Professor William Pucilowsky
As many of you have heard, our colleague William “Bill” Pucilowsky, professor of costume design and resident costume designer, passed away in early April after a protracted illness. Leslie Jacobson, who has known Bill since they were both graduate students at Boston University in the early 1970’s, was asked to write a biographical tribute for the Columbian College newsletter. My column this issue, with Leslie’s permission, isher words about Bill. –Alan
William Pucilowsky, Associate Professor of Theatre, was a vital member of The George Washington University community for 34 years. After receiving his Master of Fine Arts in Costume and Set Design from Boston University’s School for the Arts, Bill (as he was known to colleagues, students, and staff) joined the faculty of Cedar Crest College as an Associate Professor and resident costume, set, and lighting designer.
In 1979, Bill came to DC to join the faculty of GW, where he developed and taught a variety of design courses in the Department of Theatre & Dance’s MFA program, as well as in its undergraduate theatre program. Many of the graduates of these programs have become successful theatre and dance designers here in D.C. and elsewhere throughout the country. They have also enriched the faculties of many colleges and universities. In addition to teaching and designing for the Department’s six-production MainStage Season, Bill served for six years as the Producer of that season, which is the Department’s co-curricular artistic laboratory. He was a dedicated advisor and mentor to students in the Department long after graduation, as well as while they were here studying.
Bill had an active career as a costume designer in Washington’s thriving professional theatre community. He was the Resident Costume Designer and an Artistic Associate at Horizons Theatre from 1980 through 2003. Beginning in 1988, he was the Resident Costume Designer for the Washington Stage Guild. He also designed costumes for performance events in non-traditional venues such as the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the US Capitol, and for the US Army’sSpirit of America. His work was always highly regarded by theatre critics, fellow artists, and the public. It was also recognized by a variety of awards, including a Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Costume Design and the Theatre Lobby’s Mary Goldwater Award, both for his work at the Stage Guild.
In the 1980s and 90s, Bill had a successful couture design business with his husband, Ashton Alvis, designing wedding gowns and other one-of-a-kind clothing for women.
Bill will be deeply missed by his husband Ashton, and by the rest of his family. He will be equally missed by his other families at The George Washington University and throughout the artistic community of Washington, D.C. His caring, gentle spirit touched many lives. –Leslie