UConn Names New Dean of School of Fine Arts

Brid Grant stands outside the Music Library. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

Brid Grant stands outside the Music Library. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

Brid Grant has been named the next dean of the University of Connecticut’s School of Fine Arts. Grant, a pianist by training with a long career in higher education in Ireland, was most recently dean and director of the Dublin Institute of Technology’s (DIT) College of Arts and Tourism. She was the dean and director of the school’s Faculty of Applied Arts from 2007 to 2010, and headed its Conservatory of Music and Drama from 2003 to 2007, where she began as a senior lecturer in Piano and Academic Studies in 1980.

“Her outstanding combination of leadership, teaching, and professional experience makes Brid ideally suited to lead our School of Fine Arts,” said UConn President Susan Herbst. “Her background and talent are of the highest caliber, and we’re thrilled that she will be joining us. And given her heritage and life spent outside the U.S., she will also bring an international vision and sensibility to the UConn leadership team. I believe she will be a dynamic, bold leader for the school in the coming years.”

Grant has served on the board of directors for the Cork Music Works since 2000, the board of the Cross Border Orchestra from 2003 to 2007, and on the board of directors of the Irish Baroque Orchestra since 2005.

“I have had the good fortune to visit UConn many times over several years as part of an academic collaboration, and have been consistently impressed by the ethos and work ethic of the faculty and students in the School of Fine Arts,” said Grant. “To be able to join the University and the school is an exciting opportunity.”

Grant said her priorities include vigorously promoting the work of faculty and students in the school and further developing its reputation.

“A college or school of fine arts needs to be seen as one of the jewels in the crown of a university,” said Grant. “We have to harness the excellent work being done by faculty, staff, and students, and make it as widely-known and fully appreciated as possible. This will help us to continue to attract exceptional students and trumpet our cultural role at the University and throughout the state and region.”

Grant said she will also focus on the logistical needs of the school, such as enhancing its physical space, including classrooms, performance venues, studios, and even storage areas for the school’s extensive props and other materials.

The School of Fine Arts is comprised of three academic units: the Department of Art and Art History; the Department of Dramatic Arts, which includes Puppet Arts; and the Department of Music.

Performance and exhibition venues include the Contemporary Art Galleries, the Connecticut Repertory, Theatre and the von der Mehden Recital Hall. The School is also home to three auxiliary outreach units: the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry, the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts, and the William Benton Museum of Art. The School runs on a permanent budget of $14 million and is home to 72 full-time faculty members.

As dean and director of the College of Arts and Tourism at DIT, Grant is currently responsible for several individual schools with a budget of €30 million and 415 faculty.

Grant received a diploma in music from Trinity College in London; a diploma in music teaching and a bachelor’s degree in music from University College-Dublin; and a Master of Philosophy in music from the Dublin Institute of Technology.

She comes from a long line of musicians dating to the 18th century, a tradition that continues today: her three children, four siblings, and all her nieces of nephews are also involved in music.

Grant begins at UConn in August.