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Robert B. Graves named dean of U. of I. College of Fine and Applied Arts

Melissa Mitchell, Arts Editor

Released 3/8/2007

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Robert B. Graves, the interim dean of the College of Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Illinois, has been selected to be the college’s permanent dean, pending approval of the U. of I. Board of Trustees. The board will formally consider the appointment at its March 13 meeting in Urbana. The appointment is effective March 16.

Graves has served as the interim dean since 2005, when Kathleen Conlin, the previous dean, stepped down to devote her full time to the U. of I. theater department.

The new dean also has deep roots in that department.

A professor of theater, Graves was serving as the head of the department – for the second time – when he was chosen to be the interim dean of FAA.

Graves, who was born in Oak Park, Ill., earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Washington University in St. Louis, and master’s and doctoral degrees in theater history from Northwestern University, in 1971 and 1976.

“I have full confidence that the College of Fine and Applied Arts will build on its long tradition of excellence under the leadership of Dean Robert Graves,” said Linda Katehi, the provost of the Urbana campus. “Professor Graves has the trust and respect of his colleagues on campus, and a distinguished record of leadership within the institution.”

Graves joined the U. of I. theater department as an assistant professor in 1977. He first served as the head of the department from 1982-87, and was reassigned to the post in 2000. He also was the interim head of the department in 1996 and 1999-2000.

In addition, Graves served as the interim director of another FAA unit – the School of Art and Design – in 1997-98.

As an educator, Graves has taught theater history and dramatic literature to undergraduate and graduate students, specializing in Renaissance and early modern theater. As a scholar, he has published books on early-modern English theater and avant-garde Asian drama, as well as journal articles on Greek drama, Elizabethan staging, Irish theater and Samuel Beckett.

Graves is the author of the book “Lighting the Shakespearean Stage, 1567-1642,” and co-author, with Ah-jeong Kim, of another, “The Metacultural Theater of Oh T’ae-sok: Five Plays From the Korean Avant-Garde.” “Lighting the Shakespearean Stage” was awarded the Sohmer-Hall Prize for best book published in 1999 on 16th- and 17th-century English stagecraft by London’s International Shakespeare Globe Centre. The book also received honorable mention for the Barnard Hewitt Award in theatrical history of the American Society for Theatre Research.

Over the course of his 30-year career at the U. of I., Graves has served on FAA’s executive committee and has been a member of the University Senate.

His many honors and awards include an Undergraduate Instructional Award, Amoco Foundation Award for Undergraduate Instruction, Campus Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Education, and American College Testing Program Award for Innovative Teaching in the Arts.