April 25, 2008

News: Samford Announces New “School of the Arts” Name, Metress Named Director of University Fellows Program

Samford Announces New “School of the Arts” Name

Samford University is set to unveil a new name for its arts program. As of April 30, the School of Performing Arts will be known as School of the Arts.

The name change, approved by the Samford Board of Trustees, recognizes the addition of visual art and graphic design to an academic program that already includes theatre, music and dance.

Along with the new name comes a fresh school logo designed by the graphic design department and its own mission statement, "Preparing today's artist…to shape tomorrow's world."

"It's an exciting time in the life of our School," says arts dean Joseph Hopkins. "The faculty, students, alumni and friends have formed the mission and objects of a truly comprehensive and interdisciplinary learning environment, one that affords every student the opportunity to develop strengths across arts disciplines."

Samford School of the Arts now includes art, graphic design, theatre, dance, music theatre, instrumental (band and orchestra), church music, music education, theory, music history, vocal/choral music, piano, organ, composition, the preparatory music program, and administration of the Wright Fine Arts Center Concert Hall.

The value of having all arts programs in one academic unit translates well for students and faculty, notes Hopkins. "There's a lot of synergy and strength to be gained by having students and faculty in varied disciplines working together," said Hopkins. "Theatre and art students now work in music rooms, and music students spend more time in the art gallery."

In time, he expects the curriculum to include more interdisciplinary courses that will allow students in the different majors to better associate and learn from each other.

While each specialty is nurtured and preserved, the coming together signifies an effort to teach students how to work with other disciplines in the real world, says Hopkins.

"But more importantly, it is a step in fulfilling the school's mission to prepare today's artists to influence tomorrow's world for Christ," said Hopkins, who was named dean in 2006.

Hopkins, Samford president Andrew Westmoreland and provost Brad Creed will formally announce the new name at three events that represent the diversity of the arts program and showcase a variety of Samford talent:

* Art faculty show closing 4-6 p.m. on April 30.
* Samford Theatre's opening night of the musical Cinderella at 7:30 p.m. on May 1.
* Music Division performance of Mendelssohn's Reformation Symphony and Belshazzar's Feast at 7:30 p.m. on May 6.

For information and tickets call (205) 726-2851 or check the website at www.samfordartstickets.com.

A reception at each event will salute a new support component of the school, Friends of Samford Arts, a cross-section of community, campus and alumni donors to the arts program.

The Samford arts community, says Hopkins, is distinguished by accomplishments of faculty, students and alumni who carry the scholarship and creativity of the University around the world.

"Samford artists, actors and musicians guide national and international arts organizations, perform in the world's greatest venues and help prepare the next generation of arts students," he said. "Samford artists represent the highest standards of achievement and character. They demonstrate that faith truly enhances the quality and impact of our talent and work."

Learn More:
Samford’s School of the Arts

Metress Named Director of University Fellows Program

Chris Metress has been named director of Samford University's new University Fellows program.  The appointment is effective July 1.

Metress, a professor of English since 1993, has been instrumental in developing the new program, which targets academically gifted high schools students for a highly-competitive program of innovative liberal arts courses, international study and undergraduate research.   The first 40 students are being admitted to the program for the fall 2008 semester.

"Dr. Metress embodies what Samford wants to accomplish with this program in developing public intellectuals and leaders," said Samford Provost J. Bradley Creed.  "He understands and is fully engaged in the unique academic track that we have developed for these students.  His interdisciplinary interests and outstanding teaching make him the ideal program leader at this pivotal time."

Samford officials spent about two years developing the new University Fellows program.  It was approved by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in spring 2007, and officials have spent the last year recruiting students for the program.

Metress has been involved with the university's core curriculum and other interdisciplinary projects and also serves as the faculty athletics representative for the university.  He helped develop a human rights conference hosted by the university through a grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc.

Metress earned a bachelor's degree from St. Mary's University, San Antonio, Texas, and master's and doctor's degrees from Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn.

Learn More:
Samford University Fellows Program