Arts Advocate Passes Away
Bill Wright, an ardent supporter of Missouri Western arts programs, passed away March 21, 2018. He was 79. Wright, a St. Joseph native, left his hometown when he went to college and moved several times with his career.
When he retired and returned to St. Joseph about 50 years later, he became involved in the University and helped found the Missouri Western Arts Society in 2011, serving as its chair until February 2017. Wright also served as president of the Performing Arts Association in St. Joseph.
He graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in architecture and began his career as an associate for CRS Design, Inc. in Texas and New York. He rounded out his career as executive director of the Wharton Center of Performing Arts in Michigan. Positions in between included president of the New Brunswick Cultural Center, Inc. in New Jersey; assistant vice president at Rutgers University in New Jersey; and vice president of operations at the University of Houston, Texas. He also served as a member of the New York League of American Theaters and Producers and was a Tony Award voter for 12 years.
Wright’s $500,000 gift to the MWSU Foundation established an endowed scholarship fund for students in the arts programs. He also became a member of the Clock Tower Society when he notified the Foundation that it would be a beneficiary of his estate for the scholarship fund.
Survivors include a sister, Nancy Anecelle (Bill); a brother, Fred Wright (Susan); and numerous nieces and nephews.