Academy Alumna Gives Back

For Academy alumna Diane Wilshere (IAA 77-79) of Manassas, Virginia, it was her father who instilled in her the importance of giving back. “He felt horrible that he couldn’t afford to pay my full tuition,” Diane explains, “so he vowed he would pay back my scholarship double.” Although he was never able to do that himself, Diane picked up on that commitment twenty years ago and has been supporting Interlochen ever since. She started small, writing checks for $10 or $25, recognizing that the act of giving was as important as the actual amount. Over the years, she has been able to fulfill her father’s promise and more.

“I still look at Interlochen as the most amazing two years of education in my life,” Diane says of her time at the Academy as a theatre and creative writing major. “You were immersed in art, and not just your own. We were all artists.” An actor, director and writer with the Maryland Renaissance Festival’s professional acting company for the past 18 years, Diane says, “there are things I learned at Interlochen that I still use in my arts career today.” And that’s why she continues to support Interlochen – to ensure that future generations of artists have the same opportunities she did.

Diane, along with several former students and parents, have pledged to match new or increased gifts from alumni, current and former parents, and grandparents through the Interlochen Arts Academy 50th Anniversary Alumni-Parent Challenge. To support the challenge, please give online at