By: CARTER DEJONG
Marvin Curtis has announced he will step down as Dean of the Ernestine M. Raclin School of Fine Arts at IU South Bend on June 30, 2020. By then, he will have served as dean at the school for 12 years.
Curtis has many accomplishments during his time at IU South Bend. One of the most notable being the Louise E. Addicott and Yatish J. Joshi Performance Hall. The theater located in Northside Hall was completed in 2014.
“It gave our students a different look, because now they can do their recitals and performances in a space that is acoustically different,” Curtis said.
Curtis secured the funding for the performance hall through donations. One donation of $1.2 million came from the Georgina Joshi Foundation. The total cost of the project was $1.8 million.
Since Curtis became dean in 2008, he has raised over $5 million in corporate funding and external and internal grants.
Another major accomplishment for Curtis was getting the Board of the IU South Bend Foundation to fund a program that allows students to apply for grants that fund summer travel to enhance their degree programs. In 2012 the program started with just $5,000. This year it offered $25,000.
“We have had kids that have gone to New York, Georgia, Berlin, the rainforest of Brazil on projects where they go and study. They come back with that knowledge,” Curtis said. Last year the summer travel program helped fund trips for 17 students.
“Aspire,” IU South Bend’s fine arts publication, was also started by Curtis.
“We needed to let people know we were here,” he said.
The first issue of “Aspire” was published in 2009 and was only 28 pages long. The publication is now up to 88 pages. In 2012, “Aspire” received the bronze Circle of Excellence Award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). It is the only publication on campus that has won a national award.
Curtis has spent much of his time building lasting relationships between IU South Bend and the community. He sits on the board of the South Bend Symphony and has organized many concerts involving students, including one where South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg preformed. Other community partnerships Curtis has developed include the South Bend Youth Symphony, the Stickley Piano Foundation and the Morris Performing Arts Center.
These relationships have also led to the creation of many community service events such as the annual Black History Month concert “Lift Every Voice” and the collaborative Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration concert with the South Bend Symphony.
After working in higher education for around 40 years, Curtis decided that it was time for someone new.
“Twelve years is a long a time, and we have done some incredible things,” he said.
Curtis will continue to conduct the South Bend Symphonic Choir that has been part of the music program for 51 years.
The process of selecting a new dean could begin as early as this summer. The Office of Academic Affairs will form a committee that will write a job posting and interview candidates. Curtis plans to assist the new dean during the transition period.