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Stockley leaves a legacy of hope
By Hannah Simpson
A memorial service held Sept. 6 at the Givens Performing Arts Center for the late Professor Travis Stockley included eulogies from some of Stockley’s students, peers and friends.
Throughout the service, the Pembroke Singers, Phi Mu Alpha, and the cast of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” sang in celebration of his love of musical theater and teaching.
Dr. Charles F. Harrington, provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs described Stockley as one who “emoted hope.”
Harrington thanked Stockley for the blessing he had given with his presence at UNCP.
“He taught and brought and gave hope to thousands of students under his tutelage,” Harrington said. “Hope is a great legacy.”
“Travis and I were probably voted least likely to succeed when we left college,” Fraser laughed.
It was noted that Stockley’s accomplishments include directing over 100 musicals in the U.S., Mexico and Europe.
He also recieved several Best Production awards while directing in Chicago and 11 Joseph Jefferson award nominations for Best Director. “He just wanted to do (theater), and he stopped at nothing to do it,” Fraser said.
Fraser advised the theater students to do what is needed to achieve their goals in the show business career. He also asked for those in attendance to “please take care of your classmates and your friends.”
“I am so happy to have seen what Travis meant to you,” he said.
Fraser also mentioned that another memorial service would be held for Stockley in Chicago, for the “theatre community and college friends.”
“He talked a lot, but it was fun to listen to,” Gajda joked. Gajda said that when he prays he talks to Stockley, but his old professor doesn’t seem to talk as much as he used to.
Gajda once told Stockley that he knew he would speak at Stockley’s funeral. Stockley had laughed. “I never knew I’d be this young,” Gajda said.
J. David Crow was the first student to graduate from UNCP’s Musical Theatre program, which Stockley helped create when he came to UNCP from Eastern Carolina University.
“He taught me how to dance,” Crow said, re-enacting several dance moves, to the amusement of the audience. “He also taught me how to laugh at myself.” Crow played the lead in UNCP’s production of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” in the spring of 2006. Crow said that Stockley “called us his friends, not just his students.”
“Don’t take any of your time for granted,” Crow said to the theater students.
Felicia Mangum, another of Stockley’s students, joked that one could never truly get away from Stockley.
Mangum fondly remembered that students would have to run by his office on the way to class, so they would not be late by having to stop and talk with him. Mangum also said that Stockley watched over her “more than anyone in my life.”
“I tried to give up and Travis always told me, ‘Don’t you give up,’” Mangum said.
Remembered by faculty
“He was always kind of humble and kind of humorous, so I always wanted to hear what he would say,” Hopper said.
Hopper described him as a director who could “take one look at you and tell you what you were good at.” She also said that he was very dedicated to his art. Dr. Janita Byars, professor and chair of the Music Department, said that the presence of those attending the memorial was a “compelling tribute to Travis Stockley.”
She said that the tributes reflect the learning, love and laughter Stockley initiated and gave to UNCP.
“Travis reminded me of the Mad Hatter,” Chancellor Allen C. Meadors said of Stockley’s enthusiasm and zeal for theater. “Always running around and go, go, go.”
Thomas Leach, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said that Stockley will “forever be an inspiration for those of us fortunate enough to work with him and be taught by him.”