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Derek van der Merwe will keynote the CFA Graduation Convocation

Derek van der Merwe grew up on a mission station in South Africa with a musical family.

Everyone in his family played an instrument … mom, dad and two sisters.

Derek was a violinist.

When Derek was nine, the family moved to Chicago and later to Michigan.

“I grew up playing in the church,” he said. ‘I’d have to play Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings and Sunday nights. And then I had orchestra on Tuesdays, Wednesday, music theory; and Thursday, private lessons.”

He never played sports growing up.

“Between basketball games, I was the guy who swept the floor. I was kind of the manager; if they put me on the court playing basketball, I was abomination.”

But then in his senior year in high school, things changed.

Derek by now is a 6’3, 300-pounds. He hears about a Notre Dame football player who played trumpet. Somebody musical, like him, who tried football later in life. So, he decided to give football a go.

“That was the only driver. I was this big, big kid, really socially awkward, didn’t have a really good place in the world. I was kind of out of place and I decided to try something different.”

He played five games in high school, didn’t know the game well, but picked it up. As a first-year student at Central Michigan University, Derek walked on with the football team. And made an impression. By his senior year, he was the team captain.

Today Derek oversees the day-to-day internal management of Arizona Athletics in his second year as its Assistant Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. On Dec. 19, the violinist who became a football player will serve as the Keynote Speaker at the College of Fine Arts 2019 Fall Graduation Convocation.

“I am deeply honored to be invited to speak at the College of Fine Art Fall Commencement Ceremony,” Derek said. “The entire sport industry is dependent on great artists in order to thrive, grow, and be successful. The relationship between sport and art is not mutually exclusive. An artist creates the narratives and stories, remembers the past, inspires the vision, piques the emotion, connects and defines the experience, and engages the masses. Sport without art is like a stone waiting for a sculptor.”

During his first year at Arizona in 2018-2019, Derek sculpted the athletic department’s first-ever comprehensive strategic plan, focusing on aligning athletics’ mission and vision, academic success and enhancing the fan experience.

He has over 23 years of experience in higher education and athletic administration at Arizona, Austin Peay State University and Central Michigan, his alma mater.

At Austin Peay, as the Vice President of the University, he was responsible for fundraising, community relations, public relations, marketing, communications, alumni relations, and developing the University’s first comprehensive strategic plan. During this period, he helped to reorganize a Center for Excellence in Creative Arts, and was active in creating and supporting fundraising strategies for art initiatives.

Derek started at Austin Peay as the Director of Athletics for two years before being promoted to the vice president and serving on President Alisa White’s senior leadership team responsible for the overall management of the University. As Athletics Director, he oversaw the construction of the new football stadium and secured a $2.5 million naming rights agreement.

“I enjoy the games, but I enjoy watching how the whole thing comes together. I enjoy looking at the fan experience. I enjoyed the administration and the management and marketing and the advertising and the business structures. How the whole enterprise is supported by these concepts of what I say is art. You know, it’s because it really is.

“How do you design a football stadium? Art. How do you engage the consumer experience? Art. Every part of our experience, the narratives, the storytelling. Every part of it is impacted by art.

“The ability of an artist to see something unique and special in something that is ordinary is what amazes me. It’s how the artist sees life and its beauty. It’s that creativity that inspires people. Only an artist can do that.”

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UA School of Theatre, Film & Television students Haiden Pederson and Sofia Elena Gonzalez discuss the stressful process of baring your soul in #auditions and tips on how to deal with audition #anxiety.

https://azart.fyi/auditiontips

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University of Arizona: Acting/Musical TheatreImage attachment

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Congratulations to Taylor Maresca for writing such a beautiful piece!

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#MediciMondays

Gyselle is a junior majoring in Film and Television at the UA School of Theatre, Film & Television. She worked on the independent film, ‘The Long Walk of Carlos Guerrero,’ shot in Tucson, as a production assistant and assistant camera. She assisted with maintaining the camera, selecting the appropriate lenses and filters for each scene. She was responsible for slating each shot and generally supported the cast and crew through all stages of production.

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🔗 azart.fyi/MediciCircle

Thanks to donations made by the generous Medici Circle members, talented, artist scholars like Gyselle are awarded $1,000 to pursue an educational summer project beyond the classroom.
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This past spring and summer Gyselle Cuevas served as a production assistant on the set of an independent film, thanks to support from the College of Fine Arts Medici Circle donors.

#MediciMondays 

Gyselle is a junior majoring in Film and Television at the UA School of Theatre, Film & Television. She worked on the independent film, ‘The Long Walk of Carlos Guerrero,’ shot in Tucson, as a production assistant and assistant camera. She assisted with maintaining the camera, selecting the appropriate lenses and filters for each scene. She was responsible for slating each shot and generally supported the cast and crew through all stages of production.
 
The financial support provided through the Medici Award was used to cover travelling and living expenses.

The film tells the story of a man and young girl who get stranded in the desert of Southern Arizona. It was her first experience on a film set.
 
“I feel incredibly blessed to have worked with the cast and crew, and to feel like I was a significant part of something important and beautiful. I can’t help but express my gratitude to Sylvia and Herb Burton for this incredible opportunity. I am extremely grateful as this will impact my future as I seek opportunities as a Hispanic film student.”

Learn more about the program.
🔗 https://azart.fyi/MediciCircle

Thanks to donations made by the generous Medici Circle members, talented, artist scholars like Gyselle are awarded $1,000 to pursue an educational summer project beyond the classroom.Image attachmentImage attachment
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This spring feel, see, and hear live dance again with The University of Arizona School of Dance.

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“A highlight of the season will certainly be Frank Chavez’s Habaneros where we get to experience a taste of the vibrant Cuban culture,” said Interim Artistic Director Tammy Dyke Compton.

Images: Nate Mariano, Liana Corona by Ed Flores.Image attachment
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