The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) announced today that Ramón H. Rivera-Servera, an alumnus of the university, has been appointed Dean of the College of Fine Arts, a role he will assume on July 1. Rivera-Servera becomes the first Latino dean of UT’s College of Fine Arts since its founding in 1937, and succeeds Doug Dempster, whose tenure began in 2007.
Rivera-Servera’s role as Dean will have him oversee UT Austin’s Butler School of Music, the Department of Art and Art History, the Department of Theatre and Dance, and the School of Design and Creative Technologies, “as well as Performing Arts, the university’s arts presenting organization, and Landmarks, the university’s public art program.”
“Dean Rivera-Servera is a person of incredible drive, energy, charisma and intellect. His passion is infectious, and I’m excited to see him work with the College of Fine Arts to raise it to even greater heights,” says UT Austin President Jay Hartzell. “We had to compete with other universities to bring Ramón to UT, but like many of our alumni, he knows the Forty Acres is home, a place from which he can change the world.”
The San Juan, Puerto Rico native co-founded the Latinx Theatre and Performance Studies Focus Group at the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, as well as the Performance in the Borderlands Project at Arizona State University and the Puerto Rican Arts Initiative at Northwestern University. His work focuses on “creative ethnography, new work development in performance and other ephemeral art forms and Black and Latinx arts and cultures in North America and the Caribbean.”
“I am honored by the opportunity to return to my alma mater and lead the College of Fine Arts,” states Rivera-Servera. “My education at UT and my participation in Black, Latinx and LGBTQ art communities in the Central Texas region shaped my own vision for the relationship between art and society. It was in poetry readings organized by Joe Jímez and Sharon Bridgforth at Allgo, at exhibition openings at Mexic-Arte Museum, and in the seminar room of the Winship Building that this queer Latinx migrant, hailing from the longest held colonial territory in the Americas, found his call. I look forward to helping future art makers and art leaders chart their own pathways in the arts under the guidance of our world-class and dedicated faculty and staff.”
Rivera-Servera serves on the board of the National Association for Latino Arts and Culture, as well as the advisory board of digital film and media platform OTV. Rivera-Servera is also co-editor of the “Triangulations: Gay/Lesbian/Queer Theatre/Drama/Performance” list at the University of Michigan Press, and author of Performing Queer Latinidad: Dance, Sexuality, Politics (University of Michigan Press, 2012).