CoA+A Announces 2017 Distinguished Alumni Awards

Monday, January 23, 2017

The College of Arts + Architecture (CoA+A) will honor five Distinguished Alumni on Friday, March 17, in the third annual celebration of alumni achievement. Representing each of the five departments of the College, the 2017 CoA+A Distinguished Alumni are

Architecture:  Melissa Farling (1988)
Art & Art History:  Margaret McAdams (1977)
Dance:  Hardin Minor (1979)
Music:  Douglas James (1979)
Theatre:  Amy Andrews Harrell (1985)

The Distinguished Alumni Awards were created by the College of Arts + Architecture in 2015 to recognize the accomplishments of alumni who demonstrate in their work the core themes of the College's vision: professionalism, global perspective, environmental engagement, connectivity with community, collaboration, and the emergence of new ideas, skills, and practices. Each department designates one Distinguished Alum annually, chosen by departmental faculty and administration.

The award ceremony on March 17 will take place at 11:30 a.m. in the Anne R. Belk Theater in Robinson Hall. The event is free and open to the public.


Melissa FarlingMelissa Farling is the managing principal of HDR’s architecture studio in Phoenix, AZ. She has dedicated much of her 28-year career to researching the impact of architecture on people, which she believes is essential for the creation of sustainable and appropriate environments. Her work is focused primarily on public projects, for which she has successfully applied her research to the designs of correctional, educational, and behavioral health facilities, courthouses, land ports of entry, commercial projects, and residences.

An advocate for the industry, Farling co-chaired the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Women's Leadership Summit in 2013 and served as past president of the AIA Central Arizona Chapter. In 2014, she was elevated to the AIA College of Fellows. Farling served as co-chair of the AIA Academy of Architecture for Justice (AAJ) Research Committee from 2006 to 2016, during which time she co-organized and co-led the first series of criminal justice neuroscience-architecture workshops.  She is currently a member of the AAJ Leadership Group, as well as a liaison to the Research Committee. She also serves on the AIA Phoenix Metro Chapter Advisory Council.

Farling was a principal investigator on a National Institute of Corrections-funded study that examined the impact of nature on stress in a jail intake area. She has contributed to several publications and frequently presents on evidence-based design.

A registered architect in Arizona, Farling earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in architecture from UNC Charlotte in 1988, and both Bachelor of Architecture and Master of Architecture degrees from the University of Arizona. 

Margaret McAdamsMargaret McAdams is professor emerita of art at Ohio University-Chillicothe. Having retired from full-time teaching in 2012, she now splits her time between North Carolina and Ohio, where she teaches part-time.  McAdams received a Bachelor of Creative Arts from UNC Charlotte in 1977, focusing much of her work in painting and photography. She completed a Master of Fine Arts in Multi-Media and Painting at Washington University in St. Louis, where her work shifted from traditional forms to temporal objects and site-specific environments.

In the early 1980s, McAdams was exhibitions director in the art department at Western Michigan University and served as assistant professor of art at UNC Charlotte from 1987 to 1990. In 1990, she began her more than 20-year career at Ohio University-Chillicothe and received the OU Regional Campus Outstanding Professor Award in 2006.

McAdams’s artworks have been in more than three hundred juried and invitational shows throughout the United States and in Spain, England, Germany, France, Hungary, and Russia. She has received 12 grants and fellowships, including an Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship in Photography and an artist’s residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. Her works have received awards in more than 20 juried exhibitions. Since beginning to work in clay in 2002, she has received awards in 13 exhibitions for her ceramic sculptures. Most recently she completed an outdoor ceramics commission for the Dublin Arts Council's "Riverboxes" in Dublin, Ohio.

Hardin MinorA Charlotte native, Hardin Minor is a multidimensional performance artist, arts educator, entertainment consultant and key player in the Charlotte arts scene. He has been called a one man “Cirque,” and his background as a dancer inspires and disciplines his transformation into the 25+ characters featured in his shows.

