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Associate dean garners Papen Family Award for contributions to arts community

Greg Fant, associate dean for the College of Arts and Sciences, will be recognized by the Doņa Ana Arts Council (DAAC) for his service, commitment and leadership in the arts community in keeping with the mission of the DAAC.

Greg Fant, New Mexico State University associate dean at the College of Arts and Sciences will receive the Papen Family Award from the Doņa Ana Arts Council for his contributions to the arts community. (NMSU Photo by Darren Phillips)

The DAAC is a non-profit organization working to improve the quality of life in Las Cruces and Southern New Mexico by ensuring that performing, visual and literary arts are an integral part of education, economic growth and community development.

The Papen Family Award, originally called the Mesilla Valley Treasure Award and later The Julie Papen Arts Patron Award, was renamed in 1997 to honor the late Senator Frank Papen and the Papen family, whose dedicated leadership, involvement and support of the arts has so richly served and benefited the community.

Fant, a conductor and saxophonist, was NMSU's music department head from 1999 to 2007 during which he saw a need for more collaboration among the campus arts programs. Working alongside other department heads and community members, he assisted in the formation of a planning committee for the Center for the Arts project.

"What we will see once the Center for the Arts is complete is a broader 'front door' to campus. This is an opportunity to break down the invisible wall on University Avenue that sometimes divides the community and campus," Fant said.

The Center for the Arts is a multiphase project to bring all NMSU arts programs to the same area of campus and aid in linking the campus with the community.

"The quality of life in the Mesilla Valley is very appealing. The center will add to the current dynamic arts scene by providing a resource for Las Cruces and NMSU to grow hand-in-hand," he said.

Having served the university in a number of roles including director of the Pride of New Mexico marching band, music professor, music department head, interim-dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and now associate dean, Fant said he sees the bigger picture.

"Seeing this project from different perspectives has allowed me to see the different opportunities and understand what the Center for the Arts will mean for the broader community," he said.

Fant is preparing for a one-year sabbatical in July during which he will write some music to premiere next spring, compile articles on nationally known musical educators and examine musical pieces to be used by local schools in music education classes.