Austin College recognized excellence among its faculty at the annual Honors Convocation April 28, in addition to the awarding of more than 120 student scholarships and fellowships for excellence in a variety of disciplines. “The student accomplishments we recognize today are reflective of the excellent faculty of Austin College,” said Dr. Sheila Amin Gutiérrez de Piñeres, vice president for Academic Affairs and dean of the faculty. “I am very pleased to also announce awards that allow us to highlight members of our distinguished faculty.”
Mark Smith, professor of art, was installed as the Craig Professor in the Arts. Announcing the installation, Pineres said that being named to the professorship recognizes the academic and research achievements of the faculty member, as well as the donor whose endowment gift made the chair possible.
“It was deeply rewarding to be given a distinguished chair in the Arts from Austin College,” Smith said. “Austin College is a wonderful institution with 167 years of academic excellence behind the name. I am truly fortunate to be able to work with so many amazing students, colleagues, and the remarkable staff. Thanks to you all.”
Smith, who has been a member of the Austin College faculty since 1986, is a professor of art. A painter with over four decades of experience working as a professional artist, he teaches courses in drawing, painting, and design. His own work ranges from small paintings to large paintings and murals. As a creative researcher, he investigates the natural sciences, music, and art history as he begins new works. The challenge remains, he says, to strike a balance between structure and creative experimentation.
His work has been part of solo and group exhibitions, throughout Texas, in New York, New Mexico, Louisiana, and in Japan. He has served as a visiting artist and lecturer at multiple colleges and museums. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Kansas City Art Institute and a Master of Fine Arts degree at Queens College, City University of New York.
Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives, Austin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with more than 36 percent of students representing ethnic minorities. A residential student body of 1,250 students and a faculty of more than 100 allow a 12:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. The College is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. Founded in 1849, the College is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.