Scholarship Stories: Professor of English Wendy Moffat

Donald Moffat (far right) with daughter Wendy and Neil Weissman, during an on-campus ceremony honoring Wendy.

Donald Moffat (far right) with daughter Wendy and Neil Weissman, during an on-campus ceremony honoring Wendy, a professor of English and Curley chair.

Longtime professor discusses Donald Moffat scholarship

Video by Joe O'Neill; story by MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson

After more than three decades of shepherding Dickinson students, Wendy Moffat is an impassioned advocate for the power of the Dickinson education. Now, this English professor and John J. Curley '60 and Ann Conser Curley '63 Faculty Chair in Global Education helps make a Dickinson education available to more students through a scholarship fund founded last year in memory of her late father.

Born in the U.K., Donald Moffat was a classically trained actor who appeared first on the London stage and then on Broadway, moving to the U.S. with his young family when his daughter, Wendy, was 2. To movie fans, he’s best known for his role as the nefarious U.S. president in the 1994 film Clear and Present Danger, starring opposite Harrison Ford. After Donald's death in 2018, Wendy and her brother received an unexpected insurance check from the Screen Actors’ Guild, of which he was a longtime member.

“It wasn’t terribly much money, but it felt like a windfall, and we started to talk about how we could put it to good use,” she recalls.

Knowing that her father had attended the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts as a scholarship awardee, Moffat and her husband, Donald Kaufman, established the Donald Moffat Scholarship. The Dickinson scholarship, additionally funded by her family and by Dickinson alumni, helps make a Dickinson education possible for meritorious students interested in theater, film and literature—whether as major subjects or through cocurricular activities like the Mermaid Players.

In other words, it makes potentially transformative experiences possible, just as scholarships helped launch her father’s career in the arts, decades before.

“He was a country boy who never thought about art school until he got a scholarship to go to university. He was very aware that he could never have been able to achieve what he did without a scholarship,” she says. “I’ve been very touched by the students and alumni who contribute to the fund.”

Learn more about the impact of scholarship gifts at Dickinson.


Published July 16, 2021