MARCH 17, 2020 — Pianist Martin Camacho, dean of the Lamar D. Fain College of Fine Arts at Midwestern State University, has been named dean of UTSA’s College of Liberal and Fine Arts and the Stumberg Distinguished University Chair. He begins his duties May 18.
As dean of Fain College, Camacho positioned the arts as a leading driver for fundraising efforts at the university and obtained some of the largest private gifts in the college’s history, including an endowed professorship in the arts and a gift to replace all pianos at MSU, located in Wichita Falls. He oversaw the successful approval and construction of a state-of-the-art mass communications building; renovations for music, art and theater facilities; and facilities upgrades to meet ADA standards.
Under his leadership the visibility and presence of the college in the community grew, allowing for several community-based endeavors, ranging from partnerships for after-school music programs to art community projects. He cofounded, with faculty support, the first Social Justice Festival at MSU Texas, now a weeklong universitywide event. Camacho promoted interdisciplinary projects and programs with business, marketing, media arts and digital arts, among others. During his tenure the college saw the highest enrollment and retention rates in more than a decade as well as an increase in the number and amount of student scholarships.
At MSU and prior institutions he was instrumental in revising and modernizing music curricula, introducing technology-based instruction and increasing online offerings.
“Dr. Camacho has shown he is an effective academic leader in addition to being an accomplished creative performer,” said Kimberly Andrews Espy, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “At Midwestern he was successful in building connections from the college to the community—through creative performance, fundraising, curricular redesign, and K-12 and community outreach. He brings a strong vision to lead the college and will be a passionate champion for the liberal and fine arts at UTSA and in the San Antonio community.”
Prior to joining Midwestern Camacho served as Department of Music chair at historically black Alabama State University, overseeing one of the largest music programs among HBCUs. At Alabama State he supported the expansion of music ensembles and the marching band, and he increased student scholarship allocations. At both Midwestern and Alabama State he created preparatory piano programs for schoolchildren.
From 2010 to 2011 he served as dean of arts, humanities and social sciences at the Community College of Rhode Island, the largest community college in New England. Camacho led CCRI to its first accreditation of the music program by the National Association of Schools of Music and led an initiative to raise the recognition and compensation of adjunct faculty.
He began his teaching career at the Escuela Superior de Musica in Mexico City, where he also earned a piano certificate. Camacho later held teaching positions at the University of Miami before joining Barry University in Miami Shores, Fla., where he served as assistant to the chair and then assistant chair of the Department of Fine Arts.
“I have been very impressed with the trajectory of UTSA in the last decade—especially now under the leadership of President Eighmy and Provost Espy—and particularly impressed with the quality of the teaching and research in the College of Liberal and Fine Arts,” said Camacho. “In our context of the rich history and culture of San Antonio, I am excited to seize our prime opportunity to reenvision our mission with the refinement of COLFA’s focus and to strengthen the common threads that connect the liberal arts, humanities and fine arts and anchor those to our communities. It’s an exciting moment for the college to innovate, and I am very much looking forward to working with our students, faculty and community toward our shared goals.”
Camacho studied piano performance at the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana, where he earned a bachelor of music degree. At the Cleveland Institute of Music he studied under acclaimed Armenia-born pianist Sergei Babayan, earning both a master of music degree and a professional studies diploma. He earned a doctor of musical arts degree at the University of Miami’s School of Music, where he studied under the late American classical pianist Ivan Davis. He holds an M.B.A. from Barry University.
Camacho has performed extensively as a recitalist and soloist with orchestras in the United States, Canada, Venezuela, Cuba, Japan, Norway, Italy, Croatia, Serbia and Mexico. In 2009 he made his Carnegie Hall debut recital before a sold-out hall. Recent engagements include several recitals in the United States and Mexico and appearances with symphony orchestras in Cuba. In 2017 he released the critically acclaimed Armengol, a CD with the 22 Cuban dances of Mario Ruiz Armengol under Urtext Digital Classics label.
The College of Liberal and Fine Arts is UTSA’s most academically diverse college, with nine departments encompassing the fine arts, humanities and social sciences. With more than 4,400 students, it is UTSA’s oldest college. COLFA shapes the education of virtually every UTSA student through its highly ranked core curriculum. The college offers 33 degree programs, including doctorates in anthropology and English; a nationally recognized M.F.A. and one of the nation’s largest undergraduate programs in medical humanities. Its faculty includes exemplary, award-winning teachers and internationally recognized researchers and artists. COLFA is also a major provider of arts and humanities programming in Texas, reaching an audience of more than 70,000 guests annually.
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