Shakespeare in England Challenge

Shakespeare may have lived a long time ago, but his work continues to speak profoundly to us, even in modern times. As a result, his birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon has become a beloved journey of discovery for those who appreciate the Bard’s works since the 17th century.

In May 1965, Dorothy Bucks led a group of eager students through the very first Shakespeare in England course and started a legacy of academics and experiences by young Hanover scholars that will soon reach its 50th anniversary in 2015.

The five hundredth Hanover student to take this course stepped off a bus into Stratford in the spring of 2011, and there are at least five hundred living SIE alumni in the world. But the course is built around necessary expenses and has naturally grown more and more expensive.

See more photos from previous trips on the Shakespeare in England photo site.

To ensure the continuation of an affordable SIE program into the future, an endowment is being established in celebration of this 50th anniversary. The initial goal is $400,000, half of which has already been pledged by the following donors with special connections to the course. Their challenge is for all other SIE alumni to raise an equal amount.


Jonathan Smith

Jonathan Smith has been leading the Shakespeare in England trip since 1977.  He and Dorothy Bucks are the two names that alumni immediately associate with this signature Spring Term class at Hanover.  In 2015, Smith will lead the 50th anniversary trip for Shakespeare in England. He has made a personal gift to build the endowment and challenges others to do the same.

“Starting in 1977, I have been privileged to accompany almost 400 Hanover College students to Stratford, to introduce them to the joy of Shakespeare. This course has been a happy focus of my teaching career, and the start of many great friendships. Shakespeare in England is part of the vision of the Hanover Plan, from the early 1960s, and I hope to ensure that the course is a permanent, full and affordable experience in the future through this endowment.”

Tricia Hagenah '66

Tricia Stockton Hagenah ’66 traveled to England on the very first SIE trip in 1965 with Dorothy Bucks.  Now a member of the Hanover College board of trustees, Tricia has also made a generous pledge to the Shakespeare in England endowment.

“Being the first group to participate in the Shakespeare in England Program was a very exciting privilege. Miss Bucks made sure that we arrived in Stratford by April 23, so we could walk in Shakespeare's birthday parade! By the end of the five weeks, we felt like locals, and our minds were bursting with new thoughts and new ideas. The experience was one of the best in my life.”

David and Lucille Fannin

David and Lucille Fannin have witnessed first-hand the impact that SIE can have on students’ lives.  Their daughter Catherine ’01 (pictured above with her parents and husband Matt) went on two SIE trips, in 1999 and 2001.  She currently lives in England and works at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and her parents highly endorse the SIE experience:

“We are delighted to be able to support the Shakespeare in England Endowment Fund at Hanover College. Our daughter Catherine's Hanover undergraduate experience in Stratford-upon-Avon led to her pursuing graduate studies at the Shakespeare Institute where she received her M.A. and M.Phil. degrees. She now works as Trade and Education Executive for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon. We miss having her closer to us, but we value our travel to England to visit with her and her husband Matt. While the Shakespeare in England program may not result in a career or marriage for every Hanover student who participates in it, we are confident that it can be a life-changing experience for every student who takes advantage of this marvelous program.” 

Dennis Barnette '63

Dennis was a student at the time that Bucks, Professor of Mathematics John Yarnelle and Professor of Economics Arthur Porter were revising the curriculum to include the Spring Term course.   He was asked to be a student representative on that committee and therefore has a very personal connection to the revisions and changes that allowed the SIE course to come into existence.

“As I look back 50 years, I am so proud of Hanover for being so creative in developing the Hanover Plan. Over the years, it has allowed students to broaden their scope and develop an appreciation for new people and places. It has helped make education exciting for everyone who participates.  The Shakespeare in England program was created then and continues today to take learning out of the classroom and make it come alive.”

One of the first responders to the challenge was John Resig. Click on his name below to read what he had to say:

John Resig '01

“I benefited from the Shakespeare in England experience in many ways. The trip enriched my life and I'm a better person today because of it. I still keep in touch with many of my fellow students from that trip, who became lasting friends because of the experiences we shared in classrooms and theatres (and pubs.)”

We ask those alumni who have traveled to Stratford-upon-Avon to make a pledge to this campaign. Leadership gifts to the SIE Endowment will be recognized on a permanent plaque in Classic Hall. The categories of recognition will be:

  • Arden: $50,000 and above
  • Illyria: $25,000 to 50,000
  • Verona: $10,000 to 25,000
  • Elsinore: $5,000 to 10,000

Also recognized collectively will be SIE classes with high percentages of participation, to wit:

  • Above 75%: Oh wonderful, wonderful!
  • Above 85%: Most wonderful, wonderful!
  • Above 95%: Out of all whooping!  (As You Like It, 3.2.148)

Please be aware that your pledge/gift can be spread over a three-year period with pledge payments due at a time that is convenient for you.   We hope you will join this endeavor, as we would love to have the participation of every member of the SIE family!

Make your pledge or online gift now.

One young donor has already stepped forward to help meet this challenge.  John Resig ’01 made a personal pledge to SIE because of the impact that trip made on his life. 

“I benefited from the Shakespeare in England experience in many ways. The trip enriched my life and I'm a better person today because of it. I still keep in touch with many of my fellow students from that trip, who became lasting friends because of the experiences we shared in classrooms and theatres (and pubs.)”