Sculpture studio to be dedicated to longtime art and humanities dean

CORRECTION: Rhonda Smith, chair, Department Contemporary Art and Theater was misquoted as Rhonda Powers in an earlier edition. The Picket apologies for the error. 

(THE PICKET) – The sculpture studio in the Center for Contemporary Arts is to be dedicated May 5 to Dow Benedict, dean of arts and humanities, at Shepherd University.

“Dean Benedict has shaped the course of the arts and humanities at Shepherd and his impact deserves a place reflective of his legacy,” Shepherd University President Suzanne Shipley said in an email interview. “Since sculpture is his chosen field, what better place than the studio he helped bring to reality on this campus.”

“I am humbled by the honor but am certainly embarrassed as there are tons of people on our campus who are equally deserving,” Benedict said.

Other rooms inside the CCA buildings have been named after donors, but Shipley saved the dedication of the sculpture studio for Benedict, Christopher Ames, vice president of academic affairs said in a telephone interview. With Shipley’s departure from the university this summer, she believed this was the appropriate time to honor him and officiate the ceremony on May 5 at 4 p.m. in the Marinoff Theater.

“The primary reason is to honor his dedication, his service to the university and community,” Ames said. “He has a passionate commitment to Shepherd, he is an ambassador to Shepherd.

“He is a mentor who empowers all who know him to achieve things they never thought possible,” Rhonda Smith, Department of Contemporary Art and Theater chair said.

Benedict has been a professor at Shepherd for 44 years. He admits that he had no intention of staying.

“I arrived in 1971. It was a period that Shepherd was making a conscious effort to build the faculty in both size and quality. An effort was made to bring in faculty from other regions of the country and, and like me, several of us came from the Midwest,” Benedict said. “My plan was to spend three years at Shepherd and then move on to bigger and better schools.”

Over his years at Shepherd, Benedict began as an instructor of art education, sculpture, printmaking, chair of the department of contemporary art and now Dean of the school of Arts and Humanities.

“He has served Shepherd and the community in so many ways,” Ames said.

Benedict is always putting the student first, according to Shipley.

“No matter the topic, he brings it back to what a student will gain from an experience,” Shipley said. “His life is elevated by seeing others succeed, and the preparation he has helped his departments shape for Shepherd students leads to that success.”

In addition to putting students first, staff members agree that Benedict is an excellent supervisor.

“He is a great listener and because he is always eager to find solutions to problems he can usually provide multiple ways to address any issue. He is supportive of new ideas and initiatives and will work with faculty to achieve their goals. He takes the time to know your name, speak to you, and support your efforts- he is fantastic,” Smith said.

“I alone did not accomplish anything that I am being credited for as everything required a number of people to accomplish the goals. Occasionally I can have a good idea and so many others have had good ideas. Together we have been able to make thing happen and that is what makes me most proud,” Benedict said.

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