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College of Arts and Sciences

Dean's Blog

How This Dean Spends Her Free Time

January 24, 2014

By: Mary Anne Fitzpatrick

One of the most enjoyable aspects of my position as Dean of the oldest, largest, and most diverse college within the University takes place almost every weekday evening after 5:00 pm, when I have the pleasure of welcoming the community to our campus for the many lectures, shows, art openings, debate, and panel discussions organized by our 50 departments, programs, institutes, or centers.  

For example, Last week I had the opportunity to welcome the audience for the Institute for Southern Studies’ “Conversations on the Civil War.”  Hosted by Claude Henry Neuffer Emeritus Professor Walter Edgar, the conversations this year feature guests from a variety of academic disciplines discussing the events of 1864.  Over 250 community members, who clearly love history, regularly attend this event, and many of them attended last week’s conversation discussing the Army of Northern Virginia.

Another event sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences was the McKissick Museum’s exhibition Defying the Quiet: Photography of the Civil Rights Movement in South Carolina. Dr. Henri Month Treadwell returned to offer her reminiscences on the event, and our own professor Bobby Donaldson lead the conversation with Dr. Treadwell as she recounted what it was like to grow up in South Carolina and how she, at 17, came to the decision to enroll as a student at USC. Henri made history and was gracious enough to share with the community her memories of those times and her family stories.

Last evening, the Department of Art joined the McKissick Museum and the Institute for Southern Studies to celebrate the very fine work done by students in Southern Studies 405 – Photography of the Rural South.  This course is the brainchild of photography Professor Kathleen Robbins, who, two years ago, proposed it to the folks in Southern Studies.  The Institute’s director, Professor Bob Brinkmeyer, agreed with Professor Robbins that it would be a great idea to offer students the opportunity to learn outside the walls of the classroom by going into small South Carolina communities, where they could learn the stories of those communities and represent those stories through photography, and for three subsequent semesters, led by Professors Robbins and Dudik, our students have created remarkable images that chronicle important pieces of our state’s local communities. 

These images have been exhibited on the Southern Studies hallway for two years now, and last fall, Professor Robbins and the Institute’s Assistant Director Bob Ellis approached a very supportive staff at McKissick to propose this exhibit.  It is everyone’s hope that this exhibit will allow even more folks to enjoy these images. I am very proud of our students, and I think you will agree with me that the exhibit shows images that are sometimes humorous, sometimes sad, sometimes beautiful, but always poignant.

I hope that you will have a chance to see the Photography of the Rural South exhibit and attend many of the other events sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences.  I am truly honored to be the Dean of such an outstanding college, and I enjoy seeing the talents of our faculty, staff, and students and sharing their accomplishments with the community.

Read Previous Posts By Dean Fitzpatrick.