With all the CCFA news since the last Dean's Column, it was hard to know where to begin. I finally decided that the change in leadership of the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music should come first. I am very pleased to welcome Professor John Chiego as the new director of the School. John has extensive experience in the leadership of the Scheidt School already and is a highly respected performer and textbook writer. He has played his double bass with not only the Memphis Symphony and the Nashville Symphony, but also is a regular player on numerous recordings coming out of Nash-ville's studios. I also want to thank Professor Randy Rushing for the excellent leadership that he has given the Scheidt School over the past seven years. After a performing tour in Europe this fall while on profes-sional development leave, he will return to his first love—teaching vocal students and performing. Please join me in welcoming John and extending your thanks to Randy for all that he has done for CCFA and the Scheidt School during his term as director.
I would encourage you to read the essay regarding the remarkable events taking place in the Crosstown neighborhood of Memphis. Our involvement in this massive renovation and repurposing of the former Sears building was brought about by one of our outstanding professors of art history, Dr. Todd Richardson. It was through his vision and leadership that the project was conceived and parternships created to turn a great idea into a multimillion dollar reality.
Another vision and partnership came to reality through Theatre and Dance Chair Holly Lau's working with the Tennessee Shakespeare Company. Summer theatre returned to our main stage with a wonder-ful production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," combining professional actors with a number of our talented theatre students and our own professional design faculty, aid-ed by some of your now-professional alums.
I am very pleased that the CCFA Advisory Board has chosen the wonderful vocalist of many styles and our own adjunct pro-fessor of vocal jazz Joyce Cobb as the 2015 recipient of the Distinguished Achievement Award in the Creative and Performing Arts. Joyce will be honored on September 17 at a luncheon at the iconic Memphis BBQ restaurant The Rendezvous. I hope you will be able to join us in honoring Joyce in what is always a special and fun event.
Another special event this fall is the exhibition of Samuel H. Crone's work and the naming of the Samuel Hester Crone Gallery in the Art Museum of the University of Memphis (AMUM). Thanks to a generous donation of Crone's work and the establishment of a supporting fund from William S. Huff, this is the first named gallery in the AMUM. Again, I hope you can join us in viewing this wonderful exhibition of Crone's work and for the dedication of the Crone Gallery on September 18.
I also want you to join me in thanking and wishing the very best to some wonderful friends and professors who are leaving us. Art Education Professor Donalyn Heise, First Tennessee Professor of Art History Carol Crown, and Communication Professor David Acey have retired; and Photography Professor Larry Jasud has completed his post-retirement term.
Donalyn, who has been the rock of the art education area, decided at the end of the spring semester to return to Texas. Carol, who has been chair of the art department for 10 of her 40 years with us, became one of the foremost experts on contemporary, espe-cially Southern self-taught, folk art. She will remain connected to us for at least some of the fall semester as she has arranged for the American Folk Art Society, of which she is a board member, to have their annual meeting in Memphis this November. David, in part-nership with his wife, Yvonne, will continue to run the Africa in April Festival which they created nearly 30 years ago. During his tenure at the university, David taught African-American rhetoric and served as the first head of the African Studies Program. Larry, a well-known Memphis photographer and mainstay of the photography program for many years, will continue to create and show his work and mentor former students.
Sadly, we lost several outstanding alums, including the beloved organist Emily McAllister. I am sad to say goodbye to Bill Wellborn, the recently retired editor of the Memphis Business Journal and Journalism Alumni Award recipient, who died suddenly this spring. Bill was a wonderful alum and friend who meant so much not only to us, but also to this city.
I hope to see you at one of our many events on Central Avenue this coming academic year. Remember CCFA is cen-tral to Memphis and the Mid-South.
Richard R. Ranta, Dean
College of Communication and Fine Arts