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UR names new dean of Arts and Sciences

Kathleen Roberts Skerrett
Kathleen Roberts Skerrett, associate dean and professor of religious studies at Grinnell College, has been appointed dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at University of Richmond, effective July 1.

Skerrett has been a member of Grinnell’s faculty since 1998 and became associate dean in 2007. She previously taught at McGill University in Montreal, after earning her Ph.D. in theology and the modern West from Harvard University in 1993.

She succeeds Andrew F. Newcomb, who is stepping down to resume teaching psychology after 10 years as Arts and Sciences dean.

“We were extraordinarily fortunate to attract a recognized scholar with substantial administrative experience from one of the best liberal arts colleges in the country as our next dean,” said Stephen Allred, Richmond’s provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Dr. Skerrett generated excitement and gained widespread support from our faculty and staff during the interview process.”

A native of Toronto, Skerrett said she was attracted to Richmond by its leadership, faculty and students.

“The faculty members are innovative and willing to take responsible risks. The students I met were doing exceptional academic programs integrated with service and learning opportunities in the community and abroad. The leadership team and faculty are inspiring. They have vision and heart and the daring to pursue ambitious ideals,” she said.

“I think Richmond is going to be the model for liberal arts education that is responsive to diverse communities in the 21st century,” Skerrett predicted. “The faculty and leadership team have embraced a mandate to create a learning environment unlike any other. They are forging unique undergraduate opportunities through strong interconnections of the School of Arts and Sciences with the schools of aw, business, leadership and continuing studies.”

Skerrett entered Mount Allison University, a premier Canadian undergraduate university, at age 16. After earning her bachelor’s degree, she earned a law degree at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and passed the bar in Toronto. She returned to graduate school at Harvard to pursue the interdisciplinary studies that continue to motivate her work.

Skerrett’s scholarly research has focused on Christian tradition, contemporary religious thought and gender studies, and political theory. She has published more than a dozen scholarly articles and 30 conference papers on related topics. Skerrett is a frequently invited lecturer at institutions and organizations including the University of Chicago, New York University, King’s College (Halifax, N.S.) and Atlantic School of Theology (Halifax, N.S.), among many others.

Her awards include a Faith and Life Sabbatical Award from the Louisville Institute, an appointment as a visiting fellow at NYU’s Center for Religion and the Media, and a Royal Bank Teaching Innovation Award. She was appointed by her Grinnell College colleagues as an Interdisciplinary Studies Fellow to further collaborative teaching and learning there.

At Grinnell, her extensive service includes an appointment as acting vice president for diversity and achievement, chair of the gender and women’s studies concentration, and membership on the budget, personnel, academic standing and first year seminar and advising committees. Skerrett actively fostered the Grinnell Liberal Arts in Prison Program, now a member of the Consortium for Liberal Arts in Prison at Bard College. At McGill, Skerrett served as a faculty director of a first year residence and chair of the University Task Force on First Year Experience.
Community

Lions Club donates backpacks to elementary school

The Richmond West Breakfast Lions Club (based in western Henrico) recently donated 59 backpacks to the Westover Hills Elementary School on Jahnke Road.

Above, club members display some of the backpacks prior to their distribution. > Read more.

Glen Allen student to perform at Carnegie Hall

Thanks to a first-place win in The American Protege International Vocal Competition 2014, Glen Allen High School student Matija Tomas will travel to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall in December.

At the first-place winners recital in Weill Hall, Matija will perform Giacomo Puccini’s opera aria, “Chi il bel sogna di doretta.” She will perform with other vocalists from around the world and have the opportunity to win other awards and scholarships.

Locally, Thomas has performed with Richmond’s renowned Glorious Christmas Nights, Christian Youth Theatre, and WEAG’s Urban Gospel Youth Choir. > Read more.

Gayton Baptist Church dedicates new outreach center


The John Rolfe YMCA and Gayton Baptist Church have partnered in an effort to bring greater health and wellness opportunities to the community.

Through this partnership, the John Rolfe Y will run Youth Winter Sports programs, including basketball and indoor soccer, in Gayton’s newly renovated $5.5 million outreach center that features a new gymnasium, youth and teen space, social space with café, meeting space and full service commercial kitchen. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Film industry training program planned for this weekend

The Community College Workforce Alliance (CCWA), in partnership with the Virginia Film Office, will offer "Get Your Start in the Film Industry," a two-day seminar designed to prepare workers for film, television and commercial projects in Virginia. The course will be held Oct. 4-5 at the Workforce Development and Conference Center, 1651 Parham Road in Henrico, on the campus of J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College.

The training will be taught by Gary Romolo Fiorelli, an accomplished assistant director for film and television projects, which include the television series Sons of Anarchy and ABC’s current drama Mistresses. > Read more.

The Boathouse to open at Short Pump Town Center

The Boathouse restaurant will open at Short Pump Town Center in the spring, its third location in the region.

“People have asked us to come to the West End for years,” said owner Kevin Healy. “When the opportunity arose, we knew had to jump on it.”

The new restaurant will be located in a 5,800-square-foot space under the Hyatt House Hotel at the town center and will include a large outdoor patio. > Read more.

Getting a ‘mouf’-ful

Boka Kantina exceeds its strong food truck reputation
Already a fan of Boka fare from outdoor events with the Tako Truck, I was delighted to learn of the new restaurant, and eager to see if its reputation held up after putting down brick-and-mortar roots.

Would the food lose its zest if I wasn’t enjoying it in the great outdoors? Would it seem pedestrian served from an ordinary kitchen instead of a truck?

Would the tacos be less satisfying as an antidote to normal lunch hunger – instead of being ingested to stave off desperate hunger after a long afternoon of crowds, sun, and tedious lines? > Read more.

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The 10th annual African Film Weekend will be held Oct. 3-4 at the University of Richmond. This event screens new and original African films each fall giving faculty, staff, students… Full text

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