History

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE COLLEGE

Name

Mid-South School of Fine Arts was incorporated as a Tennessee non-profit educational corporation by charter recorded April 9, 1936 in the office of the Tennessee Secretary of State. On July 3, 1936, the name was changed to The Memphis Academy of Arts, and on February 15, 1985, the name was changed to Memphis College of Art.

Location

On March 16, 1936, the Memphis Art School (predecessor to the incorporated Mid-South School of Fine Arts) opened at 40 South Front Street (see Board minutes dated 3/16/61). Later that year, the Memphis Academy of Arts was located on the top floor of the old Memphis Board of Education building on Poplar Avenue.

The Academy moved into two formerly private Victorian residences and their adjoining carriage houses on Adams Avenue in 1942. These properties were deeded to the city with the understanding that the city government would be responsible for maintenance of the properties, and they would be used for art education.

In 1958, the Academy moved into its current home- an award-winning building created by Roy Harrover (Harrover & Mann), the design of which was selected by world-famous architects Paul Rudolph and Philip Johnson in an international competition, located within the 342-acre Overton Park. A matching south wing including the entry gallery, a library and an auditorium with studio space above was completed in 1967, followed by the sculpture/shop annex in 1975 and two pre­ fabricated buildings on the north side of the main building in 1986-87.

Beginning in the fall of 1991, the College began purchasing property nearby the main academic building, now known as Rust Hall. Three buildings along Poplar Avenue were purchased in order to provide space for graduate studios and student residences. Since then, Rust Hall has undergone award-winning renovations for creative reuse of space, and additional properties have been purchased. The Parkside building located at the corner of Poplar and Rembert was purchased for use as a student residence and property was purchased along North Barksdale where the innovative new student residence – Metz Hall – was constructed. Dedication ceremonies for Metz Hall were held in 2004.  Two residential properties (one single-family and one 4-unit apartment complex) were been purchased along Tucker Avenue for future college use.

In January 2010, MCA made a commitment to purchase the former Lewis Supply Company, an early 20th century industrial building at Main and Butler, just across from the National Civil Rights Museum, to create the Nesin Graduate School. Renovations were completed and classes were first held there in the Fall 2010 semester.

In the fall of 2010, Fogelman Hall, a matching student residence hall to Metz, was dedicated and opened for student use. The city of Memphis deeded ownership of Rust Hall in Overton Park to the college in 2010.

A grant from the Plough Foundation in 2012 provided funding for an extensive renovation of the Parkside building, which re-opened to students for the Fall 2013 semester.

Recognition

The first step in the lengthy process to gain recognition among colleges and universities on a national basis was taken in 1947 when the Academy was granted accreditation status by the Tennessee State Board. The Bachelor of Fine Arts was first awarded in the spring of 1949. Memphis Academy of Arts became a member of the National Association of Schools of Design in 1950. Finally, the planning and effort toward accreditation, set in motion after World War II, was completed in 1963 when the Academy was accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

ACCREDITATION HISTORY

NASD National Association of Schools of Design
NASA National Association of Schools of Art
NASAD National Association of Schools of Art and Design
SACSCOC Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
1947 Tennessee State Board accredits Memphis Academy of Arts/ Memphis College of Art (MCA)
1949 MCA applied for membership in NASD
1950 MCA elected to NASD (no official visit by team) 1961 MCA approved for membership in NASD
1963 MCA approved for membership in SACS
1973 NASA & SACS Qoint visit) each grant reaffirmation 1984 NASA & SACS Qoint visit) each grant reaffirmation
1987 NASAD grants plan approval for MFA-DO and MFA-VIA 1987 SACS grants candidacy status for graduate programs 1989 NASAD grants final approval for listing for MFA-DD 1989 NASAD grants plan approval for MFA-SA
1990 SACS grants accreditation for MFA-DD, MFA-VOA and MFA-SA at Levell!I 1991 NASAD grants final approval for listing for MFA-VIA
1992 NASAD grants final approval for listing for MFA-SA
1993 NASAD & SACS (concurrent visit) each grant reaffirmation
1997 NASAD grants plan approval for BFA-Fine Arts (Computer Arts)
1997 NASAD grants plan approval for BFA-Design Arts (Photography, Computer Arts) 1997 NASAD grants final approval for listing for BFA-Fine Arts (Photography)
2002 SACS grants reaffirmation 2005 NASAD grants reaffirmation
2006 NASAD grants plan approval for Master of Art Education and Master of Art in Teaching
2010 State Board of Education approves Art Education and Teacher Education Programs

Note: NASD (National Association of Schools of Design), NASA (National Association of Schools of Art) and NASAD (National Association of Schools of Art and Design) are the same accrediting agency.

Accreditation Status

The following is the correct terminology required by SACS, NASAD, and the Tennessee Board of Education when representing Memphis College of Art’s accreditation status in all publications and correspondence:

SACS Memphis College of Art is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award baccalaureate and masters degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Memphis College of Art.

NASAD- Memphis College of Art is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

The Art Education and Teachers Education Programs of Memphis College of Art have been approved by the Tennessee Board of Education.

