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Art professor reflects on 40 years at Chapman

May 19, 2010

Art professor Richard Turner

When he was hired by a little place known as Chapman College, the new art teacher thought he’d stick around briefly and then move on.

That was 40 years ago. Last week Richard Turner, professor of art, was recognized at the 15th Annual Chapman University Faculty Honors Convocation for his 40 years of service.

“I thought, ‘I’ll be here a couple of years and then I’ll move on.’ I just thought that was what an academic career was – you started somewhere and moved on,” says Turner, who is also an accomplished public artist, with installations throughout the United States, including the Honda Center in Anaheim and in Portland, where his design team’s art for light rail stations earned a Presidential Award in 2001.

But there was a unique brand of teaching freedom he came to enjoy at the small college that he says was “kind of unformed” and still thriving in the philosophy and traditions spawned in the 1960s.

“There was a freedom to teach and an encouragement to teach in innovative ways,” says Turner, who is also an Old Towne Orange resident.

"Equinox Sunrise," a bronze sculpture by Professor Turner, hangs in Wallace All Faiths Chapel.

The interdisciplinary style of education vigorously pursued at Chapman University now, came naturally at the small Chapman of the early 1970s.

“It didn’t need to be promoted. It was in the air,” he says.

Other major factors influencing his choice to stay at Chapman were higher standards for student admission, the increasingly impressive art portfolios submitted by prospective students and a more liberal overall campus environment.

“At least for Orange County, the institution has become more liberal,” Turner says.

And more change is still afoot for Turner and his colleagues when their department moves this fall from the College of Performing Arts to Wilkinson College of Humanities and Social Sciences, a transition that sparked some controversy early this year. But Turner is eager for the move and says Wilkinson will be a great home for their programs.

“Wilkinson is smaller, more streamlined,” he says. “We feel much more compatible with Wilkinson.”

Several other faculty received service anniversary awards at the 15th Annual Faculty Honors Convocation, including:

Five Years Service

Joseph Baugh, Jenny Carey, Brian Glaser, Halina Goetz, Donald Guy, Lori Cox Han, Ernesto Hernandez, Claudine Jaenichen, Roxanne Greitz Miller, Henry Noyes,Veronique Olivier, Gary Pace Gregg Payne, Stephen Polcari, Alexandra Rose, Lawrence Rosenthal, Paul Seydor, Nicholas Terry, Walter Tschacher, Can Uslay, Carolyn Vieira-Martinez, Jennifer Waldeck, David Ward, Carolyn Young, and Peiyi Zhao.

Ten Years Service

Mohamed Allali, Ruby Brougham, Catherine Clark, Amy Graziano, Mildred Lewis, Laura Loustau, Celestine McConville, Shaun Naidoo, and Robin Slocum.

Fifteen Years Service

Gilbert Bettman, Arthur Blaser, James Blaylock, Jeffrey Cogan, Sharon Corey, William Cumiford, Robert Frelly, Cristina Giannantonio, Lynda Hall, Hugh Hewitt, Eileen Jankowski, David Kiddie, Sheryl Kramer, Nancy Martin, Alison McKenzie, Glenn Pfeiffer, and Anuradha Prakash.

Twenty Years Service

Mark Axelrod, Thomas Bradac, and Allen Levy.

Twenty-five Years Service

Anna Brownell, Leland Estes, Marilyn Harran, Roberta Lessor, Marvin Meyer and Pradip Shukla.

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