The Southwestern Fine Arts Hall of Fame was established in 2009 to honor alumni who have excelled and obtained significant success in their chosen field of Fine Arts or Fine Arts Education, and former faculty who have made significant contributions to the Fine Arts at Southwestern College. Additionally, a service award was established to honor those who have made significant contributions to the Southwestern College Fine Arts.
The Fine Arts Hall of Fame was established under the stewardship of Ronnie Jenkins, development officer at Southwestern College from 1993 to 2013. A gift to fund this hall of fame in appreciation of Jenkins’ love of the arts was made by Charles Kopke ’44. Kopke attended Southwestern College in Business Administration for three years before his studies were interrupted by World War II. After the service, he went on to become a very successful businessman and has been an active supporter of Southwestern and other nonprofit organizations.
George Jason Johnston
George Jason Johnston ’69 traces the trajectory of his professional life to his first Southwestern College stagecraft class, when he designed the living room set for Sound of Music. Although the director ridiculed the set color, Johnston was hooked. By 1972 he was working in the interior design field in Oklahoma City, and in 1982 started Jason George Interior Detail & Design. The firm designed university spaces, created museum exhibits, designed the governor’s office, and created a niche market of Accessible Master Suites. He was the driving force behind creation of the little theater located beneath the sanctuary at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, serving as executive director of Arts at St. Luke’s and managing/producing multiple shows. He is an auditioned member of the Canterbury Choral Society and is heavily involved in community service.
James Leland has been a valued affiliate faculty member, guest artist, and supporter of Southwestern College. During the renovation of Richardson Performing Arts Center he was instrumental in the restoration of the Reuter pipe organ. Leland is professor emeritus at Hollins University in Virginia, where for 34 years he taught organ and harpsichord and conducted the choir. A graduate of Oberlin College, he received his doctorate from Northwestern University. The keyboard music of J. S. Bach is his particular interest. Under Robert Shaw's direction, Leland performed with the Detroit and Atlanta symphony orchestras and toured with the Robert Shaw Chorale. Along with recitals and choral concerts each year, Leland appeared as soloist several times with the Roanoke Symphony and its chamber ensembles. He moved to Winfield in 2002 and is organist at Grace United Methodist Church.
Virginia (Stubbs) Spray
Virginia (Stubbs) Spray ’33 demonstrated the joy in life she displayed in Campus Players productions until her death at age 101. She had been a teacher and homemaker until her marriage broke up and she moved to the West Coast as a single empty-nester. In retirement she joined the Peace Corps, and on her 70th birthday was on her way to Liberia, where she taught in small villages and served as librarian in Monrovia. Back in Washington Virginia became a grande dame of local theater, a career capped by her title performance in Driving Miss Daisy. She appeared in commercials (including spots for Chef Boyardee and Fred Meyer) and the Disney movie Homeward Bound. With hair dyed pink, for a role as a fairy godmother, this local activist became even more visible around town, a visibility she enjoyed.
Dr. Stephen C. Anderson ’67 is a musician, academician, and leader in the trombone community. With a doctorate in trombone performance and musicology, Anderson was a professor at the University of Kansas (1977-2000) and at the University of the Pacific in California (2000-2007). He also was assistant dean of the KU School of Fine Arts, and chair of the KU Department of Music & Dance. He was instrumental in advocating for the Lawrence Arts Center expansion and served on the building committee for the Lied Center. With the Brubeck Institute, Steve produced festivals, concerts, and other events in dozens of locations around the world, including at Monterey Jazz Festival. He was executive producer for 10 jazz recordings, and his groups won 12 Downbeat awards including four as the best collegiate jazz group in the U.S. and Canada.
Miss Grace Raymond 1897 was an accomplished American watercolor painter, lithographer, and art teacher, known for her woodland scenes, city scenes, and still lifes. She is also recognized for her harbor and portrait paintings. She was an instructor in painting, art history, and art appreciation at Southwestern College from 1930 to 1945. Grace studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, at the School of Applied Design and the Metropolitan Art School in New York, at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, and in Paris, Rome, Belgium, Mexico, and London. Raymond was a pupil of Henry Snell, George Elmer Browne, Guy Wiggins, Gertrude Massey, and others. She died in 1967.
