Unification News for April and May 2000

University of Bridgeport News

by Chris Corcoran—Bridgeport, CT

Digital Art

The Mather Theater at the University of Bridgeport will be the site of the DIGITAL smart© Art Exhibition, opening Thursday, April 13 and running until Sunday, May 14. There will be a reception on Saturday, April 15th, from 1:00 - 5:00 PM at the Mather Theater — also known as ‘The Bubble’ due to its unique elliptical shape — located at the Bernhard Arts Center.

"We will be exhibiting about 20 artists from 14 states whose works represent what we believe to be the most diverse and cutting-edge computer art in the country," said Sean Nixon, organizer of the exhibit and Director of the Integrated Arts Department at the University. "We’re featuring artists who use the computer in some aspect of their work, whether it’s printing, sculpture, animation or interactive. What we have found is that artists are now using the computer in a much more sophisticated way than even five years ago. The computer has become a powerful tool which assists these artists in the creative process, often resulting in works that are surprisingly reminiscent of traditional fine art," he said.

In the beginning of the 1990s, virtually no art galleries would show artwork if it had any digital component. As computer software became more advanced, people came to realize that the computer is just another tool, like a paintbrush, that can be used in subtle and imaginative ways.

Two internationally recognized artists received special invitations to the exhibit. One is MIT graduate and researcher Ronald L. MacNeil, who will display an interactive, ultra-high resolution projection on the floor of the gallery. The other artist, incorporating a completely different medium, is Deena des Rioux whose prints and paintings mix metaphors of human and artificial intelligence with visual references to robotics and computer hardware images.

Jurors for the show will be Ben Ortiz, curator of The Discovery Museum in Bridgeport; Bruce Wands, chairperson of the MFA Computer Art at the School of Visual Arts in New York City and Pattie Belle Hastings, an artist from New Haven. On Thursday, April 27 from 7:00 PM-9:00 PM at the University Gallery in the Arnold Bernhard Arts and Humanities Center there will be a panel discussion about the role of computers in art making and art education.

New Provost

President Neil Salonen continues to reshape his new administration with the recent appointment of Dr. Laurence M. Conner as the new Provost and Senior Vice President of the University. Dr. Conner, who assumes the number two administrative position at the University after the President, succeeds Dr. Michael J. Grant who has served in that position since 1995. Dr. Conner will be on campus April 10-15 and permanently after April 24.

Dr. Conner is currently serving as the President of Marycrest International University in Davenport, Iowa. He has been in that position since 1994, having previously served as Vice President for Continuing and External Education at Emerson College in Boston.

Dr. Conner, 61, has a forty-year record in higher education administration and teaching, serving in a wide range of positions. He recently had a chance to meet the UB community at a reception at Waldemere Hall. "I want to thank the University of Bridgeport community for their kindness in welcoming me to the UB family. I look forward to working with you, under the direction of President Salonen, in shaping the future of UB while at the same time respecting its heritage," said Dr. Conner.

"He has a lot of experience in exactly those areas the University needs at this time: reviewing programs for academic quality, mission focus and economic viability. We need to sharpen our focus at UB, expanding programs in the areas in which we do well and eliminating programs in areas where we are not successful," said President Neil Salonen.

Dr. Grant also had words of praise for the incoming Provost. "After meeting Dr. Conner, I have every confidence in his ability to lead the University through its next phase of development. I am impressed with him as an individual and with his administrative abilities. We are indeed fortunate to bring a person of his caliber to the University."

Dr. Conner was graduated from Southern Illinois University with a Ph.D. in Communication and Theater in 1973.

Dr. Grant will stay on as Provost until a smooth transition takes place, after which he plans to take a well-earned sabbatical for the next academic year. He will then return to the Psychology faculty as well as continue as a private practitioner.

New appointments

Dr. Thomas J. Ward, Assistant to the Provost at the University since 1997, has been promoted to Vice President for International Relations. Dr. Ward served as Associate Director of the New England Center for International and Regional Studies in 1996-1997 and as Special Assistant to the President in 1995-1996. He teaches International Studies at the University and recently received a grant from the Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium to teach an on-line course. He received an Ed.D. in 1988 from De La Salle University in the Philippines where his thesis advisor is currently the Minister of Education for the Philippines. He serves on the Human Rights Commission of Duchess County, New York.

Jocelyne D. Poisson, currently Dean of Enrollment Management, has been promoted to Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Services. She has served in her current position since June of 1999. Jocelyne has held several positions at the University since the 1970s, including Executive Director for Student Services and Division Director for the Fones School of Dental Hygiene. She holds an M.A. in Counseling from UB. Active in community affairs, Jocelyne sits on the board of the Bridgeport Salvation Army as well as the Bridgeport Public Education Fund. She is currently President of the Arts Council of Greater Bridgeport and a member of the Mayor’s Managing Arts Commission.

James Garland, formerly an Associate Vice President for Administration at the University, has recently returned to the staff as Associate Vice President for University Relations. His main responsibilities will be in the area of development while maintaining strong ties to government and community at all levels. Jim will oversee the offices of Public Affairs, Publications, Alumni Affairs and Special Events. He was recently employed as the Chief Financial Officer at the New York Studio School in Manhattan. Jim lives in Bridgeport and is on the Board of the South End Community Center and on the Board of the Bridgeport Neighborhood Fund. He was a co-founder of the South End Public Safety Committee and has also served on the advisory boards of various community-based organizations.

Dr. Sang Hwe Lee has been appointed Vice President for International Development. His responsibilities will include developing funding and student recruitment opportunities abroad. Dr. Lee has most recently served as Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication, Yonsei University, Korea, from 1974-1997. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Yonsei University in 1982.

At its February 25 meeting, the Board of Trustees of the University appointed Dr. Richard L. Rubenstein, the former President of the University, as President Emeritus and Life Trustee.

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