By Kaylee Lindenmuth
A crowd of about 100 people gathered in the Sharadin Atrium Lobby on Tuesday, Oct. 30, as the College of Visual and Performing Arts recognized the accomplishments of its members and alumni for Schaeffer-Sharadin Day.
Six students from all six majors in the college were honored, as were three faculty members, a retired faculty member and an alumnus. In total, 11 awards were presented.
The first, the Senior Faculty Award, was to be presented to Dr. Trucilla Sabatino, assistant professor of music, though she was unable to be present at the ceremony.
Music department Chair Dr. Jeremy Justeson, who presented the award, accepted on her behalf to present “when her students are around.”
“She really, truly does have the best interests of her students at heart,” said Justeson about Sabatino. “She believes in nurturing her students to become open to many different learning experiences so that they can not only become fine musicians but also well-rounded individuals.”
The Schaeffer-Sharadin Award for early career faculty excellence, presented by Dr. Daniel Haxall, art and art history chair, was awarded to Heather Ramsdale following the Senior Faculty Award.
Haxall then presented the award for Staff Excellence to Annette Christman of the Department of Art and Art History.
Student awards began in the same department with Haxall presenting the student award for art and art history to Joe Dahmus, whom he says “regularly and enthusiastically engages his peers and professionals in art matters.”
The Department of Cinema, Television and Media Production (CTM) followed with professor Michael Johnston presenting his department’s award to Thomas Biltcliff.
“When you watch any television show or movie, you’ll notice at the end there are hundreds and hundreds of credits of people who have worked on things, and it is really difficult to make your name stand out,” said Johnston. “Tom, you have done just that.”
“So, Tom, you can write, you can light, you can direct, you can edit. Not only that, when you’re not working hard in your classes, you’re actually teaching yourself new software and new programs,” added Johnston. “Tom is always a self-starter, and he is intellectually curious.”
Art Education and Crafts followed CTM with Dr. Julia L. Hovanec presenting her department’s award to Jesse Todero.
Professor Denise Bosler presented the award in the Communication Design department to Michelle Brown.
“She’s a student who anticipates problems and seeks solutions and has been a great asset to her professors and her peers,” Bosler said. “Michelle is a true leader, and we see great success for her in the future.”
Dr. Emily Cripe presented the student award in Communications Studies to Seglinda Harrison.
“She is a force of nature,” said Cripe. “She really embodies everything that communication studies is, just with her enthusiasm for everything.”
Justeson then presented the student award in Music to Anthony “Tony” Rodriguez.
“Tony is a senior music education major and perennial dean’s list student as well,” said Justeson.
Following the student music award was the Emeritus Faculty award, presented by Justeson to Richard Wells.
“This person is supposed to positively impact the quality of student experiences still at KU, and without a doubt, Richard Wells continues to impact the student experiences at KU in numerous ways,” said Justeson. “Richard continues to support the students here at KU with his attendance at various performances… Richard also supports the students that demonstrate dedication and hard work through his scholarship funds.”
Wells highlighted the importance of the arts and having an education in such a background.
“The one thing that I love about the arts is the creativity that it provides for everyone,” said Wells. “Students, remember, dream your dream, make it work and it may become your type of life, because it’s the place in the arts where you can come up with what you think ‘well this won’t work,’ but I’ve seen people who have gone and taken their dream and put it to work and it’s their life’s vocation.”
The final award, the Alumni and Community Engagement Award, was presented to Dennis Danko, Affiliate Director of the East Central Pennsylvania Scholastic Art Awards, which will be hosted at KU.
Danko was instrumental in resurrecting the high school art competition and noted, after years of operating it nearly solo, the university will continue the competition if he were to step down.
All award recipients received a certificate and a medal.
According to the event’s program, Schaeffer-Sharadin Day began in 2008 as Sharadin Day and was renamed in 2014 after renovations in Schaeffer Auditorium wrapped up.
The event is named to recognize two individuals who were instrumental in KU’s arts program, Henry William Sharadin, the first chair of the Department of Art Education and Crafts, and Nathan C. Schaeffer, principal of then-Keystone State Normal School from 1877-1893 and the namesake of the Schaeffer Auditorium.