Remembering Anedith Nash
The CCAD community was saddened to hear the news late last week of the passing of former Provost Anedith Nash, who played an instrumental role at Columbus College of Art & Design, modernizing the college curriculum and creating support systems for students.
A native of Waco, Texas, Nash received her undergraduate education at Baylor University, where she studied History and Teacher Education, and went on to earn a master’s degree in Political Science from Washington State University and a PhD in American Studies at the University of Minnesota. With Jeffrey E. Nash, in 1981, Nash cowrote the book Deafness in Society; the following year, the Nashes wrote Typing on the Phone: How the Deaf Accomplish TTY Conversations. Anedith Nash worked for a decade as an Associate Dean and Professor at the Minneapolis School of Art and Design and for two years at the Oregon College of Art and Craft before joining CCAD as Provost in April 2000. She held that position as CCAD Provost for more than 11 years, before retiring in 2011, at age 67. “I am inspired by the splendid amount of growth, refinement, and improvement she has overseen,” at CCAD, then-President Denny Griffith said to the Dispatch.
Nash is credited with shaping CCAD’s Student Affairs department as we know it today, in modernizing the college’s curriculum, including bringing Animation and Film & Video into existence as their own majors and hiring many of the faculty members who have since grown into senior leaders at CCAD. After leaving CCAD, Nash returned to greater Minneapolis, where she worked as a consultant in higher education and served for two years as Interim Chair of Liberal Arts at MCAD. Read her obituary here.
Below, Provost Julie Taggart and other CCAD community members share memories of Nash and her indelible influence on the college.
Anedith Nash, reflections
July 27, 2020
Less than a year ago I moved into a new office and took on a new role at CCAD. That role and that office was once held by my one-time mentor, Dr. Anedith Nash. I learned this weekend that she passed away. Her impact on the college and me has been flooding back to me in the days since.
Anedith came to CCAD in 2000 and worked with President Denny Griffth until retiring in 2011. She led us through two 10-year accreditation visits and made countless improvements throughout the college. She worked with Ric Petry to launch CCAD’s first graduate program.
She converted Dean’s Council to Academic Council, allowing for greater representation of disciplines and new views to be expressed about the college's direction. She initiated an annual Academic Council retreat called Many Voices.
Anedith nurtured the Student Affairs operation, supporting its substantial growth under Dwayne Todd. She was responsible for hiring Jim Voorhis and Michael Goodson as gallery directors, both of whom advanced CCAD’s role in the arts community locally, regionally, and nationally.
Her work was especially impactful for faculty. Anedith was responsible for establishing sabbaticals and formalizing the faculty search and promotion processes. She empowered Faculty Council to broaden its influence.
These were just a few of the accomplishments that Anedith shepherded, and they don’t measure up to her greatest impact, which was building morale. She celebrated achievements of others, not her own. She cheered you on and made sure that you knew she was proud. She supported good ideas and helped to advance them. She made us feel confident and hopeful.
Anedith was especially supportive of the emerging women leaders at CCAD. When Lowell Tolstedt retired, she asked me to be Dean of Fine Arts, and by doing so, gave a woman, and a young woman at that, a chance at a position previously occupied only by men. Several other women at CCAD, who are now chairs of their respective departments, also struck up close relationships with her. During her time at CCAD a collaborative, encouraging, and interconnected group of creative colleagues flourished.
When Anedith announced her retirement, I remember telling a younger coworker and friend how I would miss her. I said that when I achieved anything as an academic or an artist, I always thought to tell Anedith first. That friend said, “that is how I feel about you, Julie.” I couldn’t have felt more proud of the comparison.
This week, when I return to the office—which was her office—I will reflect on Anedith Nash’s impact on CCAD. I am still at the start of my journey as the college’s Provost. I hope to emulate the woman that I admired for instilling trust, respect and building authentic relationships while getting things done.
Additional reflections on Anedith Nash
Professor Duncan Snyder: Anedith was the first Provost I worked with as a very green Faculty Council president. Since I spent my formative years at CCAD under the watchful eye of President Canzani, I was filled with trepidation for our first meeting. She greeted me at the door of her office with a warm hello and a genuine smile and proceeded to map out her thoughts on what made a good faculty assembly and how she wanted to encourage everyone to be the best faculty member they could be. I was immediately put at ease in that moment and for the rest of the time I had the pleasure of working under her thoughtful leadership. She did countless things for so many of the CCAD family, mentoring, consoling, encouraging, and exemplifying collegiality.
Her character, humor, and gentle style made it easy to want to do more, do better, and make CCAD a haven for artists and designers driven by ardor not rhetoric. She and Denny were an undeniable force and together they built a college that felt like a family. As I come to work every day, I see her legacy not only in the policies and programs she created, but in the people she touched. Those people are still making CCAD a better place, and in turn, Anedith is, as long as we honor her memory with what she taught us.
Director of CCAD Safety & Security Wallace Tanksley: Anedith was very passionate about higher ed, and she loved CCAD! She always was supportive of my mission of CCAD’s Safety & Security department. We talked a lot over the years, and I will miss her wisdom, friendship, and support. May she rest in God’s Kingdom forever!
Vice President for Institutional Engagement Chris Mundell: She was so kind to me and was an early advocate for my leadership at CCAD.
