New dean sees promise in performing arts

By Jen Boyer

 

Marshall Onofrio, formerly the associate dean of Westminster Choir College, was appointed as the new dean of Westminster College of Arts. He has worked for the university for 11 years.

Marshall Onofrio was appointed as the dean of Westminster College of Arts (WCA) on June 27 after serving as the associate dean at Westminster Choir College since 2006 and associate dean for the administration at WCA since 2009.

Onofrio has been acknowledged as a strong teacher and mentor in the music field. He works with many aspiring students every day to help them reach their future goals, whether it is in the choir room or outside the classroom.

“I believe many of the students in the Westminster College of Arts know Dr. Onofrio as someone who is approachable and available to listen to their concerns or to offer advice on their academic progress, class selection, etc. I am always impressed with his knowledge of individual students,” said DonnaJean Fredeen, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Onofrio believes that he has a great impact on the students’ learning by treating everyone equally.

“I believe that students would tell you that I strive to treat everyone fairly and consistently, and that they trust me as someone who will be honest with them,” Onofrio said. “I try to help them identify and evaluate options or alternatives, regardless of their situation. I hope that I serve as a role model for students, particularly in encouraging everyone to enjoy what they do.”

Onofrio advises his students to have a sense of humor when facing a difficult task and to share their stories with others. He also increased his knowledge in the music field by serving as an external evaluator for collegiate music programs for the National Association of Schools of Music.

“When I am involved in such a process, I learn a great deal about the many different ways that particular institutions deliver curriculum, answer the challenges of delivering a 21st century experience to students whose background is so different from my own, and juggle finances and facilities, among many other items,” he said.

Onofrio learned how a unit balances itself from his previous experiences. He wants to keep improving the community by having it come together as a whole.

Through being associate dean of Westminster, he has served multiple communities. He has enjoyed being involved with both the Rider and Westminster campuses over the past 11 years.

“Recent challenges have included developing new or enhanced facilities for the special activities of the WCA and funding,” said Onofrio. “Working with the many persons I’ve met provides camaraderie and additional options, and makes it more enjoyable to solve the challenge.”

Onofrio has been able to strengthen relationships and collaborate with many offices in various fields over the years. He was able to create new opportunities for the College of Arts.

“Dean Onofrio always has been focused on our students’ success and how best to support our students and faculty,” said Fredeen. “He is a strategic, creative thinker that understands how to move the Westminster College of Arts forward to a bright and promising future.”

Onofrio has touched lives in the Westminster community by creating a strong bond with the faculty and the students. The sense of community remains meaningful to him  and he will continue to strive to keep improving upon the college.

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