The children of a notable former Virginia Tech professor are honoring their parent’s unyielding dedication to the arts at Virginia Tech in an inspiring way.

Professor Emeritus and celebrated artist Dean Carter (1922-2013) helped establish the art department at Virginia Tech in 1950 and served as its head for 10 years, teaching sculpture, drawing, and art history from 1950-92. His wife Rosina, 95 and still living in Blacksburg, supported the university’s arts initiatives in various capacities over the years.

In 1992, the couple established the Dean and Rosina Carter Scholarship, which is given to outstanding visual arts students in their junior year at Virginia Tech. Dean said he benefited during his career from others' generosity and wanted to give talented undergraduates similar opportunities.

After Dean passed away in 2013, Rosina carried on their commitment to the arts, regularly attending events at the Moss Arts Center, where she particularly enjoyed classical music and dance performances.

Dean and Rosina’s five children share their parents’ appreciation for the arts. Their son, Clem Carter, an attorney who splits his time between Richmond and Blacksburg, is a member of the Moss Arts Partners. This group of ambassadors and advocates helps advance and guide the mission of the Moss Arts Center, which includes fostering the center’s development goals and strategies and expanding community awareness of the center’s programs and impact through philanthropy, strategic partnerships, and outreach.

It was through his service with the group that he discovered a unique way to celebrate his parents’ tireless work to advance the arts at the university and beyond — naming a seat in the Moss Arts Center’s Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre in the couple’s honor. Clem shared the idea with his siblings — Frances Carter Stephens; Katharine Kerrane; Tom Carter ’81, M.S. ’83; and Mary Farrell — who wholeheartedly agreed.

“We saw this as the perfect opportunity to honor mom and dad for their long commitment to the arts at Virginia Tech,” Clem said.

Dean Carter, wearing a white shirt and tie, laughs as he puts his hand on a student's shoulder.
Dean Carter shares a happy moment with a student. This photo was featured in the summer 1969 edition of the Virginia Tech publication Context as part of a story about Dean Carter.

The Moss is giving individuals and businesses an opportunity to become part of the university’s history by naming a theatre seat — to honor friends and family, celebrate a graduate, memorialize a loved one, or show support for the university and its commitment to the arts. While this opportunity was originally only available when the Moss Arts Center first opened its doors in 2013, the center is offering named seats again until Dec. 31 in conjunction with Virginia Tech’s Sesquicentennial celebration.

“This gift from Clem and his siblings means so much to the center, and to me personally,” said Ruth Waalkes, Virginia Tech’s associate provost for the arts and executive director of the Moss Arts Center. “Dean and Rosina Carter have been important to the arts here at Virginia Tech for more than 70 years and were among the first arts VIPs here that I met when I moved to Blacksburg. I have been inspired by all those in the community who want to celebrate family and friends in this way. Naming a seat not only commemorates the ones we love, but also provides funds that will increase the impact of the center’s programming year-round.”

 "The Moss serves a very important role,” Clem said. “Exposure to the visual and performing arts develops an appreciation for the arts, and appreciation for the arts certainly makes people more well rounded, more inclusive, and more understanding.”

More information about seat naming opportunities are available on the Moss Arts Center website.

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