Academy/College Board Presidents I Chairs

1936 Mrs. William B. Chapman
1937 Mrs. Willis Campbell
1940 Mrs. R.B. Snowden
1942 Mrs. Hugo Dixon
1944 Mrs. I.L. Myers
1947 Mrs. S.W. Farnsworth
1949 Mr. Walter Chandler
1952 Mr. H.W. Hirscheimer
1955 Mr. Benjamin Goodman
1959 Mrs. W.J. Eason
1961 Mr. Downing Pryor
1963 Mrs. W.P. Armstrong
1965 Mr. Bertrand W. Cohn
1967 Mr. Downing Pryor
1968 Mr. Charles H. Freeburg
1970 Mr. Erie Howry
1972 Mr. Downing Pryor
1973 Mr. Clarence Day
1974 Mr. Lester Gingold
1977 Mr. Thomas F. Johnston
1979 Mr. Lester Gingold
1981 Mr. Robert F. Fogelman
1982 Mr. Elder Shearon
1984 Mr. Charles Metz
1987 Mr. Robert Bowen
1989 Mr. Mori Greiner
1992 Mr. Marsh Gibson
1995 Mrs. Arthur Fulmer, Jr.
1998 Mr. Bryan Eagle II
2001 Mr. C. Penn Owen Ill
2005 Mr. Robert “Robin” Smithwick Ill
2008 Mr. Gary Backaus
2010 Mr. Robert F. Fogelman II
2015 Mr. Henry P. Doggrell

Academy/College Directors I Presidents

1936-1937 Allan Taft Squire, Director
1937-1942 Robert J. McKnight, Director
1942-1943 Gilbert Banever, Director
1943-1949 Mildred Nyrop Hudson, Director
1949-1976 Edwin C. Rust, Director
1976-1980 Jameson M. Jones, President
1980-1981 William C. Collins, President
1981-1982 Phillip S. Morris, Acting President
1982-1990 John S. Slorp, President
1990-1991 Phillip S. Morris, Acting President
1991-2010 Jeffrey D. Nesin, President
2010-2011 Ken Strickland, Interim President
2011-present Ron Jones, President

Honorary Degrees Awarded

1972 Annie Morton Stout, Honorary Bachelor of Fine Arts
1978 Alice Armstrong, Trustee Emerita, Honorary Doctor of Humanities
Benjamin Goodman, Esq., Trustee Emeritus, Honorary Doctor of Humanities
1992 Morrie A. Moss, Philanthropist, Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts
Ernest C. Withers, Sr., Photographer, Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts
1993 Burton Callicott, Professor Emeritus, Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts
1994 Robert F. Fogelman, Trustee Emeritus, Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts
1995 Ron Terry, CEO, First Tennessee Corporation, Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts
1996 J.R. “Pitt” Hyde Ill, Chairman, AutoZone Corporation, Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts
Edwin “Ted” Rust, Director Emeritus, Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts
Townsend Wolfe, Director of Arkansas Art Center, Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts
1997 Mildred Hudson, Former MCA Director/Trustee Emerita, Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts
Virginia J. McCallum, Trustee Emerita, Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts
1998 Jameson Jones, Former MCA President, Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts Rosanne Cash, Artist/Author, Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts
2000 Roy P. Harrover, Architect, Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts
Brian P. Lamb, Chairman & CEO of C-Span, Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts
2001 Alice Bingham Gorham, Trustee Emerita, Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts
2002 Larry Thomas, Acting President, San Francisco Art Institute, Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts
2003 Tony Jones, President, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, HonoraryDoctor of Fine Arts
Karen Blackman Carrier, ’75 BFA, Distinguished Alumni Award
2004 Peggy Metz, Trustee Emerita, Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts
Dolph Smith, Professor Emeritus, ’60 BFA, Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts
2005 Craig Brewer, Award-winning Film Maker, Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts
Cynthia Bringle, ’62 BFA, Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts and Distinguished Alumni Award
2006 Alan Lightman, Novelist, Essayist, Physicist and MIT Faculty Member, Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts
Andrea Marcovicci, Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts
2007 Jack Lew, Professor Emeritus, Global University Relations Manager for Art Talent
Electronic Arts (EA), Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts
Nancy Hill Fulmer, Trustee Emerita, Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts
Mary McCallum “Bickie” McDonnell, Trustee Emerita, Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts
2008 Coleman Coker, ’94 MFA, Architect, Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts
Kaywin Feldman, Museum Director, Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts
2009 A.C. Wharton, Shebly County Mayor, Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts
Ellen Cooper Klyce, Former Trustee, Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts
Frederic Koepel, Editorial Writer for The Commercial Appeal, Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts
2010 Peter Formanek, Trustee Emeritus, Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts
2011 R. Marsh Gibson, Trustee, Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts
Charles Chandler, Distinguished Alumni Award
Bob Riseling, Faculty Emeritus Award
2015 Robert F. Fogelman II, Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts

