Title: Mark Hall: A Lasting Impression

Current MC seniors flock to Professor Hall in hopes of ascertaining information about their upcoming comprehensive exam. Photo by Amber Potter.
Current MC seniors flock to Professor Hall in hopes of ascertaining information about their upcoming comprehensive exam. Photo by MC Communications.

Mark Hall, Professor of Art at Maryville College, is retiring at the end of this academic year after an unforgettable career.

Hall has been teaching art for 30 years, and half of that time has been spent at MC.

His last exhibit while at Maryville is entitled “A Phrenological Study of a MAD Man.”

It features many selfies, as well as works of art that show what is going on in the mind of Hall.

The first thing that I noticed while walking through the exhibit is that the self-portraits on Hall were almost all in black and white.

When I asked him about this, I got a very unexpected answer. Hall told me that they just did not need color. “Color is not just something you add,” said Hall.

“I change mediums depending on my mood,” said Hall.  Hall uses various mediums in his sculpted work; there are two sculptures by Mark Hall.

The sculpture entitled “15 Years at Maryville” uses wine bottles, corks, and bottle caps. Some of the corks from the sculpture were from events in the Clayton Center. I love that a few pieces of MC are included in this work of art.

Professor Hall is known for his unorthodox teaching style. This is evident during the audience sing-a-long session to “Always Look at the Bright Side of Life” during his lecture. Photo by Amber Potter.
Professor Hall is known for his unorthodox teaching style. This is evident during the audience sing-a-long session to “Always Look at the Bright Side of Life” during his lecture. Photo by MC Communications.

Many are disappointed that Hall will be walking away from teaching.

When asked why he is leaving, Hall said that he “considers teaching to be a sacred responsibility.” He does not want any student to be cheated of an education worthy of what they deserve. He feels that it is just time for him to retire.

“I will continue to make art, that is not a question,” said Hall, when asked about plans after retirement.

He does not plan on going the traditional route after retirement and traveling. Instead, Hall plans on staying close to home and discovering new hiking trails.

Hall began his “Last Lecture” on March 21, 2016 with a disclaimer. He said that if he had to use his Mickey Mouse handkerchief that it was simply from “tears of thankfulness and joy.”

He was very personal in this lecture. He shared that when he was young, he wanted to be a fireman or a cowboy. Later in his life, he entered college with the goal of being a medical doctor. However, this did not work out and speaking on behalf of all MC students, we are very glad that it did not.

Hall said many profound things during his lecture, but one thing that really stood out to me was that “we must fill our environment with art.”

Hall believes that there is not enough art on our campus. He wants to bring the community onto campus and share beautiful art.

Ginnylyne Gusadio, a freshman neuroscience major, currently has Hall for an introduction to drawing class.

“Hall found multiple ways to connect with all of us, including the ones that weren’t necessarily art inclined,” said Gusadio.

She also hinted that his quirkiness adds to the experience of having Hall as a professor.

I have also had the pleasure of having Hall as a professor. I was dreading Introduction to Fine Arts because I am not artistically inclined. However, when I met Hall on the first day of class, I knew that it would be just fine.

I learned more in that class than I ever thought I would. He made learning about art fun and interesting. There is no other professor quite like Mark Hall.

Senior art major, Rachael Chesnutt had a similar experience. As an art major, she just wanted to draw and did not have much interest in the history of art. However, once she saw Professor Hall’s “passion and personality infused in the history” it gave her a new outlook on it and she began to enjoy it.

Mr. Hall, you have impacted many, many lives during your 15 years at MC and I am sure many others in the 15 years of teaching before MC. We are all sad to see you leave, but we all wish you the best. Thank you for being such a life changing part of the MC experience.

MC Alums came to support their former professor at his last lecture. Photo by Amber Potter.
MC Alums came to support their former professor at his last lecture. Photo by MC Communications.

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