Benjamin Juárez, dean of the BU College of Fine Arts, has announced that he will leave his current post when his five-year appointment concludes at the end of the 2014–2015 academic year. The University will begin the search for his replacement immediately.
“We are very grateful for Dean Juárez’s service as a leader in the College of Fine Arts,” says Jean Morrison, University provost. “Under his direction, CFA has made a number of important strides, both institutionally and pedagogically, to improve the quality of undergraduate education and the experience it provides. The college has also provided critical University-wide leadership through the BU Arts Initiative. We look forward to building on the many initiatives Dean Juárez has undertaken during his tenure.”
“I am very grateful for the opportunity to serve BU as dean of CFA, to be part of both a dynamic artistic and academic community and an extraordinary team of engaged and faithful dedicated staff,” Juárez wrote in a memo to CFA faculty and staff October 1. Being CFA dean “has been a unique privilege and I rest assured that the future is in good hands,” he added. Juárez came to BU in spring 2010 after stints as director of several large research and arts institutions in his native Mexico, including as general director of Centro Nacional de las Artes, Mexico’s national arts center.
Reflecting on his time at CFA, Juárez said the college’s greatest asset “is, no doubt, the students. They are amazing, curious, intelligent, complex individuals with a thirst for knowledge and experience as well as a genuine passion and interest in contributing to the fabric of this college, the University, and the world. They inspire me every day. And I think what brings them here is that BU College of Fine Arts is different, challenging, rich with opportunity.”
Juárez championed campus-wide arts initiatives and the development of arts programs on the BU Medical Campus, which he cites as one of his proudest contributions. “At first there were tempered expectations because of the coordination required and the busy environment, but it became apparent very quickly that patients, staff, students, visitors—everyone—was benefiting from the relationship,” he said. “The stories of human connection that continue to come out of this collaboration are incredible. I will never forget how these students provided comfort to victims, families, and staff following the Boston Marathon tragedy. It was therapy for everyone, and I will cherish that memory in my heart for the rest of my life.”
As dean, he also had a hand in creating centers for new music, early music, and Beethoven studies as well as hosting conferences and symposia devoted to examining the future of classical music and other topics. And Juárez made the term “citizen artist” part of the CFA vernacular. “This idea of a serious artist with intense academic interest and keen awareness of the world,” he said, “is part of the DNA of this University.”
“Dean Juárez has served with distinction since his appointment in 2010,” Morrison wrote in an October 2 email to BU faculty and staff. “Under his leadership, CFA’s stature has grown as a nationally regarded institution of artistic study, with the recruitment and retention of celebrated scholars and artists.” She cited the dean’s many initiatives, adding that “the result has been continual improvement in the undergraduate education and experience CFA provides, as well as the launch of exciting new minors and concentrations, and the freshening of curricula at the program level.”
Morrison will convene an advisory committee, with at least three CFA faculty members and two from other University schools, to assist in the search for Juárez’s replacement. After its search and review, the committee will submit the names of the qualified candidates and make one or more recommendations to the provost for final selection by University President Robert A. Brown and the Board of Trustees.