Arthur Sinclair Covey began his formal art studies at Southwestern College in 1895 and became one of the most noted muralists and artists of the 20th century. His SC professor, Edith Andrus Dunlevy, advised him to continue his studies at the Art Institute of Chicago, and his studies at home and abroad included a stint as assistant to a noted mural painter in London. In 1908 he returned to the United States, opening a studio in New York City. In 1914, Covey received a commission to decorate the new Carnegie Library in Wichita. His later commissions included murals for department stores, industrial concerns, and public buildings. After his death, his widow (author Lois Lenski) gave a collection of his works to Southwestern College.
Don Phillip Gibson ’61 decided early that (in his words) “it’s easier to be a doctor by day and a musician by night than the other way around.” As a result, Winfield has been enriched both by his 39 years as a physician, and by his lifetime as a musician. He joined Southwestern College’s symphony in high school, continuing with that orchestra (mostly as a cellist) for the next 61 years. After beginning college as an organ major he switched to pre-med, but following medical school returned to the Presbyterian Church organ the Sunday after his 1965 arrival back in Winfield -- service that totaled 53 years. He has been a faithful and committed musician in small groups, as an accompanist, and throughout Winfield.
Woodrow J. Hodges ’65 began his career teaching public school, moving to higher education after he completed his doctorate at the University of Iowa. As director of bands at the University of Cincinnati’s prestigious College-Conservatory of Music, he led the Bearcat Marching Band to a variety of national television appearances, including the World Series, Monday Night Football, and NCAA basketball tournaments. The university described his band as having a “high-stepping marching style, original music arrangements, and powerful sound.” After four years, joined the Carthage (Wisc.) College music department in 1977 and remained until his retirement in 2013. As part of his life-long connection to Southwestern, Hodges has performed in 21 complete performances of Elijah, as a singer, trombonist, or bassoonist.
Scott I. Hartley ’97 graduated with a degree in biology education and began teaching high school biology and physical science. Science was a love, but art was always a passion in his life. The students always appreciated his science artwork on the board during labs and discussions, and he incorporated art into his lessons whenever possible. In 1999, the opportunity arose for him to pursue art full-time. Even though he had never blown glass, watching molten glass being manipulated left him spellbound. In 2003, Hartley opened his own glassblowing studio and gallery, Infinity Art Glass, in Benton, Kan. His work is now in over 100 galleries as well as in museums and private collections around the world. Hartley continues his love for teaching by conducting school tours, field trips, and educational demonstrations of glassblowing.
Timothy A. Myers ’00 is the artistic and music director of North Carolina Opera, one of the youngest artistic leaders in American opera. With a diverse repertoire of symphonic works and more than 70 operas, Myers has his finger on the pulse of today’s musical world. His commanding performances of the core repertoire are enhanced by his passion for fusing genres and styles, and his personal warmth and approachability forge connections with audiences internationally. In addition to North Carolina Opera, his guest conducting engagements have included numerous opera houses and symphonic orchestras in America and abroad. For three seasons, Myers was the principal guest conductor of Opera Africa in Johannesburg, where he led nearly thirty performances and assisted the company in artistic development.
Brandon Q. Smith ’98 grew up on a wheat farm in Manter, Kan. Armed with bachelor’s degrees in English and music, he was accepted into the prestigious design program at NYU: Tisch School of the Arts, where he earned his M.F.A. in design for film, television, and theatre. Brandon lived in New York City for seven years, working as a production designer and graphic artist in film and television. This included three years on Law & Order: Special Victim’s Unit and art direction of music videos and magazine cover photoshoots. In 2008 he moved to Boston to begin designing graphics for feature films. He is a two-time Academy Award nominee for his work on American Hustle and The Town. Brandon and his husband, Tim, are entrepreneurs who run a successful graphic design and web development business.
