Dale Merrill has been appointed dean of Cal State Fullerton’s College of the Arts, effective July 1.
Currently serving as dean of Chapman University’s College of Performing Arts, Merrill was instrumental in forming the college and served as its first associate dean. He has been actively involved in the accreditation process for its programs in art, dance, music and theater during the eight years since the college’s formation. Under his leadership, the college created a screen acting B.F.A. and a collaborative degree program offered with the College of Film and Media Arts, among other courses and curricula.
“Mr. Merrill is a passionate leader, educator and arts administrator,” said José Luis Cruz, Cal State Fullerton’s provost and vice president for academic affairs. “His extensive experience and genuine enthusiasm will be a great boon to the College of the Arts as it continues to expand its reach and recognition as a destination of choice for talented students and as a cultural resource for the community.”
While at Chapman, the educator has been instrumental in securing sponsorship from Kawai Pianos to create the President’s Piano Series and a $2 million endowment to create the Henri Temianka Endowed Professorship and Scholarship in string studies. He established a fundraising guild for Opera Chapman, which raises $50,000 annually, and since 2005, has been the creative director and producer for American Celebration, Chapman’s annual fundraising event.
Before moving to Southern California, Merrill was the artistic director of Spectrum Dance Theater, a dance company and nonprofit community arts organization in Seattle. During his 22 years in the city, he received recognition and awards for his community leadership, including the Corporate Council for the Arts’ Unsung Hero Award in 2002 and a 2001 Rudy, a national award presented by Safeco Insurance Co., for community leadership and advocacy.
Merrill, who has more than 20 years of choreographic credits, earned a B.F.A. in ballet from the University of Utah and an M.F.A. in dance from the University of Washington. He has taught for Anaheim Ballet, Backhausdance, Cornish College of the Arts, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, UCI, the University of Montana and University of Washington, among other institutions.
Merrill’s appointment was recommended by a 10-member search committee chaired by Ann Camp, chief of staff for the Office of the President. Merrill succeeds Jim Taulli, professor of theatre and dance, who has been serving as acting dean since the August retirement of Joe Arnold, now emeritus dean of the College of the Arts.