Tom Blank was hired as a full-time Theatre faculty member in August 1994 and he retired in May 2012, after 18 years of dedicated and accomplished service. Upon his retirement, he was granted Emeritus status.
When Tom was hired in 1994, he hit the ground running and in his first year he took the lead to rewrite every course in the Drama Department and then created over two dozen additional theatre and dance classes, creating the Department of Theatre and Dance and tripling the size of the program. During his tenure at Ohlone, Tom served as artistic director for the Theatre and Dance department, directing thirteen Summerfest musicals, as well as fifteen main stage contemporary and classical productions. He created and supervised the Student Repertory Company for seventeen years, developing hundreds of student directors, actors and technicians in a student leadership production program, performing over eighty-five plays.
Tom created and produced the eighteen years of the Ohlone College High School Theatre Festival, bringing over 15,000 high school student actors and designers, over 5,000 professional judges, parents and friends onto our campus for the annual two-day competition. In conjunction with the Festival, he created the Audition/ Portfolio course, allowing the high school students to enroll in Ohlone College, bringing unparalleled single-course student numbers and funding to the campus.
Tom developed the Theatre / Broadcasting alliance, directing and supervising over a dozen television pilots and independent films for ONTV that are still broadcast daily. Tom was a pioneer in the Ohlone Learning Communities, developing the Acting / ESL program with Vicki Curtis. He created the Matinee Classics outreach program of hosting high school students at special on-campus performances and touring Shakespeare plays to their campuses (Bard-on-Board) and publishing 12 different study guides. Tom led the Theatre / Dance Study Abroad program, bringing students bi-annually to study in London and Paris.
Tom’s 2010 production of “Time Machine” was selected from over 400 College and University productions in the eight western United States by the American College Theatre Festival to perform at the regional festival produced by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Tom was highly regarded by all at the college for his teaching, directing, play production, and leadership skills. His high-energy personality, optimistic attitude and professional approach were instrumental in growth of the Theatre and Dance department during his years with the college. Tom also served the college outside his department in leadership on such committees as Curriculum, Mentor Program, Smith Center Advisory, and as chair of the General Education Committee.