Great minds think unlike

When he first arrived on campus last spring, one of interim Chancellor Christopher G. Maples’ first actions was to turn his Parker Hall office into an art gallery of sorts.

Hanging on the walls today are paintings, drawings and mixed-media works created by recent Missouri S&T graduates, all on display for dignitaries and visitors to view.

“I want everyone who visits this office to see the kind of creativity our students are capable of,” Maples says.

On a campus like Missouri S&T, the arts are sometimes overshadowed by the emphasis on engineering and science. But the arts and STEM disciplines don’t have to exist in separate silos. In fact, each should complement the other. After all, one of the most famous artists of the Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci, sketched machines and studies of human anatomy in addition to painting masterpieces like The Mona Lisa and The Last Supper.

While S&T offers no degrees in art, music or theater, the arts have been interwoven into the campus culture and curriculum for decades. From the Millennium Arch sculpture on the grounds of Castleman Hall to the musical and theatrical performances that occur inside that building, from the Hot Glass Shop to Southwinds literary magazine, the arts — visual, theatrical, literary — thrive at S&T. Last fall’s production of The STEM Monologues, a play written and directed by Jeanne Stanley, associate professor of theater (see story on page 14), illustrates how the arts and sciences can coexist.

Studying the arts is thought to enrich humanity by leading to greater empathy, appreciation of differing perspectives, and greater involvement in civic life. But the arts also offer practical benefits.

“Art makes better engineers,” says Luce Myers, a member of the S&T art faculty. “People who can work with their hands and solve problems visually are often better candidates in the engineering fields.”

Myers recalls one mechanical engineering major who credited his success with a senior design project to the two sculpture courses he took with Myers. And a business major who applied for a marketing job with NASA told Myers that she got the job because of her art minor.

In the pages that follow, you’ll read about how the arts have made a difference in the lives of your fellow graduates, and how they are using the arts to express themselves.

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