James L. Rapport

Ph.D., Ohio University (Professor Emeritus)

In 2011, after positively impacting the lives of countless people through his guidance as a professor and individual, Dr. James L. Rapport passed away.  Dr. Rapport's teaching expertise included: acting, directing, the history of drama, introduction to theatre, Criticism Theory, and Shakespearian theatre. He performed in over 90 roles and directed over 100 productions.

He received his bachelor's (1950) and master's (1951) degrees from Western Reserve University. He earned his doctorate in Theatre from The Ohio State University in 1960. 

Jim joined the faculty at Northern Michigan University in 1958. Known widely as Daddy Bear to the students he adored, he designed the Forest Roberts Theatre and grew the theatre major that continues to flourish at NMU. Jim taught various courses in speech and drama for 40 years, including acting, directing, costuming, history of theatre, modern drama, fundamentals of speech, and more than 150 sections of Intro to Theatre. He taught humanities and honors classes, and he was named Distinguished Professor and Professor Emeritus at NMU. 

Rapport served eight years as director of theater and 27 years as department head. But he started out as a one-man show. In order to teach nine different courses, he had to school himself in costuming, makeup and lighting--subjects he had limited experience with in college. Upon retirement, he reflected: "I taught four courses back-to-back and would occasionally run into the room asking which class it was," Rapport said. The students would say directing, and I'd say 'I thought this was intro to theater. I'll be right back with the notes'. It was wild, but the wildness gave you an energy and excitement."

In 1998 Dr. Rapport created the Rapport scholarship to assist students interested in the performing arts to achieve their goals through higher education.  Please consider helping continue this tradition by donating to the Rapport scholarship.