Friends University hires new Division of Fine Arts chair

Friends University has hired Dr. Joan Griffing as the Tim and Gail Buchanan Endowed Chair in Fine Arts. She began serving in the position Aug. 6.

Dr. Griffing has spent the last 21 years serving as professor of music and chair of the music department at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Va. She was the longest-serving continuous department chair at the university. She previously served on the faculty at Kenyon College and Denison University, both located in Ohio.

“We are very pleased to welcome Dr. Griffing to this position and feel she will be a good fit for our fine arts division as well as the mission, vision and values of Friends University overall,” said Dr. Amy Bragg Carey, president.

In her role at Eastern Mennonite University, Dr. Griffing worked diligently to develop community partnerships and innovative instructional approaches. She collaborated with local public schools on a campaign to ensure equal access to the arts for each child; raised funds for the music department that were used for scholarships, special commissions, performance and recording projects, faculty and student travel, instruments and outreach projects; and led a redesign of the music curriculum.

A violinist, she serves as the concertmaster of the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival Orchestra, first violinist with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and artist/faculty with the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, N.C. She is also a founding member of the chamber music group Musica Harmonia, formed to promote peace and cultural understanding through musical collaboration.

She has also served as Collegiate Committee Chair for the Virginia American String Teachers Association.

Friends University, a Christian University of Quaker heritage, equips students to honor God and serve others by integrating their intellectual, spiritual and professional lives.