Eva Marie Saint honors former University professor

Actress Eva Marie Saint returned to the University to visit the theater that bears her name on Saturday and performed with her husband, producer and director Jeffrey Hayden.

“It’s been said you can’t go home again but you can go back to your alma mater,” Saint said.

The award-winning actress, who graduated from the University in 1946, paid tribute to her former teacher and mentor, Elden Smith. Saint became emotional when discussing her past professor and his upcoming memorial service.

Saint said Smith was the first to encourage her to get involved in acting and convinced her to try out for her first acting role in the University play titled “Personal Experience.”

The couple performed “On the Divide: An Afternoon with Willa Cather” while standing beside each other at separate podiums in front of a forest tree background. The setting was fitting, since they were paying tribute to Cather’s works that include basic themes of land, rural versus city folk and freedom.

The couple chose two of Cather’s works to recite to an audience of more than 400 people. The event lasted about two hours, with a short


“I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my Saturday afternoon,” said Cheryl Windisch, a life-long Bowling Green resident.

Windisch described the performance as “captivating.” She said she found the synergy between the couple to be a delight.

Windisch came to see Saint, whom her father had known when he was a student at the University. Windisch, like Saint, also had Smith as a professor in college.

“It wasn’t what I expected,” said Angela Stein, a junior who attended the event for her theater class.

“I’ve never been to anything like it before.”

There was also a benefit performance to raise money for the Eva Marie Saint Scholarship Fund in the hopes of giving out two scholarships per year instead of one.

Tickets, which were essentially donations to the fund, ranged from $50 to $150, with a separate reception afterwards for the more expensive ticket holders.

Sarah Turner, the theater business manager, said Saint requested all students get

in free.

“We hope to attract talented students to the program,” Turner said.

Highlights of the BG alumna’s career include winning an Academy Award for “On the Waterfront” and an Emmy for “People Like Us.” She has also appeared in the recent films “Superman Returns” and “Because of Winn Dixie.”