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Ohio Northern University Art & Design professor awarded endowed chair

October—Ohio Northern University professor Melissa Eddings Mancuso has been named the Eleanor H. and Robert W. Biggs Endowed Chair in the Fine Arts for the 2014-15 academic year.

Eddings is associate professor in the department of art & design, a top 200 creative program in the United States (“Creative Colleges: A Guide for Student Actors, Artists, Dancers, Musicians and Writers”). She has taught at ONU since 1997, served as chair from 2000–2002 and currently teaches painting, printmaking and foundation courses in the department of art & design. Melissa has also been chosen for a sabbatical leave to pursue research relating to book arts and printmaking. On campus, Melissa serves as the gallery director, the department’s study abroad coordinator and adviser for the Student Art League. In addition, she served as a member of the University’s Planning Council, the Committee on Curriculum, University Council, Committee on Professional Evaluation, Faculty Affairs, and the Cultural Affairs and Special Events committees. For a few years, she served on committees for ArtSpace in Lima. Melissa has been accepted to numerous juried shows including ArtSpace/Lima, the Findlay Art League, and the Ohio Art League. She also has had work on exhibit at Thiel College, Bluffton University, Ohio Northern University, Edinboro University, and the National Small Painting Exhibition. She also was recently accepted into the Monumental Ideas in Miniature Books Project that traveled worldwide in 2010-12 and curated the exhibition “Undercover: 6 Artists/24 Books” held at ArtSpace/Lima in 2010.

The Eleanor H. and Robert W. Biggs Endowed Chair in the Fine Arts was established in 1992 to recognize faculty’s outstanding contributions to the University. The chair recognizes faculty from the departments of art & design, theatre, and music.

“The award is based on teaching, scholarship and service,” said Eddings. “The professors in the Fine Arts Division select and nominate a faculty member. Then the administration reviews the nomination to receive the recognition.”

In 1994, University President Dr. DeBow Freed said, “Endowed chairs are a means of honoring deserving faculty for excellence in teaching and scholarship and distinguished service to the University. Those appointed admirably meet the criteria for selection and bring additional distinction to the chairs” (Alumni Magazine, Number 1, March 1994).

The theatre/concert hall of the Freed Center for the Performing Arts was dedicated in memory of the late Dr. Eleanor Biggs, a former university trustee. She was a warm, genuine person who took great interest in the arts at Ohio Northern. She encouraged strengthening and expanding the arts program.

Mrs. Biggs served on the development committee of the board of trustees and assisted in the fund drive for the performing arts center.

She was the widow of Dr. Robert W. Biggs, an ONU graduate and past chief executive officer of Brush-Wellman, Inc. of Cleveland. She received the Bachelor of Arts degree from Oberlin College and an honorary doctorate from the Cleveland Institute of Music. She was actively involved in the Cleveland area community and supported several colleges.

Originally designated as the School of Fine Arts and later the College of Fine Arts, the art & design program was first established as an independent academic unit at Ohio Northern in 1878, largely as an outgrowth of course work in engineering and architectural drawing. Today, Ohio Northern offers both the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees with majors in advertising design, art education, graphic design and studio arts with concentrations in two-dimensional, three-dimensional and pre-art therapy. The department of A&D holds memberships in national organizations such as the National Art Education Association, College Art Association, Foundations in Art: Theory and Education, AIGA: The Professional Association for Design, and the National Council on Education of Ceramic Arts. The department is recognized in the “Creative Colleges: A Guide for Student Actors, Artists, Dancers, Musicians and Writers” as one of the best creative programs nationwide. For additional information about the department of art & design or the University’s 2014–15 Arts Exhibition Season, contact the department at 419.772.2160.