A founding member of the New Reflections Dance Theatre (1976), Minor received a Young Artist (half) Scholarship to the American Dance Festival in both 1978 and 1979. In 1978, he and fellow UNC Charlotte student Eddie Williams (1979) founded OMIMEO Mime Theatre, creating more than 20 original productions in their 40 years together. Minor received a Bachelor of Creative Arts degree in Dance and Education from UNC Charlotte in 1979, graduating as the first male certified to teach dance in North Carolina schools. From 1980-1986, he studied in New York City with Twyla Tharp, Michael Moschen, and Bob Berky and taught at The Bearley School and the National Dance Institute under Jacques d’Amboise.

Since returning to Charlotte in 1986, Minor has performed and produced for every kind of audience, from the corporate to the classroom, and maintained a long-standing relationship with Children’s Theatre of Charlotte. He has received the Arts & Science Council’s Creative Fellowship Award (2001) and the Blumenthal Performing Arts “Center Stage” Award in recognition of longtime service to the arts in Charlotte (2010). It has been his privilege to choreograph three works for his alma mater: TUBA (1999), ShakeDancer (2002), and GLAMERICA (2005). His most recent piece, SENTIENT (2015), was created for the Moving Poets 6/15 Concert. He is currently researching and writing a new SFX theatrical work based on the life of Dr. Albert Einstein for the 2018-19 OMIMEO season.

Douglas JamesDouglas James has appeared in concert as a classical guitarist throughout the United States as well as in Europe and Mexico. He has been a featured guest artist at many music series, festivals, and notable venues, including New York's Carnegie and Merkin Halls. He has won top prize in the Arturo Toscanini Solo Guitar Competition (Italy) and twice been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Solo Recitalist Fellowship. Recognized world-wide as an authority on the early 19th-century “Romantic” guitar and its performance practice, he features 19th-century instruments in his performances of the Classical and Romantic literature and tours regularly in a period guitar duo with the Italian guitarist Pasquale Rucco.

Dr. James has recorded three critically acclaimed CD's for the Cala Vista label on authentic period instruments. Of these, Gitarr och Luta (Sweden) notes that "Douglas James' playing on the record is for my taste totally splendid. His enthusiasm to explore the early guitar repertoire is obvious, and he has an ability to use the old instruments to their full capacity, with all of their timbral possibilities. He plays intensely and sensitively with flow, ease and elegance." Classical Guitar (England) states, "Douglas James clearly has a great deal of sympathy for this repertoire and a carefully worked out approach to its interpretation ... everything is animated by concern for the life of the music on its own terms and in its own time."

James received a Bachelor of Creative Arts degree from UNC Charlotte in 1979 and received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Arizona. He is professor of guitar at Appalachian State University, where he also directs the annual Appalachian GuitarFest. He has served on the Advisory Board and the Board of Trustees of the Guitar Foundation of America.

Amy HarrellIn her more than 20-year career in costume design, Amy Andrews Harrell has worked with many top directors and actors, including Steven Spielberg, Meg Ryan, Tom Hanks, Jane Fonda, Mel Gibson, Sam Shepard, Nicole Kidman, John Turturro, and many others. She has served as costume designer, costume supervisor, wardrobe supervisor or key costumer for nearly 50 film and television productions. In 2008 she won an Emmy Award as costume supervisor for the HBO miniseries John Adams and in 2013 was nominated for an Emmy for her costume designs for the National Geographic Channel movie, Killing Lincoln.

Most recently, Harrell designed the costumes for the first two seasons of the PBS series, Mercy Street, set in Virginia during the Civil War. (Season one premiered in January 2016; season two premiered in January 2017.) Her designs for the first season were included in the 10th Annual Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design exhibition at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) Museum and Library in the fall of 2016.

A Charlotte native, Harrell received a Bachelor of Creative Arts from UNC Charlotte in 1985. In 1988 she received a Master of Fine Arts in Costume Design from Southern Methodist University, where she studied under the successful husband-and-wife Broadway design team, William and Jean Eckart.