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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

Celebrating 106 years

Former Sandston resident Mildred Taylor celebrated her 106th birthday Aug. 9. Taylor, who now lives in Powhatan, is still a member of Sandston Baptist Church. She was visited the day after her birthday by several members of the church, who played for her a recording of the entire church membership singing happy birthday to her during worship. > Read more.

YMCA breaks ground for aquatic center

YMCA officials gathered last week to break ground on the new Tommy J. West Aquatic Center at the Shady Grove Family YMCA on Nuckols Road. The center, which will featured 7,600 square feet of competitive and recreational space, including water slides, play areas for children and warmer water for those with physical limitations, is the fourth phase of a $4 million expansion at the facility. West was president and CEO of Capital Interior Contractors and a founding member of the Central Virginia Region of the Virginia Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors. > Read more.

Rotary donates to ‘Bright Beginnings’

The Sandston Rotary Club recently donated $1,000 to the Sandston YMCA for its Bright Beginnings program, which helps provide children in need with school supplies for the new school year. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


Enjoy the final days of summer with comedian Guy Torry, the Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour or mystery writer Mary Miley Theobald at Twin Hickory Library. Another great way to welcome the beginning of fall is to check out the UR Spider Football season opener with man’s best friend. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

Bottoms up

Short Pump brewery offers more than just beer
I am still (happily) thinking about my entire experience at Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery last week. Knowing nothing about this new brewery out of Denver, I was leery of brew-pub in the heart of Short Pump Town Center – this is not what I’d usually think of as a perfect fit, and yet, it was.

The restaurant and craft brewery opened in early June and features 10 beers made by female brewmaster Becky Hammond (pictured). This is the restaurant’s second location in Virginia; the first is in Arlington. Behind glass walls, customers watched the beer brewing in massive steel barrels. For our up-and-coming beer region, it makes sense that Short Pump would jump on board.

As I walked up to the back of the mall near the comedy club, I was taken aback by what I saw: at the top of the stairs was an overflowing restaurant with outdoor seating, large umbrellas and dangling outdoor lights. > Read more.

Cultural Arts Center announces 2014 fall class schedule

The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen is now registering participants for its fall 2014 schedule of classes.

The center will offer more than 100 classes for children and adults, covering topicssuch as culinary arts, fiber arts, visual and performance arts and more. Instruction is structured to appeal to a wide range of abilities, from beginners to experts of all ages. Class sizes are kept small to ensure maximum benefit for participants with generally no more than 15 students. > Read more.

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