2017 Viola Award Nominee for Excellence in Leadership
Michael Vincent retired from his position as Dean of the College of Arts and Letters at Northern Arizona University in May 2016. During his 10-year tenure, he led the college through considerable growth and activity.
Vincent was given the Juliana Yoder Friend of the Humanities Award, presented by Arizona Humanities, in 2015. This award recognizes individuals, organizations or businesses that have made a lasting contribution to the cultural life of their communities through their active support of and involvement in promoting the humanities.
Vincent is a French Scholar focusing on seventeenth-century French Literature, with a special interest in La Fontaine. During his thirty-five year career, Michael has worked tirelessly supporting Arts and Humanities education, and has introduced scholars and community members alike to the beauty and richness of French literature and culture.
Vincent began his academic career as a French teaching assistant at the University of Wisconsin, where he received his Ph.D. in French literature in 1979. He later became a professor of French at Wichita State University, where from 1996 to 2000 he was dean of its graduate school. Vincent has written a book on the 17th century French poet Jean de La Fontaine, as well as numerous academic papers and presentations.
From 2000 to 2004, he served as vice president for academic affairs and dean of the American University of Paris, an English-speaking university, during which time he was responsible for 10 academic departments offering 13 bachelor’s degrees, as well as the university’s academic support services.
From a 2013 nomination:
“It is my honor to nominate Dr. Michael Vincent, Dean of the College of Arts and Letters, for his leadership and support of public art installations on the campus of Northern Arizona University. Through Dr. Vincent’s tireless efforts, funds have been raised that have afforded opportunities for art students and art faculty to beautify the campus with various works of art ranging from paintings to sculpture. The works of art are installed in areas that are accessible to the entire Flagstaff community.
“During 2013, Dr. Vincent’s leadership and support of the visual arts enabled the installation of three major projects.
“Potential to be Heard, a large sculpture of a vintage microphone produced by Ryan Lamfers, has been permanently mounted near the entrance to Ardrey Auditorium. Artist Ryan Lamfers was last year’s winner of the Viola Award for Emerging Artist. Without Dr. Vincent’s support, this major installation would not have been produced.
“Another project was produced by students in a recycled art class. This project was legacy mosaics permanently installed in the School of Art hallways. One mosaic is a large tree of life and another of an outsized feather. These mosaics have brought pride to the students who produced them and serve as reminders of the quality of work produced in the School.
“Significant to note is that during 2013 Dr. Vincent established a project for undergraduate painters to use large electrical boxes on campus as their canvases. These newly designed surfaces bring visibility to the students’ artistic skills while placing art to unexpected places. At present, the electrical boxes can be found in and near the School of Art and Cline Library. Plans are to continue the project across campus.”
“Vincent’s efforts also extend beyond NAU campus, beyond Flagstaff and even beyond the visual arts. He has served on the Board of Directors for both the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra and the Winslow Art Trust. He has also worked with the Coconino County Board of Supervisors with the goal of creating an experimental summer arts residency program on county property at Rogers Lake.”