Diana Buckhantz ’72 can play many roles and she has: actress, film producer, public relations consultant, advocate for social justice at home and abroad, philanthropist and Broadway producer, to name a few.
She credits her Wheaton education with helping her develop the range to succeed in a variety of careers, and it’s what has inspired her to support student scholarships at the college today.
Growing up in New York City, Buckhantz says that her lifelong love of the theater found expression at Wheaton. “Theater is just a huge love in my life. I was an actress and I spent a lot of my time at Wheaton down in the experimental theater,” she said. “I loved it.”
Her appreciation for college extended beyond the theater, however. “I got a great education,” she said, describing the college’s faculty as excellent. “I can still remember political science professor Jay Goodman, who was one of my great teachers. I had wonderful English professors, too.“
The broad base of knowledge and abilities built up through liberal arts study proved to be a boon, she said, when she put aside her dream of an acting career to make documentary films and then to launch a 25-year career in public relations for nonprofit organizations.
“I had skills. I could write. I knew grammar. I knew how to express myself. That’s really critical,” she said. “When you are in college, you don’t know what interests of yours will become passions in the future. It’s really critical to have a strong basis of skills so that you can adapt.”
Today, Buckhantz devotes much of her energy to supporting causes important to her—combating genocide in Chad, providing support to women in the Congo and homeless youth in Southern California—as the director of the Vladimir and Araxia Buckhantz Foundation. She also has returned to her love of theater as a producer, helping to launch two productions, on and off Broadway, this year.
“I feel very privileged to have these opportunities,” Buckhantz said. That sense of gratitude moved her to support student scholarships at Wheaton through the Wheaton Fund.
“I want other young men and women to have this opportunity,” she said. “To be educated, to be exposed to other ideas and find things that interest you. That experience enriches your world.”