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2014 Faculty & Staff News
Longwood honors five retiring faculty members
March 28, 2014
Five Longwood University faculty members who are retiring at the end of the spring 2014 semester were honored recently in a campus reception.
The year each retiree joined Longwood is indicated in parentheses below.
- Pam Arkin, associate professor of theatre (1990)
- Mark Baldridge, professor of art (1972)
- Dr. John Burke, professor of art (1988)
- Randy Edmonson, professor of art (1979)
- Dr. Gene Muto, professor of theatre (1998)
Arkin, program coordinator for theatre education, teaches acting, voice and movement. She has directed about 30 Longwood Theatre productions and appeared in numerous other shows. In February she received a regional Meritorious Achievement Award for Excellence in Directing from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, for her work on The Love of Three Oranges in November 2013. She has made several professional trips to Romania and elsewhere in Eastern Europe, including a 1997 sabbatical during which she studied the Romanian Academy System of actor training. She also has taught in Romania, coordinated a 1996 touring presentation of Taming of the Shrew by Longwood theatre majors in Romania and the Czech Republic, and participated with Belgrade’s all-female Dah Theatre and Janet Rodgers, a VCU professor emeritus, in creating a theatre piece that was later performed in an ancient Greek theater. Arkin and Rodgers repeated that experience in 2012, resulting in a workshop and performance at the Sibiu International Theatre Festival in Romania. Arkin, who grew up in Long Island, N.Y., and later Decatur, Ala., received the first Junior Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award in 1994 and twice was the Outstanding First Year Student Advocate.
Baldridge’s background is in jewelry and metalsmithing, and he also has taught stained glass, wood design, and two- and three-dimensional design. He created and for five years edited, and later co-edited, the journal of the Society of North American Goldsmiths (now titled Metalsmith), and he served on the organization’s board for eight years and this January was awarded lifetime membership. He considers his house and surrounding land—on which he has worked since building the house in 1976—his "biggest work of art." He has participated in more than 150 local, national and international exhibitions. A native of North Rose, N.Y., who has twice chaired the former Department of Art, Baldridge shares with Dr. Robert Webber the distinction of being Longwood’s senior faculty member. His wife, Susan Hilton Baldridge ’89, and a son from a previous marriage, Zach ’95, are Longwood graduates.
Burke, who coordinated the former program in interior architecture, teaches environmental design issues, architecture appreciation and design, and drawing. He is a practicing architect who has worked in Brussels, London, Paris and Cambridge, Mass., and his recent architectural projects are in Caroline County and Montross, Va. He is the author of a book on Southern architecture, five published monographs and 30 published articles; has presented 29 papers at conferences in the United States and internationally; and has received 25 state, federal, international and private grants/fellowships from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and NEH, as well as two NEA grants and 21 Longwood grants. His work has been shown in 45 exhibitions in the U.S. and abroad. A native of South Korea who came to the United States at age 16, he received the Maria Bristow Starke Faculty Excellence Award in 2003 and a Phi Kappa Phi Distinguished Faculty Award in the Creative and Performing Arts at Louisiana State University.
Edmonson, who has taught numerous courses in art and design for 35 years, is an award-winning artist whose paintings and ceramic work have been exhibited in more than 100 juried, invitational and one-man exhibitions in the United States and six foreign countries. His work is included in the permanent collections of several museums in the U.S., Europe and Asia, in corporate and private collections, and in numerous publications including Ceramics Monthly, The New York Times and The Art of Contemporary Pottery. For three summers (1994, ’95 and ’97) he served as a ceramics consultant for the Near East Foundation in Morocco, helping to develop ceramic stove liners that would reduce health hazards and increase fuel efficiency in rural Moroccan homes. He has conducted workshops at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and numerous schools and art centers. Edmonson, who grew up in Upland, Calif., chaired the former Department of Art for three terms totaling 11 years.
Muto chaired the former Department of Communication Studies and Theatre from 1998-2004 and has directed at least 35 Longwood Theatre productions. At Augusta State University, where he taught from 1986-98, he directed about 30 productions, and he has directed shows in regional and summer stock in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Georgia. He was a visiting professor at Humboldt University in Berlin during the spring and summer of 2005. A native of Rochester, N.Y., Muto has been executive director of the Imperial Theatre in Augusta, Ga., and artistic director of its summer stock theatre, a professional consultant for GM Casting Services, and an actor and director in New York City.