Dr. Mark Trowbridge, Marymount professor of art history, has received the University’s 2012 Robert A. Draghi Outstanding Faculty Award. Presented by the undergraduate Class of 2012, this recognition honors the recipient’s teaching excellence, efforts to strengthen the University community, and commitment to students. It is named in honor of the late Dr. Robert Draghi, a man of legendary character and passion for teaching, who was a professor of philosophy and the former dean of Marymount’s School of Arts and Sciences.
Professor Trowbridge, who has taught at Marymount since 2005, was surprised and honored to receive the prestigious award. He explains, “It’s the best honor that Marymount can bestow because it comes from the students, and they are why we are here.”
He adds, “Since I teach art history, I share the stage with Michelangelo and Picasso. It’s hard for a class not to be good when the students are looking at some of the work of the greatest creative minds that ever lived.” Dr. Trowbridge continues, “I think I have been successful because I let the students know that I love what I do. I try to empower students to be confident that their opinions are valid and then build upon them.”
Students agree. Art major Carina Hernandez ’12 wrote in her nomination, “Dr. Trowbridge is always making class and lectures interesting. He makes you want to learn the material and eager for class. He looks at every student individually and takes the time to get everyone involved and engaged.”
Originally from Portland, Oregon, Professor Trowbridge earned his B.A. from Portland State University and his M.A. and Ph.D. from New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts. Prior to joining Marymount, he taught art history and interdisciplinary courses at Portland State for more than 15 years. He also served as a docent at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and studied in Belgium through an N.E.H. fellowship grant.
Dr. Trowbridge’s interest in 15th-and 16th-century art from the Low Countries sparked the book he is currently preparing on the intersection of art and theater in Bruges. It also inspired him to take his upper-level fine art students to Belgium as part of their Topics in Art History: Van Eyck to Bruegel course this past spring. The study abroad proved eye-opening for the students, who visited numerous churches and museums, as well as a painting restoration laboratory during their tour of five Belgian cities. Dr. Trowbridge explains, “It was beneficial for them to see the paintings first hand in the artists’ homeland. …Also, Belgium’s late-medieval buildings are numerous and well preserved, so the students really got a feel for what these cities were like in the artists’ day.”
Professor Trowbridge recalls the Belgium trip as a favorite teaching moment. Given his joy in teaching, new favorites are added regularly. Receiving the Draghi Outstanding Faculty Award is simply icing on the cake, as he notes, “It’s nice to be recognized because I truly love what I do.”