image002 (1)Joffrey Ballet Artistic Director Ashley Wheater will be awarded the prestigious University of Chicago Jesse L. Rosenberger Medal at UChicago’s 523rd Convocation, Saturday, June 13.

Wheater is the 51st recipient of the Rosenberger Medal, established in 1917 by Mr. and Mrs. Jesse L. Rosenberger. The medal recognizes achievement through research, in authorship, in invention, for discovery, for unusual public service or for anything “deemed of great benefit to humanity.”

Members of the UChicago faculty nominate candidates for the Rosenberger Medal. The faculty Committee on Awards and Prizes then evaluates the nominations, which are finally voted upon by the Council of the University Senate.

Wheater joined The Joffrey Ballet as its artistic director in 2007, at a time when the company had lost some members of its leadership and was struggling to maintain a competitive position in the dance world.

An experienced former dancer who previously had performed with The Joffrey Ballet, Wheater quickly took the company on a new course. He commissioned works by innovative young choreographers such as James Kudelka and Edwaard Liang, and staged classic masterpieces by George Balanchine and Lar Lubovitch among others.

Under Wheater’s direction, The Joffrey Ballet has undertaken possibly the most extensive touring schedule of any dance company in history. Wheater also founded the Academy of Dance, which sees its more than 800 students from across the country join leading dance companies around the world.

Wheater was born in Scotland and trained at the Royal Ballet School in England. After performing in numerous ballets at Covent Garden and the London Coliseum, he joined the London Festival Ballet and was promoted to principal dancer. He has performed in the Australian Ballet and the San Francisco Ballet, in which he also served as ballet master and assistant artistic director.

The President of the University extends an invitation to Rosenberger nominees to receive their medals during the Spring Quarter Convocation. The nominees also are invited to give a public lecture or workshop the following academic year.

The Joffrey Ballet recently announced its epic 60th Anniversary Season of Celebration in 2015-16 including three World Premieres, the North American Premiere of Sylvia by John Neumeier, the Joffrey Premiere of Christopher Wheeldon’s Fool’s Paradise, and the return of Frederick Ashton’s lavish Cinderella.  Notably, 2015 will mark the farewell season of Robert Joffrey’s The Nutcracker.  The Joffrey has commissioned Christopher Wheeldon, whose An American in Paris is a multiple Tony ™Award nominee on Broadway, to re-envision a major new Nutcracker to receive its World Premiere here in December 2016.


For more information on The Joffrey Ballet and its programs please visit