Dianne Jemsion Pollard, former dean of the Thomas F. Freeman Honors College and professor of theatre in the department of visual and performing arts at Texas Southern University in Houston, died on October 4.
Dr. Jemison Pollard grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where her father was pastor of the Mt. Zion First Baptist Church in Baton Rouge for more than 50 years and was also elected president of the National Baptist Convention USA. She earned a bachelor’s degree in speech and drama from Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. She held a master’s degree in communications and theatre from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a master of fine arts degree in directing from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and a doctorate in counseling from Texas Southern University. Her doctoral dissertation was titled, “The Use of Music to Improve Social Skills Development in Children Diagnosed with Autism.”
In addition to her service as dean of the Honors College at Texas Southern University, Dr. Jemison Pollard was chair of the department of fine arts at the university for 10 years. She served as director and area coordinator of theatre, as education coordinator for the Deluxe Theater, and as associate dean for academic affairs in the Honors College.
Dr. Jemison Pollard also was an award-winning university stage director who directed over 50 productions from Greek and Shakespeare to contemporary theatre, musicals, and children’s theatre. She retired from Texas Southern University in December 2022 after spending 40 years at the university.