WILKES-BARRE – The parents of a King's College graduate who died in 2008 have made a donation to the school in his honor. As a result, the college's theater now bears his name.
West Pittston residents Carmen and Sandra Maffei said their late son, George P. Maffei II, a 1979 graduate of King's, loved performing on the theater's stage so much. By donating to the program they hope other parents and students will be able to achieve that same sense of love and joy that they and their son did.
As part of the donation, the total of which was not disclosed by the school, an endowment also has been established in George's name to provide a student scholarship annually to a student interested in participating in theatre productions. The first recipient of the scholarship will be named this fall.
As a student, George was happiest when he was participating in a theater production, his parents said in a joint statement released by the college. The passion, joy and satisfaction that he derived was obvious.
Both of us feel, and at times George agreed, that he was sorry he had not pursued theater as his vocation. We are extremely happy and proud that other students will have the opportunity to experience the same passion and joy from the theater that George cherished.
Maffei graduated from King's with a bachelor's degree in English. In his junior and senior years he participated in six productions between September 1977 and April 1979.
He acted in plays by Aristophanes, Anton Chekov, Shakespeare and William Inge. He also portrayed the huntsman in a Children's Theatre Production of Cinderella sponsored by the Women's Junior League.
His director in most of those shows was J. Gerald Godwin.
Godwin's daughter Sheileen Corbett is now the chairwoman of the school's theater department.
She lauded the gift and said there were no scholarships for theater students before this even though the theater has long been an integral part of the school.
The Rev. John Ryan, president of King's College, said, The theatre attracts students from a wide range of academic majors and their experiences have proven to be a treasured part of their liberal arts education at King's. George Maffei II is a true example of how the theater program at King's enhances students' experiences and remains a fond memory long after graduation.
We are indeed grateful to Carmen and Sandra Maffei for their generous gift, which will memorialize their son's love of his theater experience at King's and help support the continuation of the program for the benefit of current and future students, he added.
Maffei relocated to Florida in 1985 and began his own law practice specializing in entertainment law. He died in an automobile accident in Pompano Beach, Fla., in September 2008.