Michael R. Brummett ’79 taught instrumental and vocal music for 31 years, 26 of those in Bucklin, Kan. Under his direction the Bucklin Junior High band received 26 I ratings at league music festival. The Bucklin High School band received 26 I ratings at the league music festival and 21 I's at state music festival. During his final six years of teaching, Brummett taught at both Bucklin and Greensburg, Kan. He was directing the Greensburg band at commencement when President George W. Bush spoke there in 2008 following the devastating tornado. President Bush stopped to congratulate Mike on the band’s playing. In addition to organizing band trips and KMEA participation, Mike brought professional instrumental and vocal groups to league band and vocal students, including such artists as Maynard Ferguson.
Terry L. McGonigle ’73 has taught educational theatre for more than 40 years. A native of Wichita, he has worked in professional theatre in New York and Texas and lived and taught in the Atlanta area from 1989 to 2007. Although he has been an actor, technician, director, and designer, his first love has always been teaching. In 1999 he was named the Georgia Youth Arts Educator of the Year and in 2004 was inducted into the Kansas Theatre Hall of Fame. In 2008, he was inducted into the Educational Theatre Association’s National Teacher Hall of Fame. A contributing member of the International Thespian Society for over 30 years, he has presented workshops in puppetry, costuming and makeup at 19 different state Thespian events and at the International Thespian Festival.
Madeline (Magnusson) Norland
Madeline Joan (Magnusson) Norland ’83 received her B.A in art from Southwestern College when her first-born was six months old. (She had earned her B.A. in elementary education five years earlier from Bethany College.) As a classroom teacher in Chase County, Kansas, and in inner-city Fort Worth, Texas, Madeline always integrated art into the curriculum. She was assistant curator of education at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and later she was designer/producer/director of the Interactive Gallery at the Wichita Art Museum. Working alongside her husband, Ken, she co-chaired the capital campaign for the Richardson Performing Arts Center, dedicated in 2011. She and Ken built a bed-and-breakfast east of Winfield that they created out of a passion to share beauty with those who needed a respite from this world.
George M. Cole ’63 built a successful career as an orthopedic surgeon, specializing in conservative care orthopedic consultation and treatment. He was a member of the Southwestern College Board of Trustees from 1994 to 2006. Even before he attended Southwestern College, though, he was one of many southern Kansas high school students for whom the Southwestern Summer Music Festival was an annual highlight. An accomplished tenor and French horn player, he attended for three years, and developed an attachment for Southwestern from those experiences. George never forgot that experience and as he explored ways to contribute to the development of the music program at the college, he chose to support the rejuvenation of this outreach to students who might not otherwise learn about Southwestern. Thanks to his support, since its renewal in 2008 the Cole Family Summer Music Festival at Southwestern College has grown both in number of students and in reputation.
Loren B. Crawford ’34 was given a violin on his eighth birthday, a gift that gave birth to a rewarding career as an accomplished musician and extraordinary music educator. His degrees from Southwestern College and Eastman School of Music equipped him to touch the lives of more than a thousand students during 40 years as a music teacher. He began his teaching career in 1935 at Burden, Kan., and from 1935-1938 was assistant professor at McPherson College. He developed a successful orchestra program in Pratt between 1940 and 1952, in spite of three years in the Army during World War II. During his time in Garden City (1952-58) Crawford’s orchestra program was considered one of the best in the state of Kansas. He would go on to teach in Washington and Utah and direct the orchestra at Weber State College. A career highlight was when he served as guest conductor of the Utah All-State Orchestra in 1973 at the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City.
Ronald K. Curfman ’64 is emeritus professor of production at the University of Southern California School of Cinema–Television. His career as a production sound mixer included work on such respected television series as 20/20, Dallas, and 60 Minutes. From 1974 to 1990 he worked on well over 200 commercials, most of these national spots. His documentary work took him to such exotic locations as Iceland, Portugal, Israel, and Brazil. In 1986 he was invited to join the USC faculty, where he became head of the sound department in 1995. A highlight of his time at USC came when he was invited to deliver a series of seminars on the new digital sound editing at the Beijing Film Academy.
Kenneth A. Forsyth ’61 had a long and exemplary public school teaching career in vocal music, has directed numerous church and community groups, and has sung in choirs, professional ensembles, and as a tenor soloist. His teaching positions include Leon, Howard, Columbus, Marion, Salina, Wichita North, McPherson College, Friends University, and Southwestern College. One of his proudest accomplishments is the legacy he left through mentoring hundreds of young music educators. “He combined a wholesome balance of very high musical and behavior expectations with a sensitive understanding of what it is that makes adolescent kids tick and want to do their very best,” a colleague wrote. He was inducted into the Kansas Music Educators Association Hall of Fame and received the Harry Robert Wilson Award for Excellence in Choral Music.
