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Robert Ramirez Named New Head of CMU School of Drama

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Pam Wigley
College of Fine Arts
Shannon Musgrave
School of Drama

Robert Ramirez

Robert Ramirez has been named the new head of the Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama(opens in new window), effective Aug. 1. Ramirez joins CMU from the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Texas at Austin (UT), where he served as professor and chair.

Ramirez joined UT in 2014 as associate professor and head of acting. He later was named professor of acting and, in 2016, became head of the Performance Division. He was named senior associate chair and Interim chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance prior to his appointment as department chair in March 2020. During his tenure as chair, Ramirez brought his extensive professional career experience to bear, in order to benefit the student experience, as well as benefit the roles of faculty and staff in the department. He worked to transform hiring practices at UT, resulting in the addition of five full-time tenure-track faculty members of color in the last two years. He also created the role of a department intimacy director, who addresses production needs, as well as curricular and pedagogical imperatives.

Prior to his roles at UT, Ramirez was at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, serving as an associate professor of acting, voice, speech and dialects. He also was an adjunct professor of voice and speech for the stage at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City; he served in a similar role at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City.

Ramirez has long been a part of the professional theater industry as well. He has worked as a professional voice artist; voice, text and acting coach; director and actor. His research interests lie in the areas of Shakespeare and classical theater, contemporary acting practices, voice and speech pedagogy, and recorded voice artist practices. He completed his undergraduate studies at the Los Angeles Theatre Academy at Los Angeles City College and earned his MFA at the University of Delaware's Professional Theatre Training Program.

"I've admired Robert's leadership for years and could not be more delighted that he will be joining us at CMU. I'm absolutely convinced that he is the right person to take the School of Drama forward, in community and in this exact moment," said Mary Ellen Poole(opens in new window), dean of the College of Fine Arts.

A strong believer in giving back, Ramirez intends to continue his service to the community, the university, the profession and, most importantly, the School of Drama at Carnegie Mellon. Throughout his career, he has extended his reach as an academic and theater professional to help raise awareness of the power of the arts. That will not change upon his arrival in Pittsburgh, he said.

"I am, indeed, honored to join the School of Drama at Carnegie Mellon," he said. "This is an opportunity to build upon the solid reputation and foundation that exist here among every discipline that contributes to the theater-making process and performance industry."

Dean Poole also commended the search committee members who assisted in bringing Ramirez on board.

“We all owe a debt of gratitude to the tireless search advisory committee co-chaired by Sartje Pickett and Tom Cousin and assisted by a team from Isaacson Miller as well as Amy Kapp,” she said. “Members were Carolyn Hess Abraham, Mindy Eshelman, Kyle Haden, Rob Handel, Cindy Limauro, Mica Harrison Loosemore, Britton Mauk, Catherine Moore, Susan Tsu, Miso Wei, Kim Weild and Charlie White.”

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