The FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training and Asolo Repertory Theatre came together on Monday, April 20 to honor the memory of beloved patron Willaim A. “Bill” Yandow, and induct him posthumously into the Asolo Repertory Theatre’s Crystal Society.
The Induction Ceremony honored Bill and his legacy gifts to the FSU/Asolo Conservatory and to the Asolo Repertory Theatre. In addition to directly supporting student stipends and other needs, Conservatory Director Greg Leaming announced that the Conservatory Season will be named for Bill in perpetuity.
Conservatory alumni from across the country attended – both those who were supported directly by Bill and those who were touched by him. Comments and memories from alums and friends were read aloud at the ceremony. Benjamin Boucvault (MFA 2012) reflected on the quiet manner in which Bill critiqued their performances and progress, noting that he did not give rave reviews often or lightly. In fact, his comments were so frank that the students created the own vernacular of being “Yandowed.”
Speaking next, Walt Paulekas, Bill’s best friend and trustee, joked that he too had been “Yandowed” all throughout his life. Nephew Bill, also in attendance, joined in the well-intentioned laughter. Walt also noted that:
“After Bill moved down to Sarasota, my wife Angie and I came to visit him from our home in Connecticut at least once year. Bill took us to the Asolo every time – whether we wanted to or not – and constantly updated us on the progress of careers of ‘his’ students in almost every email, phone call or visit.”
Walt noted that the Asolo Repertory Theatre and the FSU/Asolo Conservatory had given Bill a new home and extended family in his retirement, and he along with Bill’s family were pleased and touched to meet so many of Bill’s supported students at his memorial service in Connecticut as well as the induction.
Greg Leaming reflected that:
“Bill’s involvement with the Conservatory was discreet, unobtrusive and total! He embraced all of the students and not just the ones he sponsored. While Bill sat quietly on the Conservatory Advisory Board and was most happy when supporting the students, seeing their performances five, six, even seven times during the run. “
He may have been a quiet supporter in life, but FSU and Asolo Rep are proud to be vocal in honoring him and his legacy for years to come.
William “Bill” Yandow was a passionate supporter of the arts—dedicating countless hours and resources to advancing the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training’s mission and projects. Not surprisingly, Yandow wished to leave a legacy that would benefit the Conservatory’s future. His forethought created the Bill Yandow Endowed Fund for the FSU/Asolo Conservatory to support graduate students enrolled in what is considered one of America’s leading acting schools.
Acceptance to the Conservatory is highly competitive—more than 1,000 actors audition across the nation for one of only 12 available spaces in the three-year Master of Fine Arts program. The program has been recognized in The New York Times, U.S. News & World Report, and The Princeton Review for training high-caliber actors in a professional theatre environment through classroom work and production experience. Philanthropy plays a pivotal role in ensuring that we maintain this impressive reputation and continue to attract the best and brightest students and faculty.
Yandow, a Connecticut native who retired to Florida, graduated from Saint Martin’s College in 1965 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial relations. A prominent business owner in Hartford, Connecticut of the Fowler & Hunting, Co., he was also a volunteer fire captain and retired Command Sergeant Major from the Connecticut Army National Guard. He was the recipient of numerous community, business and military awards. In his later years and throughout his retirement, he sponsored and mentored many Conservatory students. Bill also served on the Conservatory’s Advisory Committee. Bill’s passion and commitment to the performing arts, business acumen and thoughtful guidance will have a lasting effect on his friends, family and his students forming a legacy to be admired.
Created in 2006, Asolo Rep’s Crystal Society honors those individuals who have made extraordinary gifts or pledges of $1,000,000 or more for the theatre’s Annual Fund, Endowment and Capital Projects.
William A. Yandow* joins Esther M. Mertz*, Ulla R. Searing*, Lee Peterson, Bob Peterson*, Beverly Koski, Joan Armour Mendell, Margot & Warren Coville, Maurice Richards & Jack Kesler and Stanley Kane as a member of this prestigious society. *in memoriam