Dean’s Newsletter

May 29, 2018


Photos by Bianca Metz.


Tannis Gibson, Interim Dean

Earlier this month, the University of Arizona College of Fine Arts presented degrees to 72 graduate and 215 undergraduate students at our Graduation Convocations in Crowder Hall and Centennial Hall respectively. I am tremendously proud of all of our accomplished outgoing students and cannot wait to follow their achievements as they embark on new journeys.

Learning is a partnership between students and faculty, and the collaboration extends to include the support of friends and family – I congratulate all of you who played roles in our graduate success stories!

Dean Andrew Carnie gave the keynote speech at the Graduate Convocation, in which he praised graduate students for their creativity and the sense of purpose that invigorates their work each and every day. He spoke lovingly of his late father, a professor of English Literature, who was passionate about his collection of illustrated books from the 18th century and about poetry written in Lallans Scots, a language in decline. Dean Carnie said that he learned from his dad that things don’t have to be expensive or all the rage to be important and valuable. He urged students to never let a desire for popularity or acceptance change their real vision or voice – that they should continue to be as bold as their creativity lets them be. The arts shape us, define us, and change us.

Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Awards were presented to Diana Yusupov (College of Fine Arts and Fred Fox School of Music), Galen Trezise (School of Art), Catherine Inzirillo (School of Dance) and Ken Phillips (School of Theatre, Film & Television). Diana Yusupov was also selected to address the graduate students.

Professor Theodore Buchholz praised Diana Yusupov’s ability to balance her work as a member of the Graduate Quartet, a chamber music coach, a cello sectional coach for the Philharmonic, and principal of the Arizona Symphony.

Galen Tresize was applauded by Professor Gary Setzer for inspiring students’ interest in new material, pushing his students toward a high level of achievement, and adeptly critiquing artwork in a precise and meaningful way.

Catherine Inzirillo beautifully embodies the equal emphasis placed on artistry and scholarship that is so deeply fundamental to the College of Fine Arts. Professor Amy Ernst spoke glowingly of Catherine’s dedication to the empowerment of students, and of her finely honed leadership and responsibility to her art.

In a field of rapidly changing technology, said Professor Deanna Fitzgerald, Ken Phillips has made great strides in the effectiveness and relevance of his advanced automated lighting design class, all while creating beautiful lighting designs for numerous productions in the theatre program.

At the Undergraduate Convocation, Outgoing Director of the School of Theatre, Film & Television Bruce Brockman gave the keynote address to the undergraduates, in which he talked about the four qualities our students have developed – an artist’s hand, the physical acts of making art; a scientist’s mind, the ability to analyze and understand structure and pattern; a painter’s eye, learning how to see; and a poet’s heart, the ability to create an evocative and transformative work that is articulate and expresses meaning beyond its form. Director Brockman spoke eloquently about the undergraduate journey and these essential qualities of the artist and any well-educated person.

Elizabeth Denneau (College of Fine Arts and School of Art) and Marissa Munter (School of Theatre, Film & Television) received Kornhaber Awards. Other Outstanding Senior Awards were presented to Natalie Allen (School of Dance), Benjamin Nichols (Fred Fox School of Music), and Victoria Pereira (School of Theatre, Film and Television). Elizabeth Denneau gave the Outstanding Senior Address.

Professor Lisa Hoctritt congratulated Elizabeth Denneau’s work as a thoughtful and talented educator, award-winning artist, and community worker who is passionate about education, social justice and the arts.

Natalie Allen has distinguished herself in the dance program as a captivating performer and talented choreographer. Professor Melissa Lowe also praised her strong record of service activities.

Benjamin Nichols, finishing two degrees – one in physiology and one in vocal studies – is a profound thinker and intellectually curious, says Dr. Elizabeth Schauer. She applauded his outstanding musical skills and ability to provide substantive musical leadership for the choir.

Marissa Munter was applauded by Professor Christie Kerr for continuing to stretch herself as a performer and seeking out opportunities – such as a summer internship with Karge + Ross Casting in Chicago – to enrich her studies.

Professor Yuri Makino congratulated Victoria Pereira for her strong scholarship – her research paper on stop motion was selected for the Undergraduate Research Symposium – and for her creativity and quirky sensibility revealed in her filmmaking.

Watch videos of the Convocations at the College of Fine Arts website at

Best wishes to all for a fabulous summer ahead!

Tannis Gibson Initials

Tannis Gibson
Interim Dean
UA College of Fine Arts

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