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Donald Marinelli Collection

Identifier: 0000-0067

Scope and Contents note

The Donald Marinelli Collection contains material related to Don Marinelli’s time as a Carnegie Mellon professor of drama and Associate Head of the Drama Department (1979-2000). The collection includes information on Carnegie Mellon’s collaboration with the Moscow Theatre School, CMU drama courses, alumni, and Marinelli’s professional commitments to drama-related associations and publications.

The material within this collection is divided into five series:

Personal Files (1985-1997): This series is comprised of a small amount material that is rather personal in nature, including biographical information and personal correspondence. The files also include thank-you letters from friends and various Carnegie Mellon Drama alumni, letters of recommendation from peers, as well as congratulatory greeting cards. The material is arranged alphabetically.

Work Related Files (1983-1998): The Work Related Files series contains materials related to various CMU Drama alumni, conferences, trips, and departmental materials, most of which come from Marinelli’s time as Associate Head of the Drama Department. Items of interest include the files on the Kiev State Institute of Theatrical Art, and the Moscow Art Theater, both of which contain materials from the CMU faculty and student trips to Russia and the establishment of the collaborative drama program between CMU and the Moscow Art Theater which Marinelli helped establish (photographs of these trips can be found in the Photographs series). The material is arranged alphabetically by subject. This series also includes a subseries labeled, “Course Materials”, which consists of syllabi, reading lists, and assignments that were used for various drama classes that were taught at Carnegie Mellon as part of the drama program.

Writings and Related Materials (1993-1996): This series consists of material related to the two books Marinelli edited during his career: “Arthur Giron’s Edith Stein: A Dramaturgical Sourcebook” (1994) and “Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts: A Dramaturgical Sourcebook” (1997). Additionally, the series includes a file on Randy Pausch’s “The Last Lecture”. The materials are arranged alphabetically.

Photographs (1979-1999): This series contains photographs featuring Donald Marinelli and various Carnegie Mellon drama staff, students, and alumni during the years 1979-1999. There are a substantial amount of photographs relating to the Moscow, Russia trip which concluded with the collaborative drama program that Marinelli is credited with establishing. There are also many photos of Marinelli and other drama staff at Drama Alumni Clan meetings that were held in Los Angeles and New York City. Additionally, there are autographed photos of famous Carnegie Mellon drama alumni and actors that Marinelli had formed close relationships with. The photos are a mix of black and white and color prints and are arranged chronologically with undated materials located at the end of the series.

Memorabilia (1983-2000): The Memorabilia series contains gifts and certificates given to Marinelli throughout the years of his professional career (1983-2000). Also included are a small amount of ephemeral materials such as programs and flyers, including an advertisement for a Carnegie Mellon event related to Marnielli’s doctoral thesis on Futurism.

2022-11-14: This finding aid was revised during a reparative language review in the Fall of 2022. A copy of the legacy finding aid can be accessed by emailing See revision statement for more information.


  • 1979-2000


Biographical/Historical note

Donald Marinelli was a tenured professor in the Carnegie Mellon Drama Department during the 1980’s and early 1990’s. He began his professional career by earning a B.A. from the University of Tampa and a M.A. in Clinical Psychology at Duquesne University. Subsequently, upon writing a dissertation on the life and career of Italian Futurist, F. T. Merinetti, he earned a Ph.D. in theater history, literature, and criticism at the University of Pittsburgh.

Marinelli went on to work as a tenured professor at Carnegie Mellon University where he helped to form the Masters of Arts Management program, Masters of Entertainment Technology program, and the Masters of Fine Arts acting program in collaboration with the Moscow Art Theatre School in Russia. He also served as Assistant Head of the Drama Department from 1980-1986, and later the Associate Department Head (1986-1995).

In addition to spending time as an adjunct professor at Duquesne University and Arizona State University, Marinelli became Chief Creative Advisor to Etcetera Edutainment, bringing interactive learning through games to the forefront of global education technologies.

Throughout his career, Don Marinelli has lectured around the world, becoming well-known in the field of fine arts and education. He authored a handful of plays and books, including “Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts: A Dramaturgical Sourcebook” which was published in 1997. Marinelli also served as the Associate Producer of the Carnegie Mellon Theater Company (1986-1989) where he also became co-producer of the Showcase of New Plays, chairman of the American Ibsen Theater (1983-1985), panel member of the Pennsylvania Council on Arts (1983-1984, 1989-1991), book reviewer of the Pittsburgh Press (1985-1993), and a member of the Theater Association of Pennsylvania (1986-1990).

One of Marinelli’s most renowned accomplishments was co-founding the Carnegie Mellon University Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) with colleague, Randy Pausch in 1999. The ETC gave students the opportunity to earn a master’s degree in Entertainment Technology in two years. The ETC program’s success has led it to be recognized globally and expand with additional sites in Japan, Portugal, and Silicon Valley, CA.

In 2010, he published “The Comet and the Tornado: Reflections on the Legacy of Randy Pausch, "The Last Lecture & the Creation of Our Carnegie Mellon Dream Fulfillment Factory” in which he describes the six years he spent with Pausch and their shared mission to create the Entertainment Technology Center.

Don Marinelli retired from Carnegie Mellon University in April 2012 and currently works as a visiting professor at Arizona State University.


5 Linear feet (5 Boxes)




The Donald Marinelli Collection contains material associated with Carnegie Mellon University Drama professor, Donald Marinelli during the years 1979-2000.

Donald Marinelli Papers, 1979-2000
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Revision Statements

  • 2022-10-14: This finding aid was revised during a reparative language review in the Fall of 2022. The outdated and offensive term "transvestite" was removed from a title as its inclusion was not necessary to provide historical context. The finding aid was also edited to remove overly laudatory language.

Repository Details

Part of the Carnegie Mellon University Archives Repository

4909 Frew St
Pittsburgh PA 15213
(412) 268-5021