“My favorite memories of all are of standing in the theatre lobby after a show and seeing the pride and joy on the faces of the cast and crew as they greeted their friends and families.” That was a quote from the late Susan Neal, so it is fitting that the area outside our Schoedinger Theatre is now named in her honor.
The dedication of the Susan Neal Lobby took place on January 29, 2022, and included an introduction by Middle School Dean Susan Carter followed by remarks from Head of School Melissa Soderberg, Susan’s husband Scott Neal and daughter Jenny Neal Bardavid ’97. The program also included a performance by senior Maddie Kazatsky accompanied by Music Assistant Jenni Kristoff. The piece – “Flight” by musical theatre composer Craig Carnelia – was selected by Choral Music Director Amy Brooks, who shared that the lyrics made her instantly think of Susan and how she always lived her life to the absolute fullest.
After the dedication, a reception took place in the Morris Hall Art Gallery that included a special toast to Susan by faculty member Amy Seymore, a longtime colleague and close friend of Susan’s.
Susan began her Academy career as a kindergarten assistant in 1994 and then spent over two decades teaching music, drama, step and stomp, study skills and creative expressions to middle-schoolers until her retirement in 2016. She directed the middle school musicals from 1995’s “The Wizard of Oz” to 2016’s “The Little Mermaid” and the upper school musicals from “Guys and Dolls” in 2008 to “The Addams Family” in 2015. Her husband Scott re-retired last year after briefly returning to campus as a part-time art teacher and now resides in Athens. They have two daughters who both graduated from Columbus Academy: Jenny ’97 and Miranda ’99.