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Graul Chair in Arts and Languages


This endowed chair is named for Dr. Thomas C. and Janet M. Graul and is specifically designed to promote interdisciplinary approaches to arts and languages with a particular focus on international perspectives. At the University of Dayton, this includes Music; Art and Design; Theatre, Dance, and Performance Technology; and Global Languages and Culture. As we ask our students to use their intellectual gifts in the service of others, to adapt to a changing, dynamic global society, and to be just leaders, the importance of arts and languages becomes apparent. These disciplines engage us in questions about difference and enable us to celebrate and embrace those differences. The transcendent power of arts and languages is such that the whole person is both engaged and educated.

The study of arts and languages empowers us to engage and transcend rather than dismiss that which is different, unfamiliar, and sometimes uncomfortable. These disciplines provide powerful tools to open our minds, engage our hearts, think creatively, and find the common core of our humanity. Such study is essential to any university that aspires to educate the whole person and produce distinctive graduates who are capable of linking learning to responsible leadership and service.

During the 2013 through 2016 academic years, the University of Dayton was engaged in an important dialogue about the influences of the Arts and Languages on our culture. This Rites. Rights. Writes initiative strove to pull a myriad of distinct and diverse topics of study, research and presentations into a common theme to be shared across the campus community. The initiative established a new First-Year Experience for incoming students enrolled in the Humanities Commons course. Students engaged in Dayton Performing Arts Alliance performances by the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, the Dayton Opera, and the Dayton Ballet, with supplementary events and presentations related to each annual theme of the performances.

Beginning with the 2017-2018 academic year, Dr. Sharon Davis Gratto, Professor in the Department of Music, brought her international experience, professional work in world music, and ties to Dayton-area performing arts organizations to support the First-Year Experience and to develop new initiatives in the arts and languages. Her work as Graul Chair continues to connect Arts and Languages at the University of Dayton to the campus, the community, and the world through collaborative interdisciplinary experiences in diverse locations.


Dr. Roger Crum, Department of Visual Arts

Dr. Eric Street, Department of Music

Prof. Sean Wilkinson, Department of Visual Arts

Dr. Richard Chenoweth, Department of Music

Virtual Workshop: Arts in Social Service Settings

From 4 to 5:45 p.m. on Friday, April 9 the Graul Chair in Arts and Languages will present a virtual workshop on arts in social service settings, featuring Chicago's Fifth House Ensemble and local Dayton artist Morris Howard. The Fifth House Ensemble will demonstrate the innovative and responsive professional work that they were doing in the urban Chicago community before COVID-19 and how they have successfully expanded this work as they continue to connect the arts virtually to a variety of social service settings. Their teaching tools include deep listening and graphic notation. Local Dayton artist Morris Howard will join the discussion to speak about his visual art work with incarcerated youth during the pandemic. There will be time for Q&A and discussion following the presentation.

To join us, email Dr. Sharon Gratto
2021 2nd Dayton Funk Symposium

A combined effort of the Graul Chair, the Neon Theatre, the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra and the Department of Music, the symposium takes place from Wednesday evening, Nov. 3 through Saturday evening, Nov. 6, 2021, on campus and in the community. The symposium concludes with a culminating Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra "Rockin' Orchestra Series" concert at the Schuster Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Dayton.

Scheduling of events is subject to change, due to the University's response to COVID-19. 

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In The News
Fine and Performing Arts 02.08.21

Culture Works and the Montgomery County Arts and Cultural District awarded University of Dayton Graul Chair in Arts and Languages Sharon Davis Gratto $10,000 to support the second Dayton Funk Symposium.

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Fine and Performing Arts 10.08.19

University of Dayton senior Caleb Vanden Eynden wants to bring the funk to Dayton-area middle and high school music curricula.

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Graul Chair in Arts and Languages

300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 1549