Leora (Martin) Kline
Leora K. (Martin) Kline ’66 earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Southwestern College (the first SC student to present a recital in the new Messenger Recital Hall) and a graduate degree from the Eastman School of Music. For 25 years she taught and conducted public school orchestra programs in Kansas and Ohio, also holding college teaching appointments in Kansas and Ohio. She played 25 years as a professional violinist in the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra and Dayton Opera Orchestra, and her career has included concert solo presentations with community, college, and high school orchestras. Since concluding her career as a professional violinist, Kline has ministered to people who could not attend live performances, to the ill and those facing the end of life.
Lou Edwards Tharp became secretary of the Division of Fine Arts at Southwestern College in 1979. Over the ensuing 36 years she would work with four division chairs, 45 faculty members, and countless art, theatre, and music students, saying she loved every one of them. Lou managed the box office for hundreds of music and theatre events, memorable among them the summer dinner theatre Horsefeathers & Applesauce. A former food service director, she also catered the majority of the receptions held in the division. After taking a stained-glass class at SC, Lou began teaching the classes herself and had students from across the academic disciplines. She retired in 2011 and continues to support the college and the division by scrapbooking and attending events.
Born in Corbin, Kansas, Orcenith S. Smith studied voice at Friends University and opera performance at The Juilliard School, then began his opera career in 1940 with the Julliard Opera Company. He later sang with the New England Opera Company and with many American symphonies. Smith earned a degree from Trinity College of Music in London, a master’s degree from Columbia Teachers College, and a Doctor of Sacred Music degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York. He was the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship. He taught voice and was chair of the Division of Fine Arts at Southwestern College from 1947 to 1953, always singing a major role in Elijah and directing the Purple Robed Choir. He later taught at the University of Oklahoma and Wittenburg University. Dr. Smith died Sept. 18, 1986.
James Strand was on the faculty of Southwestern College from 1961 until his retirement in 2000. With degrees in organ performance from the University of Redlands, he earned his DMA from the University of Oklahoma. At Southwestern he taught organ, harpsichord, music theory, and music history; directed the bell choir; and chaired the Division of Fine Arts for several years. An active participant in Jan Term, he also taught students how to build harpsichords. Strand received the Student Council Citation for excellence in teaching. He was an active soloist, performing organ, harpsichord, and clavichord concerts under the sponsorship of the Kansas Arts Commission and the Mid-America arts Alliance touring Program, and recitals in London and Holland during a sabbatical.
Jerry D. Thomas ’81 graduated from Southwestern College with a business degree but became a full-time artist in 1986. The wildlife, trails, and history of the West are important inspirations for his artwork, and his attention to detail and endless research have become a hallmark of his realistic images. He has twice designed the Kansas Wildlife Habitat Award and has been named Kansas Wildlife Artist of the Year twice. Thomas has dedicated himself to the preservation of our natural and historic heritage and has generated funding for habitat restoration in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. The newly established Western Vistas Historic Byway features his designs along its 102-mile historic route. In 2010, his boyhood home of Scott City honored him by opening the Jerry Thomas Gallery and Collection, featuring his original artwork and western heritage collection.
L. Dean Angeles ’67 conducted the Loyola University Chamber and Symphony Orchestras and coordinated a comprehensive string education program for the Loyola College of Music in New Orleans from 1980 until 2006. His highly acclaimed public school and university orchestras appeared at national music conferences and completed several successful concert tours in Europe as well as in the United States and Costa Rica. Angeles has served as conductor or clinician in 33 states, including 24 all-state orchestra festivals. He is the recipient of the 2003 Lifetime Achievement Award in Classical Arts, sponsored by Big Easy Entertainment and Gambit weekly, and was awarded the 2010 Midwest Clinic Medal of Honor. He continues to work as a clinician and guest conductor in semi-retirement.
