The first half of 2011 included a couple of important milestones for Marianne McDonald ’58, a professor of classics and theater at the University of California, San Diego, and a philanthropist with a strong commitment to helping individuals recover from substance-abuse problems.
The Trojan Women
In April, the Nevada Conservatory Theatre at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, staged a new production of McDonald’s translation of an ancient Greek drama, Euripides’ The Trojan Women. McDonald translated the play, which focuses on the women of Troy after the city’s defeat at the hands of the Greeks, as the women prepare themselves and their families to be taken as captives by the victors.
McDonald’s translation retains the framework and characters of the original drama, but spices it up with contemporary references, such as Hecuba’s allusion to the ratings boost television broadcasters get from exciting war coverage. Playwright Athol Fugard said of McDonald’s Trojan Women that it “must surely confirm her translations of the ancient Greek dramatists as the most actable, lyrical and powerful in print today.”
In addition to her translations and her original poems and plays, McDonald has published numerous scholarly volumes on classical drama and its adaptations in cinema and on the modern stage. She has also been a pioneer in digital humanities, as the founder of the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae, a comprehensive digital library of ancient and Medieval Greek literature, and the Thesaurus Linguarum Hiberniae, a similar project to digitize early and medieval Irish texts.
Making Substance-Abuse Treatment Available
Also in April, the Sharp HealthCare Foundation announced that its substance-abuse-treatment program in the San Diego area would be renamed after the McDonald family in honor of McDonald’s gift of $3 million and her promise to help with future fundraising for the foundation’s substance-abuse programs. The program at Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital will become McDonald Center at Sharp HealthCare, and Sharp Vista Pacifica will become Sharp McDonald Center.
McDonald’s gift is the largest ever given to Sharp’s behavioral-health program, foundation officials said. McDonald’s commitment to funding programs for substance-abuse treatment is several decades old. In 1984, she gave $3 million to Scripps Memorial Hospital to open a McDonald Center for substance abuse.
The Scripps facility is scheduled for demolition as part of a plan to raze the hospital and construct a new, expanded hospital. McDonald has been scouting new locations for the McDonald Center since she learned from Scripps officials last summer that the facility was to be destroyed.