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Managing Director Sherry Wagner-Henry Bids a Fond Farewell to the Department

After 15 years of dedicated service to the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance, Sherry Wagner-Henry, Managing Director for University Theatre and Dance and the Minnesota Centennial Showboat, has announced that she will be moving in to a new position within the University as the new Director of Graduate Programs in the College of Continuing Education.

A letter from Sherry:

Dear Colleagues, Alumni and Friends:

It has been my extreme pleasure and honor to have been a part of the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance at the University for almost 15 years now. I moved to Minneapolis straight out of graduate school in July of 1995 to take over the position of Managing Director for both U Theatre and Dance and the Showboat programs. And while serving as the Managing Director has been a true labor of love, my passion has always been in the educational development and training of the next generation of Arts leaders and managers. That's why I worked with so many of you on internship placements with local and regional companies, advised directed studies and Senior Seminar projects on arts management topics, and worked hard to keep Arts Management curriculum and work opportunities in the box office a part of the department.

Because of my commitment to the further development of Arts leadership and management opportunities, I have accepted the position as the new Director of Graduate Programs in the College of Continuing Education at the University of Minnesota. The position will allow me to help steward the interdisciplinary, inquiry-based Master of Liberal Studies program (which features an arts management emphasis), as well as to help launch the new Arts and Cultural Leadership program, which I helped to develop over the course of the last four years. In addition, I will be working with other units, colleges and the community to not only buoy and grow these programs, but create and launch new collaborative graduate programs, some currently under development and others not even sparked yet. It is a truly challenging and innovative opportunity and I am thrilled to become a part of this forward thinking at the University.

This transition is both exciting and emotional. Whenever you are part of something for this length of time, as I have been, it becomes more than just a job--it becomes an integral part of your life. I have made life-long friendships with faculty, staff and with alumni, whom I continue to remain in contact. I met and married my husband, the technical director in the department for almost 8 years, and we even held our wedding celebration on the Showboat! I have had the opportunity to work on and promote countless productions, projects, workshops, classes and students, many in collaboration with all of you! I owe an enormous debt to this University and this community for allowing me to serve in this capacity and for allowing me to learn so much while I was doing it. I have been truly blessed in this job, but realize that it is time to move on and take on the next big challenge that life has to offer: helping to educate and develop the next generation of Arts Leaders and Managers, who will lift up, steward, and celebrate the next generation of art-makers and producers.

My last official day in the Dept. of Theatre Arts and Dance will be Friday, October 23 and I will start my new position officially on Monday, November 2 over on the St. Paul Campus, which is where the College of Continuing Education is housed. I will operate on a consulting contract with the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance through January 31, in order to execute a smooth transition with current projects, before my replacement is hired and comes on board. My email will remain the same, but I will forward address and phone number information once it becomes available.

While this is certainly an amazing change for me, it is an exciting time for Theatre Arts and Dance as well, as this community contemplates its own set of new opportunities and directions. The Department is always changing, always growing, and being a part of that is something we all can have an impact upon. Take advantage of dept. meetings, town hall forums and volunteer opportunities--all of us are responsible for setting the course for the next 10 years of exciting developments within this department and at this University.

Fifteen years ago, I set out to find an arts management job in MPLS/ST PAUL, because in my estimation, when it came to the arts and education, there was no finer place in the world--my university colleagues, my community partners and my students have all proved that assumption to be overwhelmingly true. I would rather not think of this transition as good-bye, but perhaps as a new conversation that will open doors to unchartered opportunities between my new department and your future endeavors. So here's to a future full of possibilities!

Many kind regards,
Sherry Wagner-Henry
swh@umn.edu

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