HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Donald Van Horn, dean of the College of Fine Arts at Marshall University since 1995, received the Southeastern College Art Conference (SECAC) Presidential Award for Exemplary Achievement at the organization’s annual conference Oct. 24.
“I am humbled by the President’s Award from SECAC,” Van Horn said. “When I served as president, I was privileged to make a number of those awards myself, and I am not sure I belong in the same league as those I was fortunate enough to be able to recognize. Nonetheless, it is an honor to have been presented the award and it comes from an organization that serves the visual arts in higher education, which is an important cause.”
The award, considered the organization’s most prestigious, reflects Van Horn’s personal and professional development, his contributions to his university and local communities as well as long-standing service to SECAC. According to officials of the organization, Van Horn’s many contributions include his tenure as editor of the SECAC Review, his role as conference chair in 2007, editing an issue of the Southeastern College Art Conference Review, his service as the chair of the artist fellowship committee, his commitment to moving SECAC to a year-round organization, and his service as first vice president and president from 2004 to 2008.
Van Horn’s commitment to the arts is well known in West Virginia and particularly Huntington, where he was named the recipient of The Herald-Dispatch Award for the Arts in 2006 for his “steady vision and vibrant outreach with the community.” Van Horn was nominated for that award by a wide breadth of community members thanking him for his tireless work on campus and with the Huntington Museum of Art, the Snowshoe Institute for the Arts, the Governor’s School for the Arts, the Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center and other endeavors.
SECAC facilitates cooperation and fosters ongoing dialogue about pertinent creative, scholarly and educational issues between teacher and administrators in universities, colleges, community colleges, professional art schools, and museums. Although the organization represents the 12 states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia, members are located across the United States and abroad.
SECAC fulfills its purpose in part by sponsoring an annual fall conference, hosted by an institution of higher learning. The conference provides members with a forum for the exchange of ideas and concerns relevant to the practice and study of art. The organization also publishes a newsletter and the scholarly, peer-reviewed journal, The Southeastern College Art Conference Review.