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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

Varina Ruritans honor students

The Varina Ruritan Club hosted the winners of its 2014 Environmental Essay contest at its monthly meeting March 11 in Varina.

The contest, in its eighth year, was for the first time open to students in grades 3-5 at Varina Elementary School. (It previously was open to Sandston Elementary School students.)

The meeting included the winners, parents of the winners, Varina Elementary principal Mark Tyler and several teachers who were in charge of the contest at the school. > Read more.

Baseball game to benefit Glen Allen Buddy Ball


For the fifth consecutive year, St. Christopher’s and Benedictine will play a varsity baseball game at Glen Allen's RF&P Park as part of a fundraising effort for the River City Buddy Ball program.

The game will take place Saturday, April 12, at 7 p.m., and the teams hope to raise $3,000 through donations, raffles and other efforts. Admission to the game is free, but fans who attend are asked to donate funds for the Glen Allen Youth Athletic Association's Buddy Ball program, which enables disabled children and teens to play baseball. > Read more.

Highland Springs field to be dedicated in honor of longtime coach Spears

The Henrico Division of Recreation and Parks will dedicate the Highland Springs Little League Majors Field in memory and honor of Rev. Robert “Bob” L. Spears, Jr., on April 12 with a ceremony at the field at 8 a.m.

Spears served the league as a coach and volunteer for 30 years and was praised as a pioneer for equality. His “Finish strong” motto embodied ethical perseverance on the field and in life. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


Do the Bunny Hop over to Meadow Farm on Saturday for an introduction to all the farm animals there! An introduction to “Global Sounds” – featuring Japanese, Indonesian, West African, Indian, and Brazilian music and dance performances – can be found at the University of Richmond. The University of Richmond will also host the annual Spider spring game, as well as the inaugural Spiders Easter Egg Hunt. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

Restaurant watch

Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health. > Read more.

A fun, fuzzy ride

‘Muppets Most Wanted’ worthy of its franchise

Do Muppets sleep? It’s hard to say.

They don’t really eat (or breathe, as far as anyone can tell). And only occasionally do they have visible, functioning legs.

As far as anyone knows, sleeping might be off the table. And that makes it very hard to accuse the Muppets of sleepwalking through their latest feature, Muppets Most Wanted – even if that’s exactly what’s going on.

Jim Henson’s beloved creations were back in a big way after 2011’s The Muppets, with fame and fortune and even an Oscar, a first for the group (“Rainbow Connection” was nominated, yet somehow failed to collect at the ’79 ceremony). > Read more.

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