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Arts Education Org Names Award for Bob Colby

Bob Colby receives standing ovation at Faculty Assembly
Professor and Chair of the Performing Arts Department Bob Colby was honored at Faculty Assembly on January 29, 2020. A new award, the Robert Colby Kindness Award, was named in his honor.

Arts|Learning, an organization promoting arts education in Massachusetts public schools, has named their Distinguished Arts Educator Advocate Award in Theatre after the late Professor Bob Colby, nine years after presenting him with the award.

The Robert Colby Distinguished Arts Educator Advocate Award in Theatre recognizes theatre arts educators for leadership in advocating for theatre and arts education; superior teaching in theatre; creation of model arts programs and partnerships; use of Massachusetts Arts Curriculum Framework and National Standards for Arts Education; use of arts and cultural resources; and support of opportunities for multicultural learning and interdisciplinary planning.  

Colby, who was chair of the Performing Arts Department when he died in April 2021 after battling pancreatic cancer, also is the namesake of the Spirit of Emerson Committee’s Robert Colby Kindness Award.

Related: Bob Colby Remembered for Courage, Commitment, ‘Radical Love’

This honor comes shortly after the Emerson community celebrated Colby with the ​​Keep the Light Burning Bob Colby Tribute, held September 12, and featuring songs and memories from family members, colleagues, and Performing Arts alumni. 

Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director Bethany Nelson told those gathered that she first met Colby in 1979, as an undergraduate in Theatre Education at Emerson.

“Bob was a strong natural leader. He was blessed with vision and insight. He had the trust of his peers and his students. He would work tirelessly for the change he believed in and he could inspire others to work for change too,” Nelson said.

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