President's Blog

Nuance, imagination and empathy

Dr. Rick Davis, Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA), included this paragraph in his “Dean’s Gazette” last August. At the time, you may recall, the United States was experiencing an unusually harsh presidential campaign. The occasion served to remind our community of the essence of our values. I missed this when it was first sent out, but professor Paul D’Andrea quoted him during his retirement reception speech. Enjoy:

Political moment:  this is, to put it mildly, an unusual season in American electoral politics.  Passions and fears are running high across all sides of the spectrum.  I expect that CVPA, by no means an island of uniform opinion, will remain exemplary as a place where diverse points of view are respected even if strongly opposed – and where nuance, imagination, and empathy, the embrace of complexity and contradiction, and the pursuit of the beautiful – hallmarks of the artist’s way of being – will animate our classrooms, studios, offices, rehearsal halls, and the air we breathe together. 

The world needs that, and us, more urgently than ever.

Thank you for being a part of this extraordinary community.


Rick Davis, Dean