Commencement Speakers

1950 Ivan E. Johnson, Consultant in Art Education, Dallas, Texas
1951 Leslie Cheek, Jr., Director, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
1952 J.B. Smith, Dean, Kansas City Art Institute
1953 A. Hyatt Mayor, Curator, Department of Prints, Metropolitan Museum of Art
1954 The Honorable Walter Chandler, Chairman of the Board of Trustees
1955 Charles Eames, Designer, California
1956 Charles Nagel, Director, City Art Museum of St. Louis
1957 William N. Eisendrath, Jr., Assistant Director, City Art Museum of St. Louis
1958 Sister Mary Carita, I.H.M., Associate Professor of Art, Immaculate Heart College, Lost Angeles
1959 Mr. Jack Carley, Editorial Writer for The Commercial Appeal
1960 Dr. John Richard Craft, Director, Columbia (SC) Museum of Art
1961 Sue M Thurman, Director, Isaac Delgado Museum of Art
1962 The Honorable Walter Chandler, Mayor
1963 Donald B. Goodall, Chairman, Department of Art, The University of Texas
1964 Wilhelmus B. Bryan, A.B., A.M., L.H.D., Director of the Atlanta Art Association
1965 Dr. Wesley A. Hotchkiss, General Secretary, The American Missionary Association
1966 Gerald Nordland, Director, The Washington Gallery of Modern Art
1967 W. McNeil Lowry, Vice President, The Ford Foundation
1968 Harry Lowe, Curator of Exhibits, National Collection of Fine Arts
1969 Dr. Jameson Jones, Dean of the College, Southwestern at Memphis (now Rhodes College)
1970 Dr. Hollis F. Price, President of LeMoyne-Owen College
1971 Gere Kavanaugh, Designer (Alumna)
1972 Earl Pardon, Chair, Jewelry Department, Skidmore College (Alumnus)
1973 Burton Callicott, Memphis Arts Council Professor
1974 Alice Wheeler, Student Council President-1973
1975 Slide Presentation of Graduating Seniors’ Art (in lieu of a speaker)
1976 MAA 401 Anniversary (no speaker)
1977 Kenneth W. Prescott, Chairman, Department of Art, University of Texas
1978 Dr. Charles 0. Warren, Jr., Dean, Southwestern at Memphis (now Rhodes College)
1979 Lee Hall, President, Rhode Island School of Design
1980 John Lottes, President, Kansas City Art Institute
1981 Donald R. Irving, Director School of the Art Institute of Chicago
1982 Dr. Theodore E. Klitzke, Ph.D., Dean, Maryland Institute, College of Art
1983 Bogdan Swider, Professor (former MCA faculty)
1984 Professor Charles Gill, Printmaking Department Head, California College of Arts and Crafts
1985 Rudy Pozzatti, Printmaker, Distinguished Professor, Indiana University
1986 Sam Gilliam, Painter, Carnegie-Melon University
1987 Roger Williams, Director, Art Academy of Cincinnati
1988 Beatrice Rivas Sanchez, President, Kansas City Art Institute
1989 Donald Sherman, Chairman, Interior Design, Colorado State University
1990 Thornton Utz, Illustrator, Painter, Sarasota, Florida
1991 Arland F. Christ-Janer, President, Ringling School of Art and Design
1992 Dr. W.W. Herenton, Mayor, City of Memphis
1993 E.A. Carmean, Jr., Director, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art
1994 Samuel Hope, Executive Director, National Association of Schools of Art and Design
1995 Veda Reed, Senior Professor, MCA Professor Emerita
1996 Townsend Wolfe, Director & Chief Curator, Arkansas Arts Center
1997 Harold Ford, Jr., Congressman, 9th District
1998 Rosanne Cash, ArtisVAuthor, New York City
1999 Bennett Tarleton, Executive Director, Tennessee Arts Commission
2000 Brian Lamb, Chair and CEO of C-Span
2001 Kaywin Feldman, Director, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art
2002 Larry Thomas, ’66 BFA, Acting President, San Francisco Art Institute
2003 Tony Jones, President, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
2004 Dolph Smith, ’60 BFA, MCA Professor Emeritus
2005 Craig Brewer, Award-winning Film Maker
2006 Alan Lightman, Professor of Humanities, MIT; Internationally Acclaimed Author
2007 Jack Lew, MCA Professor Emeritus
2008 Coleman Coker, ’94 MFA, Architect
2009 The Honorable A.C. Wharton, Shelby County Mayor
2010 Beverly Robertson, President, National Civil Rights Museum
2011 Dr. Ron Jones, President-Elect, Memphis College of Art
2012 Daniel Grant, Artist, Author
2013 Representative Steve Cohen, United States Congressman
2014 Dr. Ann Markusen, Director, Arts Economy Initiative and the Project on Regional and Industrial Economics (PRIE), University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs
2015 Karen Blockman Carrier (BFA ’75), Food Artist/Proprietor
2016 Ira Sachs, American Filmmaker

Memphis College of Art does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, age, veteran status, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or other status protected by law. Additional Information