UWP Arts and Letters Hall of Fame a reality

July 24, 2003

Professor Emeritus William Dennis closed the festivities with a rendition of the UWP fight song, which he wrote.

PLATTEVILLE - If you want to learn more about some of the best athletes in the country, the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, is a good place to start. But if you want to see the best and brightest contributors in academia, look no further than Doudna Hall on the University of Wisconsin-Platteville campus.

That is because four inductees comprising the inaugural class of the UWP Arts and Letters Hall of Fame were honored for their contributions to learning at a July 12 banquet. A display with plaques will soon give the inductees a permanent place in Doudna Hall for generations to come.

Organizers got the idea to start the Arts and Letters Hall of Fame from the University's own Athletics Hall of Fame. College of Liberal Arts and Education faculty members and administrators have been working on the Arts and Letters Hall of Fame for months and are pleased now that it has become a reality.

"We're excited about getting this off of the ground," Fine Arts Department Chairperson Dan Fairchild said. "People are going to be amazed at the number and variety of people inducted."

The purpose of the hall is to identify, promote and honor faculty, staff, retirees, alumni and friends who have contributed to arts and letters. Four individuals were inducted into the first class.

Honoree Jeffrey Post graduated from UWP with high honors in geology and chemistry in 1976. He went on to study and instruct at Arizona State and Harvard University, and now is the curator of the National Gem and Mineral Collection at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Alumnus Michael Duncan is a distinguished director, actor and artistic director in the Milwaukee theater. He graduated from UWP in 1976 and also participated in the Wisconsin Shakespeare Festival in Platteville for 14 years. Duncan remembers his time at UWP fondly.

"I had people who took me in, people who started as professors but turned into life-long friends," Duncan said.

Fellow inductee Barbara Parsons is no stranger to the University. After teaching philosophy for 34 years, Parsons retired this past May. UWP Professor Patrick Hagan, who nominated her for the honor, called Parsons his "hero" for making the University "a place were women can thrive."

Professor Emeritus William Dennis taught in the music department for 40 years, and is credited with building the program to what it is today. The honoree concluded the induction ceremony with a rendition of the UWP fight song and alma mater, which he wrote and adapted, respectively.

"Our inductees have enriched our communities and have made us proud to call them colleagues in the College of Liberal Arts and Education," Dean Mittie Nimocks said.

An eight-person selection committee comprised of UWP educators, one former staff member and one Platteville-area community member considered nearly 50 people who have all made contributions to UWP arts and letters before making their decision.

"There's a lot of outstanding people," Fairchild said.

Organizers plan to induct a second class into the Arts and Letters Hall of Fame next year. Nominations can be sent to Dan Fairchild at the University's Department of Fine Arts.


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