The news of the imminent departure of Virginia Commonwealth University Associate Dean Joe Seipel (“Renowned VCU Arts Dean Takes Job in Savannah,” Street Talk, Dec. 27) struck a chord with this reader.
As a relatively new addition to the roster of life models employed by the VCU School of the Arts, I've been impressed from the outset by the way in which we're included as an integral part of the educative process. Being a veteran of this business in other parts of the country, I've found VCU to be unique in this regard. At other facilities, models are sometimes treated respectfully by instructors (and almost universally so by students), but this ethic almost never extends beyond the classroom.
From the opening moments of the employment process, I felt a difference at VCU, a spirit of teamwork and mutual respect which yields a positive environment for all concerned. Hearing the tributes to Dean Seipel, coupled with his many years of service, it seems obvious that he's one of the architects of this incredible experience. As for the sculpture department, it does indeed compare favorably with any of the finest such programs anywhere in the country — I know; I've sampled many of them.
To Dean Seipel, congratulations on your new adventure at the Savannah College of Art. And on a personal note, thank you for the impression you've made on the VCU Department of Fine Arts. May the ethic you've brought to the department remain as your legacy to the school.
Kenneth C. Decker