I knew going in, Senior Thesis 2020 would be a wholly unique experience. I have taught our capstone course for many years, but have always done so collaboratively. With my colleague Lynn Silverman on sabbatical and a smaller graduating class, this would be the year our department moved to a new model. Also, after envisioning the implementation of our newly founded Endowed Chair of Photography, the inaugural Chair, Dr. Deborah Willis Ph.D. would be linked to my class and walk this important road with us.
To say that embarking on a yearlong, senior thesis project presents enormous creative and personal challenges is an understatement. At this stage of their development, what we ask of our students is to be fearless. We ask them to take up the mantle of their future lives and truly implement what they’ve practiced during their undergraduate experience. I often say being an artist is not for the faint of heart. We must be agile, develop the desire to stand firm on a moving platform and thrive in an uncertain environment. I can’t help but feel my class of 2020 is being baptized by fire.
A month has passed since COVID-19 shut us down. From my new social distance, I’ve witnessed a great range of emotion. Although the disbelief, frustration and anger seem to be shifting, the reality remains. My class continues to work intensely and with great passion. They have created compelling and beautiful work over their senior year at MICA. What I know now, is that their dedication to their practice and to each other has been forged. This will fortify and serve them always.
To the Mica Photo class of 2020, thank you for being so brave and for working so sincerely towards your goals. I admire you and feel privileged to be walking this path alongside you.
Regina DeLuise, Professor of Photography, Maryland Institute College of Art
April 18th 2020
© Jay Gould