James Richards, left, has been named interim dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication, replacing founding dean John Hylton, who will return to a faculty role as professor of music.

In the fall of 1980, both John Hylton and James Richards joined the music faculty at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. They have worked closely for 30 years as faculty colleagues, ensemble conductors and fellow administrators. Now they share a role in the changing of leadership in the College of Fine Arts and Communication.

Hylton, the college’s founding dean, has elected to step down from the position he’s held for eight years to return his focus to his position as a professor of music. Richards was appointed by Provost Glen Cope as interim dean. They shared dean duties during a transition period in August.

“I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to be the founding dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication,” said Hylton, of St. Charles, Mo. “I am confident that Jim Richards will do a superb job during his tenure in the dean’s office.”

Richards, of Bellerive, Mo., has served for the past year as associate dean for academic affairs in the college. Prior to that, he was chair of the Department of Music for six years.

“Based on the excellence of the college faculty and staff, rising enrollments, increasing academic and artistic standards of students entering our programs, programmatic maturity and public recognition of the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center, and conspicuous support for the COFAC mission by the UMSL administration, I look forward to a prosperous future for the college,” Richards said. “This list of positive achievements – and many more – is due in great part to the dedicated work and creative vision of John Hylton.”

The College of Fine Arts and Communication began in September 2001. It is made up of four departments: art and art history; communication; music; and theater, dance and media studies. Hylton was named dean of the college in 2002 after serving as interim dean from its inception.

Under his leadership, the college has added degree programs, incorporated the resources and programming of the Touhill and collaborated with a variety of internationally prominent St. Louis arts institutions, including the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, Saint Louis Art Museum, Opera Theatre of St. Louis and Modern American Dance Company.

Prior to being dean, Hylton served UMSL from 2000 to 2002 as the interim associate vice chancellor for academic affairs and from 1995 to 2000 as chair of the Department of Music and director of fine arts outreach. He has received several awards for his work, served on numerous professional regional, statewide and national boards and written extensively on music education, including a widely used choral music text. He has conducted the Madrigal Ensemble, University Singers and Community Chorus. His student choir ensembles performed on television and radio, as well as churches and concert halls across the United States, and he has lead eight concert tours to England and Europe.

Hylton earned a doctorate and master’s degree in music education from The Pennsylvania State University in University Park and a bachelor’s degree from Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania.

Richards is the conductor for the University Orchestra. He also serves as the conductor and music director for the Saint Louis Chamber Orchestra and Gateway Festival Orchestra of St. Louis. He has performed frequently throughout the United States, including numerous guest appearances with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra Discovery Series. He’s the immediate past president of the Missouri Association of Departments and School of Music and has also served the American String Teachers Association as president of the Missouri chapter and a variety of capacities at the national level. As a violinist, he has performed with a variety of professional ensembles throughout the country.

Richards received a doctorate and degrees in orchestral conducting and music theory from the Eastman School of Music of the Rochester University in New York and a performer’s certificate in violin from the University of Texas at Austin.

Ruth Bohan, chair of the Department of Art and Art History and professor of art history, has been named the college’s interim associate dean for academic affairs. Bohan has written two books, “Looking into Walt Whitman, American Art 1850-1920” and “The Societe Anonyme’s Brooklyn Exhibition: Katherine Dreier and Modernism in American,” as well as several essays and articles. She is the recipient of numerous grants and awards.

Bohan received a doctorate and master’s degree in American studies from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

“Ruth has a distinguished record as a teacher and scholar,” Richards said. “On two occasions, she has served effectively as chair of the Department of Art and Art History.”

Richards said a new chair for the department will be made at a forthcoming date.

The university will conduct a national search for the appointment of the next College of Fine Arts and Communication dean, although no schedule for that search has been formally announced.

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Ryan Heinz

Ryan Heinz

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