BETHANY, W.Va. – Kenn Morgan ‘71, director of the Renner Art Gallery, has taught visual arts at Bethany College since 1989 and was recently named emeritus professor of fine arts. Each year during homecoming weekend, Morgan presents an annual art show in the Renner Art Gallery. This year’s theme was his retirement retrospective show, titled “My Way…” For those who were unable to make it to Morgan’s Last Lecture, or simply want to relive the experience, you can do so here.
Morgan taught two-dimensional art and art history, which resulted in being named to Who’s Who in America’s Teachers, elected Professor of the Year, and awarded the Distinguished Faculty Member Award by Bethany’s Alumni Council in 2002. His love of travel and passion for teaching has taken him to Rome, Florence, and Venice to teach numerous times. He has also accompanied Bethanians to Spain, Dominica (West Indies), Paris, London, and the Galapagos Islands. He is an active studio artist, frequently exhibiting his artwork in group, solo, and invitational shows, and is represented in collections in Chicago, Durham, N.C., Houston, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Portsmouth, and Norfolk, Va.
“It was my pleasure to introduce Professor Kenn Morgan as he gave his last lecture. I have known Professor Morgan for over 20 years,” says Board of Trustees Chairman Ken Bado. “There are few who have the passion for Bethany College as much as him. His love for all things Bethany College is apparent in every action he takes. From his commitment to teaching, student success, love of visual arts, and of course, Bethany’s reputation, Kenn Morgan’s imprint of Bethany College will never cease. “
In Morgan’s Last Lecture, he highlights not just his artwork, but his accomplishments and milestones that helped get him where he is today.
“This is the most important thing framed in the show. This is my Bethany degree,” says Morgan. “I am very proud of that.”
He also pays homage to his “Morries,” a reference to the book “Tuesdays with Morrie.” Wes Wagner, former Bethany College art professor, and David Judy, former theater and English professor, influenced Morgan’s life greatly and ultimately helped lead him back to the beautiful hills of Bethany.
“These two men, in very different ways, are my Morries,” says Morgan. “There’s some teachers at this place [Bethany], and they know who they are. I’ll be your Morrie, if you’ll be my Mitch.”
His collection entails many items that he says shaped him, like chairs his students signed, past professors, a globe highlighting places he’s lived or visited, portraits of his friends and family, photos from travels, and even an unfinished piece.
Morgan rounds out his lecture by circling back to the book “Tuesdays with Morrie.” He reflects on Morrie’s conversation with Mitch about visiting his tombstone when he’s gone and encourages Bethanians to visit his last resting place in Bethany after he passes.
“You never know who’s going to be that person that’s really going to change your life, and I would like to think that I have been somewhat successful in that regard to my students. I hear wonderful things frequently, and that means so much to me,” says Morgan. “… so, when you come to Bethany, lay down a blanket, and pour a sip or two onto my stone of whatever beverage it is that you’ve decided to bring. That would make me very happy.”