Franklin Calvin Mohler, II, Ph.D.



Patti Levine-Brown, “Franklin Calvin Mohler, II, Ph.D.,” Appalachian State University Libraries Digital Collections, accessed May 23, 2024,

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Franklin Calvin Mohler, II, Ph.D.


Appalachian State University
Universities and colleges--Faculty


Patti Levine-Brown




Biographical sketches


Boone (N.C.)

Spatial Coverage

Temporal Coverage



Professor Emeritus

Biographical Text

Professor Emeritus of Theatre and Dance Franklin Calvin Mohler II (March 21, 1937-) was born in Des Moines, Iowa, the son of Martelle Wallace (1912-1999) and Franklin Calvin Mohler (1907-1975). Due to his father's service in World War II and later employment with the United States government, he lived in many locations during his early life. Mohler graduated from Fulton High School, Fulton, Missouri, in 1955. He attended Ohio State University, beginning as an engineering physics major and later changing to theatre. Mohler enlisted in the United States Army in 1961 and was trained as a motion picture photographer. He spent about half of his military service on temporary duty as an actor, designer and production manager with Special Services. After his discharge from military service in 1964, he traveled by motor scooter through southern Europe and photographed ancient theatres in Italy and Greece. Upon his return to the United States, Mohler received his B.A. degree in theatre in 1965, his M.A. degree in production design in 1969, and his Ph.D. degree in theatre history in 1976, all from Ohio State University. Mohler married the former Claudia Kay Grossman (April 28, 1945-) in Zanesville, Ohio, on March 16, 1968. Claudia is the daughter of Clare Apel and Richard Grossman. She received a B.S. degree in education from Ohio State University in 1965 and an M.A. degree in English from Appalachian State University in 1991. The couple has one son, Franklin Calvin III (April 3, 1976-). He received his B.A. degree in theatre from Appalachian State University in 2000 and is currently a video editor in Pasadena, California. Mohler began his career as set and lighting designer in 1960, while an undergraduate student, and he continued designing productions during service in the United States Army. He began his college teaching career in 1968 as a Great Lakes Colleges Association Teaching Associate at Denison University, Granville, Ohio. Mohler was appointed assistant professor in theatre at the University of South Carolina in 1970 and at the University of Virginia in 1975. Dr. Mohler joined the Department of Communications at Appalachian State University in 1983, as associate professor, technical director, and designer. In 1989, he became the director of operations at the newly formed Office of Cultural Affairs and served as its interim director, 1990-1991. Mohler returned to teaching in 1991 - in the new Department of Theatre and Dance, serving as the principal set and lighting designer and as the director of theatre. While at Appalachian State University, Mohler taught in a variety of areas of theatre, from set and lighting design to theatrical swordplay, stage management, and theatre history. Prior to retirement, he and his wife took students on two study-abroad trips to investigate historic theatres in Europe. Dr. Mohler served on many councils and committees at Appalachian, including two years as secretary of the Faculty Senate. He has been an active member in a number of professional organizations, including the United States Institute for Theatre Technology and the Southeastern Theatre Conference, the largest comprehensive theatre organization in the world, which he served as president in 1990-1991. In addition to his creative activity as a designer, Mohler has also been an active theatre historian. His scholarly activities are concentrated in the area of theatrical spectacle. He received numerous grants to assist his research and created "The Development of Scenic Spectacle" web site [], which is used by teachers and students throughout the world. Over his career, Dr. Mohler created more than 125 set designs and 170 lighting designs. He was also responsible for the conceptual design of the Valborg Theatre at Appalachian. In 1994, Mohler received the Southeastern Theatre Conference's Suzanne M. Davis award for "Service to Theatre in the South." His teaching, research, and design activities have also been recognized with many awards including the College of Fine and Applied Arts 1999 Outstanding Faculty Award and its 2004 Excellence in Scholarship Creative Activity Awards; USITT-SE's 1999-2000 Outstanding Educator Award; and a University of North Carolina Board of Governor's Excellence in Teaching Award. He also received two Herbert D. Greggs awards for outstanding published articles. Dr. Mohler retired in June 2004, having taught at Appalachian for twenty-one years and he was granted emeritus status the same month. His wife has also retired, after teaching theatre and speech for twenty years at the University. Dr. Mohler remains active as a scholar, serving on university committees, and he continues to maintain the spectacle web site. He is the United States representative to the History and Theory Commission of the Organization Internationale des Scenographes, Techniciens, et Archtitectes du Theatre (OISTAT). Sources: Appalachian State University files. -Patti Levine-Brown

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