School of Dance Alum, Joann Friesen (PhD 1977) was honored with the Leadership Excellence and Dedicated Service in Texas Award at the National Dance Education Organization’s annual conference in San Antonio, TX.
After teaching at several universities, Dr. Friesen directed the Dance Program at the University of Houston for 21 years, was named Texas Dance Educator of the Year in 1997 and was inducted into the Texas Dance Educator Hall of Fame in 2000. At the University of Houston, she established aesthetic workshops for teachers, developed dance major and minor programs, dance teacher certification, and produced concerts and workshops. She served on the Houston Cultural Arts Council, the Texas Commission on the Arts, and the Texas Education Agency Fine Arts panel.
When Dr. Friesen retired from the University of Houston in 1998, the Joanna Friesen Dance Scholarship was established for deserving young dancers. She helped found the National Dance Education Organization and volunteered as director of exhibits for the national conventions from 1998 to 2014. She worked as stage manager for Deborah Hay and Dance Salad Houston, and currently volunteers as the Sims Bayou Watershed Representative of the Bayou Preservation Association and with the Houston Audubon Society and the Alzheimer’s Association.
Congratulations, Dr. Friesen!