School of Art director to retire


Photo of Christine Havice, courtesy of Kent State University.

Holly Disch

Christine Havice, director of the School of Art, is set to retire following this spring semester after being with the Kent State community since 2003.

Havice was an art history professor along with being the School of Art director. She made her move to Kent after years of being the director of the Honors Program at the University of Kentucky.

“I had a former student who was in the School of Art at Kent (State who) called to say (the School of Art) was searching for a new director and it was the right time,” Havice said. “When I came, I still hadn’t made up my mind how interested I was, but I was really struck by the work ethic among the students.”

Havice grew up in Trumbull County and attended Ohio University. She was a junior in college when May 4 occurred at Kent State.

While at Ohio University, she made a decision to switch from chemistry to art history at the end of her sophomore year, which started her journey into traveling the world and becoming an art historian.

“Finding out about students being killed on their way to classes (on May 4) is a horror that has always stayed with me,” Havice said. “Part of my job as a historian is to really raise people’s critical faculties.”

Throughout the years—from a teacher to an administrator—Havice feels ‘why’ and ‘how’ are the most important questions to ask.

As the director, Havice had the opportunity to speak with donors to raise money for the university, especially the new Center for the Visual Arts (CVA.)

“The days are never the same; that’s kind of the fun part of the job,” Havice said. “There are a lot of routine stuff like filing reports, collecting things and sending them on.”

She helps support other faculty by raising money, finding resources or identifying opportunities. Havice also had to solve the everyday problems, including communication with the construction on the CVA.

Havice said her favorite part of the job has been working with people and encouraging students to think critically about their work and the world.

“One of the best things is helping raise money for student scholarships,” Havice said. “Scholarships that can support students in conferences, presenting papers or study abroad.”

Though Havice’s official last day is June 30, she still isn’t quite done. After retiring as director, she plans to continue teaching, when her schedule permits. Right now she is working on an online class she is teaching next fall.

She would also like to continue writing her book that she’s been too busy to complete.

“The one thing I really need right now is some time away from schedules, so I don’t have to be on anyone else’s schedule,” Havice said.

Michael Loderstedt, professor of printmaking in the School of Art, will be the next interim director. He was a member of the search committee 13 years ago when they selected Havice.

“Havice impressed us greatly then. I remember at the time how much she spoke directly to the duties of the job, something the other candidates did not,” Loderstedt said. “(Havice) has overseen the coming together of all our arts facilities under one roof with the completion of the (CVA).”

Loderstedt believes that with the help of the faculty, the CVA was possible under Havice’s leadership.

As the interim director, Loderstedt believes the School of Art will face some natural growing pains as they learn to work more collaboratively with each other as faculty programs share resources.

“I expect a great number of new challenges as we transition from many locations to one, moving into our new facility,” Loderstedt said. “I believe we are excellently poised for positive growth in the visual arts at Kent State.”

Loderstedt is a tireless advocate for the transformative power of the arts education. He plans to bring this passion to the interim director’s position.

“I anticipate working alongside another efficient and talented individual whose goals and objectives align with the College of the Arts’s mission of ‘Transforming Lives Through the Arts,'” said Effie Tsengas, the communications and marketing director of the School of Art.

Tsengas believes Havice is a passionate, dedicated leader.

“I have so much admiration Havice,” Tsengas said. “The CVA is an amazing manifestation of her stalwart efforts.”

Havice has worked on the new CVA building project since before 2008. The building will officially open on May 6.

“I think the CVA is a wonderful space that everyone can be proud of,” Havice said. “ I am happy to be leaving when things are in such great shape.”

Holly Disch is the visual arts reporter for The Kent Stater, contact her at [email protected].