AUSTIN, Texas–Dr. Larry Faulkner, president of The University of Texas at Austin, will preside at the dedication of the E. William Doty Fine Arts Building at 11 a.m. Saturday (Oct. 17). The ceremony will be in the lobby of the Bass Concert Hall, which is adjacent to the Doty building.
Earlier this year, The University of Texas System Board of Regents voted to name the College of Fine Arts’ administration building in honor of Doty, the founding dean of the college, who led its development for 35 years, from 1938 through 1972.
The program will include remarks by Chancellor William H. Cunningham and representatives of the board of regents, as well as by Faulkner and Bryce Jordan, former president ad interim of UT Austin and former chair of the department (now School) of Music.
Elinor Doty, the wife of the late dean, and several members of the Doty family also plan to attend the event, which is open to the public.
E. William Doty was selected to be the first dean of the College of Fine Arts upon its establishment by the Texas Legislature in 1938. Thirty-eight years old at the time of his arrival in Austin, Doty was virtually a one-man operation as he tackled the initial arrangements from facilities and student admissions to the hiring of faculty. The outstanding artists and educators whom Doty brought to the faculty from the earliest years, including B. Iden Payne, Loren Mozley, Dalies Frantz, Ward Lockwood, Charles Umlauf and many others, led the young college in rapidly establishing a reputation for academic excellence.
Doty oversaw the development of curriculum and programs for each of the academic units–music, drama (now theatre & dance) and art and art history. Much of this new arts curriculum became a model for universities and schools throughout the state and region.
Seeing the need and the potential of key auxiliary projects such as a university art gallery, Doty initiated the facility which later became the Huntington Art Gallery and now is the Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art. For many of the 35 years of his deanship, he also served as chair of the department of music, where he established performance ensembles. He also established an opera program which contributed to the eventual creation of the University’s Performing Arts Center.
Active in educational leadership throughout his career, Doty served in such roles as president of the Texas Music Educators Association while continuing to be a performing concert musician, offering organ recitals at many American universities. As dean, he was legendary for his individual attention to students, from recruiting outstanding young artists to pursue career preparation at The University, to nurturing all aspects of their education and training. One alumna of the keyboard program recalls Doty calling her in after reading about her playing on the school softball team. He reminded her that a pianist depends on her hands and she needed to choose between softball and piano. When Dean Doty died in 1994, the college received numerous letters of tribute, many of them gratefully recalling Doty’s personal and caring leadership.
Former Dean David Deming, in supporting the new building name, said, “As much as one individual can shape such an institution, truly Bill Doty shaped the College of Fine Arts. The stamp he chose to imprint on the college was that of a single standard–excellence.”
The approximately 90,000 square-foot building which now bears Doty’s name was opened in 1979 as part of a new complex housing the fine and performing arts. He spoke at the dedication of those facilities in 1981. The Doty Fine Arts Building houses the administrative offices of the College of Fine Arts, the Fine Arts Library, the Visual Resources Collection and the Art History faculty offices.
The College of Fine Arts Advisory Council, honoring Doty a few years ago, said in a resolution of appreciation, “Generations of University music and arts students and faculty remember Dean Doty as a caring teacher, a wise mentor, and a loyal friend. Citizens and arts patrons remember the countless contributions of this man in shaping and enriching the cultural life of the city of Austin and the State of Texas.”
The dedication of the E. William Doty Building is the highlight of a year-long celebration of the 60th anniversary of the College of Fine Arts.