Dianne began teaching at ODU in 1974. She has built the Metal Smith and Fiber department from a one room art education elective to a full BFA concentration. The department now provides two separate programs/disciplines in Crafts: Fibers and Crafts: Metal Smithing/ Jewelry Design. Dianne was also a part of the group of professors that changed the Art Ed degree from a BS in Education to BA in Art Education. This was a big deal. The result was that the art department now controlled the Art Education program. Dianne has never served as Chair but she was the Graduate Program Director twice and was the Art Education Program Director for 20 years (1974-1995).
Some of Dianne contemporaries when she first started at ODU include Ken Daley, Carol Hines, Bill Wagner, Ron Snapp, and Charles Sibley (founder of the department). At the time Charles and Dianne taught Art Ed in the same classroom. She remembers Charles as “a wonderful guy who had a raunchy sense of humor. He really liked to shock people. He would do it to me, I didn’t know how to respond at first but then I just joked back with him”… “When Charles retired he was really upset because Art Majors weren’t getting their fair share of the scholarship monies. He said that if you want it you have to raise it yourself. So he gifted the Art Department with 25,000 dollars of seed money. The interest that the money raises is given to the students each year. Charles deliberately did not give the money to the general fund because that is where the money so frequently gets sucked into other programs. The principal on the money has grown and the professors still contribute each year, I give at least 100 dollars each year.” She mentions that graduates that want to contribute to the Art Department can contribute to the Sibley fund. To do so you send your contribution directly to the Art Department office (attn: Robin) and label your check “Sibley Fund”. You can also contribute directly to a particular discipline; you just need to label your contribution to the Jewelry Program, or the Sculpture Program. “Periodically they call me and ask if I want to donate my contribution to the general fund, I say not only no but hell no.”
Dianne remembered her predecessor being a woman by the name of Sue Seel. Dianne filled her position after she was killed in the summer of 1974 in front of the Norfolk Scope. A car ran a red light and killed her. “When I got here there was nothing, no files, no student histories, nothing. I started with a blank slate.” “I had met Sue once at the University of Georgia. She was on sabbatical and I was finishing my MFA. She was a year ahead of me. I didn’t know she taught at ODU. She was a photographer and was getting her PhD in Art Education. When she died she had just gotten her PhD. Her family had come to the school, and quietly got her things. When I arrived there was nothing left of her things.”
Dianne is a matriarch in the Art Education program. She currently teaches Color Theory, Two Dimensional Art, Crafts: Fibers, and Crafts: Metal Smithing and Jewelry making. She is well known for her storytelling and we thank you Dianne for all of your dedication and skills that you share with us in the Art Department.