Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Associate Dean Donna Conaty Announces Retirement

A 13 year legacy of service to the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts leaves her lasting imprint.

Associate Dean Donna Conaty Announces Retirement

by Lizbeth Persons

​November 10, 2020

After more than 13 years at San Diego State University, Donna Conaty, Associate Dean of the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts, has announced she will retire from SDSU at the end of the calendar year. Donna has served as PSFA Associate Dean since 2103, served as interim dean of PSFA from 2018 – 2019, and came to SDSU in 2007 to serve as Director of the School of Music and Dance.­­

As director of the School of Music and Dance, she led the development and implementation of an innovative BM degree track with an emphasis in music entrepreneurship and business, a collaborative program developed with the Fowler College of Business and Lavin Center for Entrepreneurship. Under her leadership the School of Music and Dance celebrated its 75th anniversary by bringing world-class artists and composers to campus, presenting the creative work of faculty, and engaging students in a series of high visibility performances. Philanthropic support of key areas was boosted during her tenure as director, including a highly effective and successful fellowship program in San Diego Unified School District for music education majors, and a significant increase in endowments supporting the School of Music and Dance.

While PSFA Associate Dean she initiated the implementation of internship coordinators in each of PSFA’s schools, resulting in a significant increase in the number of students pursuing internship opportunities, and she worked with faculty to expand student access to major and general education courses offered online.

Her leadership extends beyond the college to a number of campus-wide activities including the SDSU presidential search and University Senate. Beyond SDSU she has served on various non-profit arts boards.

Donna plans to continue performing as a professional oboist. She is principal oboe of ProMusica Chamber Orchestra and her performing background includes orchestral, chamber music, and solo appearances throughout the United States and abroad. Donna has successfully prepared, and continues to mentor, numerous musicians who are pursuing thriving careers in performance, teaching, music therapy, and arts leadership roles.

An alumna of Yale University, Donna’s previous university faculty affiliations include Ohio University, the State University of New York at Purchase, and the University of Evansville. Prior to her appointment at SDSU, Donna was Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, Research, and Curriculum in the College of Fine Arts at Ohio University, Athens, where she held the faculty rank professor of music.

The SDSU College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts wishes her well in her retirement.

The content within this article has been edited by Lizbeth Persons.

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