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Dale Merrill Named Dean of The Hartt School

July 19, 2021
Submitted By: Office of Marketing and Communication
photo of Dale Merrill
Dale A. Merrill, currently dean of the College of the Arts at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF), has been named dean of The Hartt School, the University of Hartford’s renowned conservatory for music, dance, and theatre. He will begin his new responsibilities on August 15.

Dale comes to us with both breadth and depth of experience,” University of Hartford Provost Fred Sweitzer says. “He has proven his ability to navigate and lead in public and private institutions as well as the nonprofit world. In addition to leading the vibrant Hartt School community, Dale will be a valuable addition to the academic leadership team for the University.”

At CSUF, where he is also a tenured professor of dance, Merrill provides leadership and vision for one of the largest visual and performing arts programs within the California State University system. He oversees 85 full-time faculty, 200 part-time faculty, and 52 full-time staff members. His numerous accomplishments at CSUF include establishing a comprehensive plan that increased annual fundraising from $500,000 to $3 million; creating a Student Success Center to improve graduation and retention rates while closing the equity gap; introducing the college’s first diversity plan to address equity, inclusion, and representation issues; implementing a new online ticketing system to comply with the latest e-commerce regulations; and leading planning efforts and securing state funding for a $65 million modernization campaign for the school’s visual arts facilities.

Prior to joining CSUF, Merrill was instrumental in the formation of the College of Performing Arts at Chapman University, where he served as both associate dean and dean. He was one of the founding members and artistic director of Spectrum Dance Theater, a professional dance company and community arts organization in Seattle.

Recognized for his community leadership, Merrill received a 2001 Rudy, a national award presented by Safeco Insurance Company for community leadership and advocacy. The following year, he was honored with the prestigious Corporate Council for the Arts’ Unsung Hero Award.

Merrill earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in ballet from the University of Utah and a Master of Fine Arts in dance from the University of Washington. With over 25 years of choreographic credits, he has taught for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago; Backhausdance; Anaheim Ballet; University of California, Irvine; University of Montana; Saint Joseph Ballet; Montana Dance Arts Association; Black Hills Dance Association; and the American College Dance Festival.

“I look forward to leading a school known for its strong ties to the community and its commitment to excellence in training performing artists,” Merrill says. “I am extremely passionate about the arts and their important role in higher education and in our community. What drew me to The Hartt School is its rich history of training artists and helping them achieve their goals.  I am excited to be part of the next chapter in The Hartt School’s success.”