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College and schools announce outstanding seniors

West Virginia University College of Creative Arts and its schools have selected outstanding seniors from the May 2020 graduating class.

Each school selects their top senior based on merit. The top outstanding senior for the college is then voted on by administrators.

School of Music

Catherine Dowd

While maintaining a 4.0 GPA for all four years, Catherine Dowd has been the recipient of the Presser Award at WVU and the Jon Hawkins Scholarship from the International Horn Society, the latter being an award open to all college-aged students in the world. She has attended the Brevard Music Center Summer Festival and will attend the Sarasota Music Festival this summer, one of the most competitive summer music festivals in the country. 

In 2019, Dowd received 3rd prize in the International Horn Symposium’s Premier Solo Competition. On-campus she regularly serves as principal horn in the WVU Symphony Orchestra and has performed with the Wind Symphony, Chamber Winds, Horn Ensemble, a brass quintet, horn quartet and the African Drum Ensemble as well as being selected by the brass faculty for the Honor’s Recital in Spring 2019. 

Off-campus, Dowd is a member of the Allegheny Chamber Players and has performed with the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra. She has been accepted into graduate study with scholarship by the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and the University of Houston.

School of Theatre and Dance

Madelyn Dundon

Madelyn Dempsey Dundon is a dance major, minoring in theatre and art history. She made her award-winning screen debut as the title character in the SONY Pictures feature film Getting Grace. Madelyn studied classical voice at Moravian College and at the Manhattan School of Music. Prior to WVU, she received her dance training at the Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and at the Rock School in Philadelphia. 

Dundon's recent creative works includes a one-woman play Encountering Shakespeare: How Two Americans Saved the Bard, presented at the Folger Shakespeare Library, where she is a certified reader and alumna of the selective Public Programs Internship. In collaboration with WVU Art History faculty, Dundon wrote and produced a one woman play on the life and work of WVU alumna and renown abstract artist Blanche Lazzell, which she performed at local elementary schools. 

Most recently, Dundon developed a dramaturgical casebook on Esplanade, the iconic masterwork by American choreographer Paul Taylor, which she performed in WVU’s 2020 Dance Now! concert. Her project was created under the tutelage of WVU School of Theatre and Dance faculty Jay Malarcher, and was accepted into the 2020 WVU Undergraduate Research Symposium. Her work on this piece has led to an internship with the Paul Taylor Dance Company in New York City.

School of Art and Design

Ineke Knudsen

Ineke Knudsen is a painting major in the School of Art and Design. She is the recipient of several painting awards including the Lotus MacDowell Scholarship for Realistic Painting in 2018, the Dean of Libraries Student Art Award in 2108 and the Juried Student Exhibition Director’s Award in 2019. 

Knudsen received honorable mention in the 2020 College of Creative Arts Faculty/Student Mentored Research Awards for her project “Construction of personal identity within postmodern society”. This research was conducted as part of West Virginia University’s Summer Undergraduate Research Experience during Summer 2019. The project drew from postmodern philosophical texts and translated them into painting, sculpture, and installation art. 

The final body of artworks were displayed at the show Constructions at the Morgantown Art Center in the fall of 2019, Knudsen’s first solo show. She wrote in her project abstract, “this collection of artwork draws attention to postmodern loss of personal identity by providing surrogates for the viewer’s body. The artworks utilize traditional painting methods, but reference societal constructions through incorporation of found objects and industrial products—deviations which engage the ontology of the work through sculptural uses of space.” 

During her studies, Knudsen spent her extra time as a community organizer. She served as president of The Bench: an Artist’s Collective, a local group of artists dedicated to professional development within their fields. Her greatest undertaking with The Bench was a semester long partnership with the Mountaineer Boys and Girls Club. Knudsen planned weekly lessons on installation art—specifically on the work of contemporary artist Starah Sze. The middle-school students collaborated with members of The Bench to create ‘big stacks’ of everyday materials like desks, chairs, toys, Christmas lights, and other items found in the after-school program’s basement. The installations were displayed in an exhibition at Arts Monongahela in 2018. Knudsen also helped The Bench host a group show For Lease in New York City during Bushwick Open Studios in 2017, and participated in many smaller pop-up shows in Morgantown. 

Knudsen is pursuing a career as a studio artist and plans to continue her education at the Rhode Island School of Design.

College of Creative Arts

“One of the greatest joys, and difficulties, each year is selecting which students will be recognized as the outstanding graduates,” said Dean Keith Jackson. “This year we truly had an abundance of riches as the top students have already garnered recognition beyond the walls of the Canady Creative Arts Center.

“Choosing Madelyn as the top graduate speaks to the quality of her work as an artist/scholar and her level of engagement in activities across the college. She is really a ‘silo buster’ and already an example of an artist ready for the mid 21st century.”