to give in our lifetime." I often think of him when I am compelled to stand at good, but not great, performances, a newly de rigueur practice in many theaters. More importantly, I think of him at a truly great performance when I am compelled to stand by virtue of the extraordinary feat of a singular someone or of an ensemble - whether actors or speakers - whose irresistible storytelling in heartrending honesty reminds me anew of what it means to be human. I have known teachers like these, and I hope you have too.

- Brenda

Ensemble Member Kelsey Brennan and Artistic Associate Shawn Douglass.
​Photo Credit Johnny Knight.

My Example
I was in 6th grade and Mr Betts was my teacher. My father died that year in his sleep, so I wake up to go to school and instead my world comes crashing around me. He was paramount to my survival that year. He was so loving and supportive. He had all of us start a Thoughts notebook where I could really express my feelings of anger and sadness and he always helped me feel ok about those feelings and never judged me, even though I judged myself. I know he spoke to the other kids and explained what had happened and to not treat me any different but to always be kind and that if I acted differently there was a reason why. He made my world make sense again and he kept it as normal as possible for me. I recently just found him again and am going to send him a letter telling him how I feel., He is 83 years old now so I hope he is in good health and remembers me.

- Tracy