Professor and Chair of Animation Charlotte Belland: I will miss Provost Anedith Nash. I was fortunate to meet Anedith during my hiring interview for CCAD. And I was even more fortunate to work for Anedith on projects like the initial conversations about a standalone Animation major and the launch of the MFA: New Projects program. Anedith taught me that a strong leader can lead quietly. That even if the topic was loud, we could respond peacefully. This made a huge impact on me because this also applies to the classroom.
Before I interacted with Anedith, my classrooms only made space for the loudest voices. Anedith's mentoring paved the way for me to become a better listener and supporter of all the voices in my classroom. I will forever be grateful for Anedith's role in my development as an educator.
Fine Arts Professor Danielle Julian Norton: Anedith was an exceptional woman who practiced great leadership, creating an efficient and easygoing workspace for the CCAD community. Anedith was extremely intelligent, humble, and easy to talk to. She cared about people and it showed through her daily interactions. I will always remember Anedith and continue to be inspired by knowing her.
Associate Professor Matthew Mohr: Anedith was the proverbial earth mother who welcomed me warmly and set a tone of hard work, community, and respect for teaching at CCAD. I'm fairly certain I was the last person she hired before retiring. After going through the interviews on campus, I remember sitting in the stairwell at my last job in Manhattan, trying to hide from co-workers and negotiating privately with Anedith about the faculty position. She was firm and resolute in her objectives and clearly, deeply loved the school. She engaged me with the sense of community, the mission, and uniqueness of the opportunity. For such a major life change, I can't imagine a better guide.
We enjoyed our conversations so much, we stayed in touch for a while after she retired. I wish our time at CCAD had overlapped more.
Through all of the unrest over years past, the ideals and values of Anedith and Denny lingered like a thread to tug on when things got uncertain. Like Denny, Anedith is still on campus. I can still see her in the architecture and feel her warmth and sense of purpose in the way we do things.
Professor and MFA Chair Kelly Malec-Kosak: I loved Anedith. She was fair, generous, tough, and kind all at the same time. Anedith was incredibly supportive of women at the college, working to solve salary inequities and encouraging us to take leadership positions. I will always be grateful for her example and guidance.
Anedith was also personable and funny. I used to bring my kids when they were little to school. Once, I was hanging my work in Acock (now Beeler) Gallery and plopped my oldest on a blanket with a hammer. Anedith walked in, laughed and said: “Mother of the Year.”
Film & Video Professor Emeritus Ron Saks: Anedith was an absolutely amazing person. She perfectly balanced the gravity of her position as Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, and the working relationships that entailed, with being a caring, responsive, and empathetic human being. Despite rejecting my first three requests to allow me to make Animation a major at CCAD—she didn't believe that a major was a necessity since curriculum and enrollment growth were both very strong—Anedith was quite simply the best boss I ever had. (And years later, when I had finally begun to accept Anedith's notion that an Animation major wasn't a necessity, she completely surprised me by asking me to put together a NASAD packet submitting our plans to offer an Animation major. Needless to say, I was happy to undertake the assignment.)
After her arrival at CCAD and in the short time that it took for me to win her trust, I always felt like I worked with her, rather than for her. She enthusiastically supported all of the work that I was doing to build the animation curriculum—and doing it in a way that encouraged multi-discipline collaboration. Our relationship strengthened when she asked me to serve as the Acting Dean of Media Studies while Ric Petry was on sabbatical. She encouraged her people to advocate for their programs. She was very good at listening and, appropriately, would only support requests that were well reasoned and equally well justified. While I was serving as the Acting Dean, she approved my request for roughly a 30% increase in the Capital Budget for the Media Studies Division for the following year.
When Ric Petry was made director of the new Master's degree program at CCAD, Anedith appointed me Dean of Media Studies. She approved my request to bring in on-boarding facilitators at the beginning of my tenure. I was doing this in order to develop a consensus among my faculty for a vision and plan to build the division and increase its stature both internally and externally, and with connections across the entire CCAD curriculum. She twice visited the retreat I organized for the Media Studies faculty. She was so impressed with the event and the written summary and action plan follow-up I presented to her that she borrowed one of my external facilitators for use in a similar campus-wide faculty event. She continued this for a number of years.
The appreciation she exhibited when I visited her in the hospital during her hip replacement surgery was tangible. Those couple of visits also provided me with an introduction to her partner Rob Silberman. Rob was someone who would later provide me with responses to emails and texts which I sent to Anedith after her retirement from CCAD, whenever she was not able to respond on her own. It was with a heavy heart that I received Rob's email letting me know of her passing late When Anedith retired from CCAD she left a void which was never filled during my remaining time as a teacher and administrator. Now she's left an even greater void. It was a pleasure and honor to know and work with her for many years.
Top: Portrait of Anedith Nash. Artist unknown.
Left: Stew McKissick, Bill Van de Velde, Anedith Nash, and Jeff Link. Sept. 7, 2000. Photo by CCAD Archives.
Mid-left: Anedith Nash (far right) with MFA students in 2011, before her retirement. Photo by CCAD MFA.
Bottom: Anedith Nash (center) with, from left, Jim Lutz, Michael Mohr, CF Payne, and Stew McKissick. Photo courtesy Charlotte Belland.