F. Joe Sims ’51 joined the music faculty at Southwestern College in 1954 and taught voice and music education courses. As faculty co-adviser for the Campus-Y organization, Sims received a leadership award from the West Central Area Council. He received SC’s Student Council Faculty Citation in 1962, and the 1964 Moundbuilder yearbook was dedicated to him. That same year Sims was awarded a Fulbright lectureship to promote music education in Colombia, South America. During that sabbatical he provided leadership for the 21 men’s glee clubs in Colombia’s universities. In 1971 Sims became director of choral and voice activities at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, Mo, later becoming head of the Division of Fine Arts. He retired from teaching in 1987.
Gordon Young ’49 (1919-1998) is generally recognized as one of the most brilliant organist-choirmasters of our time. Born in McPherson, Kan., he was an eager music student as a boy and spent hours at the piano and pipe organ at the churches where his father was pastor. Educated at Southwestern and at The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Young served as choirmaster in churches in Philadelphia, Kansas City, and Detroit. He left his post at First Presbyterian Church in Detroit in 1967 to concentrate on composing. He left a legacy of nearly 1,000 published musical works, including organ, choral, solo, ensemble, and instrumental pieces, and a number of his church anthems have become standard repertoire fare.
Dennis P. Akin was a faculty member at Southwestern College from 1958 to 1967, and now is professor emeritus of fine arts at Dickinson College. He received the SC Student Council Teaching Award, and several teaching awards at Dickinson. His paintings have been exhibited at many universities, and at the Hoyle Gallery, Boston. At Dickinson he recently completed 26 stained glass windows for seven different buildings. Akin taught by example, and by the use of reason, to cause his students to understand that excellence and tenacity is the heart of artistry. A recent painting, Time, took 13 years to complete.
Norman Callison (1941- 2009) ’63 was a beloved and influential theatre faculty member at Southwestern College from 1963 to 1969. He brought musical theatre to SC for the first time when The Sound of Music was performed in 1966, and incorporated SC’s first revolving set for Oliver in 1969. He was manager and director of Southwestern’s USO Troupe on its nine-week tour of the Pacific area in 1972. He may be best remembered for his role as a founding father of the Horsefeathers and Applesauce summer dinner theater, which he led from 1973 to 1978 and in 1987. Callison saw potential in people and things where others might see only discards. His tireless quest to improve anything and everything, and his loyalty to his students, colleagues, renters, friends and family was uncompromising.
Gayle McMillen ’71 retired in 2005 after teaching music for 27 years in Salina, Kan. He hosted the Roosevelt-Lincoln Invitational Band Festival for 23 years. McMillen is past president of the Kansas Bandmasters Association and the Kansas Music Educators Association and was the Southwestern Division President of MENC: the National Association for Music Educators, representing 10,000 members in seven states. He served on the Kansas State Department of Education committee that developed music standards for the state of Kansas. In 2004, Gayle was the recipient of the National Federation of State High School Associations State Music Educator Award and in 2005 received the NFHS Section 5 Outstanding Music Educator Award. The Kansas Bandmasters Association and Phi Beta Mu awarded him as the 2006 Outstanding Bandmaster. McMillen was inducted into the KMEA Hall of Fame in 2009.
E. Marie Burdette
E. Marie Burdette ’29, ‘32 (1901-2006) taught generations of Winfield children to play piano. She earned her Southwestern College degree in organ in 1929 and a major in history in 1932. She joined the faculty of Southwestern College in 1925 primarily teaching piano and organ. For several summers, she studied advanced organ in Paris with Marcel Dupre, who was said to be the foremost organist/composer/teacher of the time and told her she “played like an angel.” Burdette retired from Southwestern in 1970 and continued to teach private lessons in her home including as many as four generations of several Winfield families. In the fall of 2000, she was honored in Topeka for being the oldest employed woman in Kansas; she taught piano for more than 80 years.
