Dedicated Fine Arts Professors to Retire

Saif Sarfani, Campus Carrier Staff Reporter

In fall 2014, associate professor of art Jere Lykins retired from teaching, and at the end of this semester, senior lecturer in music and director of choral activities Harry Musselwhite will also be retiring.  Each professor has had an impact on their students during their time at Berry.

Having begun his Berry career 43 years ago, Lykins has served as an associate professor in art and the director of the Moon Gallery where he has held numerous exhibitions of artwork.

                                               Photo contributed by Jere Lykins
Jere Lykins, Associate Professor in Art 

Students said they continue to appreciate their experiences with Lykins both in the classroom and in the ceramics room.

“He opened me up to the world of art, the abstractness, and the way to be unique, and express my feelings through the clay,” senior Nick Pilger said. “He really got me interested on a hobby that I still enjoy today… I remember our first day in class and he threw a bowl blindfolded and I was pretty impressed.”   

Lykins inspired sophomore Anna Ratliff to take art and ceramics classes.

“I only had him for (ceramics for) two weeks before he had to leave,” Ratliff said. “He made such an impression in those two weeks.”

Senior Jon Risley said he began doing ceramics his junior year.

“Watching him throw clay made me want to acquire the same skills and so began my two years of spending most of my free time in the ceramic studio,” Risley said.

Lykins is proud of students who “continue to make art and be successful at it.”

“A number of my students have gone to graduate school and gotten their Masters of Fine Arts degree,” Lykins said. “I did a lot of things, (have) worn many hats, taught a lot of things in the department.”

Equally admired and appreciated for his work, Musselwhite has taught and directed many students.

                                                                                    Photo contributed by Cabin Log
Harry Musselwhite, Lecturer of Music and Director of Choral Activities

A graduate of Indiana University and the University of Georgia, Musselwhite is in constant demand as a choral clinician and adjudicator.

During Musselwhite’s time at Berry, choral groups like the Berry Concert Choir, the Berry Singers and the Berry Chamber Choir have performed across the United States and Europe.

His vocal students have graduated and performed on multiple stages, and have been accepted to some of the nation’s finest graduate vocal programs.

Senior Sydney Perry said Musselwhite has a “way of cultivating and nurturing a curiosity for music and turning it into a more diverse and developed passion.”

Perry said he taught her to “rediscover the joy in making music” and has helped her better understand the connection between the message and emotion in musical texts, and how to better communicate with those who listen.

“He teaches life, mostly through music, but also through his personal stories that he often was ready and willing to share,” Perry said. “I will miss his life lessons, humor, and kindness. I have never met someone who loved Berry College as much as Mr. Musselwhite.”

Musselwhite’s student assistant junior Harper Curry said that “he’s a very charismatic teacher in every setting.”

“Taking weekly voice lessons with Mr. Musselwhite has changed my singing dramatically, but for the better,” Curry said. “He teaches about proper vocal techniques. He introduces me to countless singers, arias, operas and so much more. Lessons with Mr. Musselwhite are unforgettable, challenging, exciting and transformative.”

Curry said Musselwhite encourages her to do her best and use her vocal lessons in ensemble singing.

“My time singing for Mr. Musselwhite and being his student assistant has been a highlight of my Berry College career,” Curry said. “I’m very sad to see him go.” 

Musselwhite said his experience as a music teacher and director has been extraordinary.

“I think I have been a representative of a person who possesses a driven passion for what I do and the art I present,” Musselwhite said. “My students have always commented on my passion and I hope that they will bring that same passion as they travel through life.”

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