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Robert Ramirez Named New Head of Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama

Ramirez joined UT in 2014 as associate professor and head of acting. He later was named professor of acting and, in 2016, became head of the Performance Division.

Robert Ramirez Named New Head of Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama

Robert Ramirez has been named the new head of the Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama, effective August 1. Ramirez joins CMU from the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Texas at Austin (UT), where he served as professor and chair.

Ramirez joined UT in 2014 as associate professor and head of acting. He later was named professor of acting and, in 2016, became head of the Performance Division. He was named senior associate chair and Interim chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance prior to his appointment as department chair in March 2020. During his tenure as chair, Ramirez brought his extensive professional career experience to bear, in order to benefit the student experience, as well as benefit the roles of faculty and staff in the department. He worked to transform hiring practices at UT, resulting in the addition off five full-time BIPOC tenure-track faculty members in the last two years. He also created the role of a department intimacy director, who addresses production needs, as well as curricular and pedagogical imperatives.

Prior to his roles at UT, Ramirez was at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, serving as an associate professor of acting, voice, speech and dialects. He also was an adjunct professor of voice and speech for the stage at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City; he served in a similar role at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City.

Ramirez has long been a part of the professional theater industry, as well. He has worked as a professional voice artist; voice, text and acting coach; director and actor. His research interests lie in the areas of Shakespeare and classical theater, contemporary acting practices, voice and speech pedagogy, and recorded voice artist practices. He completed his undergraduate studies at the Los Angeles Theatre Academy at Los Angeles City College and earned his MFA at the University of Delaware's Professional Theatre Training Program.

"I've admired Robert's leadership for years and could not be more delighted that he will be joining us at CMU. I'm absolutely convinced that he is the right person to take the School of Drama forward, in community and in this exact moment," said Mary Ellen Poole, dean, College of Fine Arts.

A strong believer in giving back, Ramirez intends to continue his service to the community, the university, the profession and, most importantly, the School of Drama at Carnegie Mellon. Throughout his career, he has extended his reach as an academic and theater professional to help raise awareness of the power of the arts. That will not change upon his arrival in Pittsburgh, he said.

"I am, indeed, honored to join the School of Drama at Carnegie Mellon," he said. "This is an opportunity to build upon the solid reputation and foundation that exist here among every discipline that contributes to the theater-making process and performance industry. "

Dean Poole also commended the search committee members who assisted in bringing Ramirez on board.

"We all owe a debt of gratitude to the tireless search advisory committee co-chaired by Sartje Pickett and Tomé Cousin and assisted by a team from Isaacson Miller as well as Amy Kapp," she said. "Members were Carolyn Hess Abraham, Mindy Eshelman, Kyle Haden, Rob Handel, Cindy Limauro, Mica Harrison Loosemore, Britton Mauk, Catherine Moore, Susan Tsu, Miso Wei , Kim Weild and Charlie White."

About the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama The CMU School of Drama is the oldest degree-granting program in the United States, having celebrated its centennial in 2014. The school seeks to be a community of educators, learners, leaders and artists who cultivate an equitable, diverse, open and inclusive community based on empathy and integrity. The School of Drama advances arts education as an essential part of all individuals' lives and, collectively, society on the whole. CMU and The Tony Awards, for which the university serves as the exclusive higher education partner, celebrate arts education and k-12 teachers each year at the awards with the Excellence in Theatre Education Award.

Legions of CMU School of Drama alumni have gone on to find success on stage and screen, and behind the scenes of some of the world's most beloved productions. Among them: Blair Underwood, Holly Hunter, Ted Danson, Billy Porter, Stephen Schwartz, John Wells, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Judith Light, Jamie de Roy, Leslie Odom, Jr., John Shaffner and Joe Stewart, Tamara Tunie, Paula Wagner, Zachary Quinto, Matt Bomer and Megan Hilty. Alumni have won a total of 52 Tony Awards, 13 Academy Awards and nearly 150 Emmy Awards.



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