Earl W. Dungan ’40 (1918-1990) led a World War II military band in Belgium and France that played for appearances of General Eisenhower, including the signing of the WWII peace treaty. Upon returning to civilian life, he taught music at Winfield High School, then at SC. He taught at Dickinson (N.D.) State Teachers College from 1954 to 1962, returning to SC as chair of the education department. He did extensive work at the Winfield State Hospital for the Mentally Disabled, developing recognized theories in music therapy. Dungan later took a position with the State Department of Education as head of teacher certification, returning in 1978 to the state hospital (through the Burden school system), helping teachers become certified to teach special needs students.
Mildred (Demaree) Erhart
Mildred (Demaree) Erhart ’41 graduated from Southwestern College with a degree in physics and math, but music remained a great love throughout her life. She was organist in Episcopal and Presbyterian churches for 40 years, and in a Jewish synagogue for 30 years. She sang lead or supporting roles in 24 operas as part of the Rio Grande Valley International Music Festival, appearing with such luminaries as tenor Richard Tucker. For four decades she was chief fundraiser for this music festival. A music scholarship at Southwestern College honors Mildred and her husband, Ted E. Erhart, whom she married shortly after their graduation from college. Ted was killed in an accident in 1984. The couple’s estate will support SC music scholarships and renovation of Richardson Auditorium.
Helen Graham ’19 (1897-1984) may have had the most influence on Southwestern theatre of any SC alumnus. She was director, advisor, and friend to hundreds of budding actors and actresses at Southwestern College. She and her fellow theatre students conceived of Campus Players as an honorary theatre organization before her graduation. She then returned from New York to teach in the Departments of Expression and Dramatics, and Public Speaking, in the fall of 1922, where she taught for 40 years until 1963. In his history of the Department of Speech and Dramatics, Norman Callison stated that “alumni everywhere eagerly remember that although she could not remember their names (she always called her students ‘Boy’ or ‘Girl’) she was the most marked influence in their lives.”
Lauren Gordon Kilmer (1909-2002) had an extraordinary ability to imagine new machines and precision instruments in three dimensions, running and in use. As a result, Kilmer invented machines and techniques in areas as diverse as geology (where his Dinoseis revolutionized how geologic surveys were conducted), optometry (he developed instrumentation for early contact lens laboratories), and lawn care (he sold a dozen patents for a string-type lawn edger to Black and Decker). His love for music was fostered by his wife, Mazie (Barnett) Kilmer ’32, and his son, Richard Kilmer, both violinists, and in retirement he hand-built 14 high-quality violins. His family’s gift to Southwestern College performing arts led to a restoration of the strings program.
David McGuire ’47 is professor emeritus of music at the University of North Texas. He taught at the Denton, Texas, institution from 1962 to 1987, and was coordinator of graduate music education for a quarter century. For more than 30 years as a band director and university professor, McGuire exemplified the Builder spirit by motivating students to do better than their best. Whether performing, conducting, or teaching, he led by example. He began teaching in small Kansas towns, and in Wichita, before teaching in Brighton, Colo., and at Beloit (Wis.) College. He is the author of journal articles, and taught graduate courses including History of Music Education, Philosophy of Music Education, and Psychology of Music.
Grace Sellers ’27 (1903-1998) began her 40+-year teaching career at Southwestern in 1928 as an instructor in piano and music theory. For more than 30 years she was the organist at Grace United Methodist Church and the rehearsal accompanist for most of the years that Mendelssohn’s Elijah was presented in Winfield. She was an excellent accompanist and enjoyed accompanying more than she did performing as a soloist. She had high standards for her students and was persistent with her instruction to encourage their best efforts. Former students spoke of her love of music, and of her belief in its power to move the human spirit. “Her dedication to her profession and her community was an example that inspired many of us,” one wrote.
Ross O. Williams ’35 (1912-1998) became director of strings and orchestra at Southwestern College in 1945 and remained until his retirement in 1977. In Winfield he revived the Elijah tradition. He was a violinist for 22 years in the Wichita Symphony and gave annual recitals, continuing to do so after his retirement. He was a music clinician and adjudicator in several states. He received an honorary Doctor of Music from Southwestern and was inducted into both the Kansas Music Educators and Kansas String Teachers Halls of Fame. He served the First Presbyterian Church as elder and deacon and was director of music for 41 years. Williams was a member of the Winfield Chamber of Commerce for 30 years and was a past president of the local Rotary Club with perfect attendance for 52 years.