John Shearin Memorial Endowment

Image of John Shearin

John D. Shearin III, professor, director and leader of the School of Theatre and Dance for 27 years, died on April 9, 2017.

A memorial scholarship fund has been created to honor his memory. Additional contributions are sought to endow the fund so that the proceeds can support students in perpetuity. For more information, contact Mary Jane Gaddis at or 252-328-1268.

Shearin produced more than 195 plays and musicals for the ECU/Loessin Playhouse and Summer Theatre. He directed 72 productions and acted in about a dozen, several of which he significantly reconstructed or adapted for ECU’s facilities and students.

In 2015, he was awarded ECU’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Activity, one of the most prestigious awards given by the university.

A Vietnam War veteran, Shearin graduated with a bachelor’s degree in theatre from the College of William and Mary and received his master’s degree of fine arts from Penn State University, where he worked with the touring and resident graduate company.

He appeared in network television shows including “Matlock,” “Designing Women,” “Dawson’s Creek,” “Hunter,” “Little House on the Prairie,” “American Gothic” and “Bret Maverick.” Even as a working TV actor, he stayed involved in theater including stints on and off Broadway and in several Los Angeles area theaters, the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. and the Loeb Drama Center in Cambridge, MA.

He was a founding member and associate director of the Los Angeles Playhouse West School of Acting.