"Theatre has a golden spot in our hearts," says Luann Boyajian. Luann met her husband, Mark, at a theatre production. They still regularly attend performances together, including those at Salem State University.
Their daughter Tannis' decision to pursue a technical theatre degree at Salem State only deepened the family's connection to the arts. A 2012 graduate, Tannis went on to receive a Master of Fine Arts in technical design and production at Yale School of Drama.
They also appreciate the financial support their daughter received while at Salem State. "It made a profound difference for Tannis and for us," Mark shares.
In 2016, the couple participated in the Sophia Gordon Center for Creative and Performing Arts Take Your Seat campaign, in which they donated renovation funds and named a seat after their daughter at the venue. Luann and Mark also established the Tannis Boyajian Technical Theatre Scholarship, providing financial assistance to an undergraduate student enrolled in the theatre and speech communication department with a concentration in technical theatre. "Tannis got a phenomenal start at Salem State-let's see what we can do to help other students," Luann says of the family's decision to create a scholarship.
The award will not only help technical theatre students-Tannis' chosen field and a specialty that the family considers being the unsung hero of theatre-but it also honors Mark's father, a lifelong music teacher and instructor who passed away in 2015. "He wanted to give people opportunities to succeed," says Mark of his late father.
"If what we did helps to inspire others to give back, everybody wins," Mark says."