By Geneva Nodland
From the creaking wood floors to the rich acrylics and oil paintings surrounding the crowd, the Rourke Art Museum was filled with laughter and conversation on Monday. As the College of Arts, Media, and Communication welcomed its new dean, Dr. Earnest Lamb, the energy was high in the historic building.
The current curator, Jonathan Rutter, is a 2007 graduate of MSUM, and Dr. Elizabeth Nawrot, psychology professor and Honors Program director, is a board member at the Rourke. When the board heard Dr. Lamb was taking the position, they concluded the museum should host an event in his honor. The Rourke Art Museum held MSUM faculty and guests to meet and connect with the Dean Dr. Lamb.
After about a half hour, President Blackhurst introduced Dr. Lamb with a short, lighthearted introduction with a few jokes echoing off the vintage walls.
Dr. Lamb was drawn to MSUM for its diversity within music, art, theater and communications, although he was surprised at the amount of art found in the area. In fact, the Arkansas native’s only exposure to Fargo was his friends’ comments about the TV show.
“I really enjoy working with creative people, and this was an opportunity to do that,” Lamb said. “I felt that I could make a difference if I came here.”
He is trying to do just that by working to bring awareness to the university.
As such, Lamb wants to “promote and be an advocate for the college.” He hopes to see the college grow in all areas.
“I really enjoyed it (the reception) because it gave me a chance to meet people from the community,” Lamb said. “I’m the new guy, so it’s important to meet people.”
Dr. Julie Zaloudek, the dean of online and extended learning, has been at MSUM for about a year and she has been able to work with Dr. Lamb a lot since he started in the summer of this year.
“For someone to come in and see everything we do and cast a new perspective—they’re like an artist,” Zaloudek said. “We are able to see (the department) through their eyes, and then you get to talk about it.”
As the evening came to a close, old and new friends of the MSUM faculty said their goodbyes.
The setting sun created shadows on the walls filled with art as the audience left with a further appreciation of brushstrokes and anticipation for the year ahead.