STILLPOINT Archive: last updated 03/30/2007

FEATURE | Bruce Herman Installed As Lothlórien Distinguished Chair

Story Cyndi McMahon
Photos Daniel Nystedt '06

Professor of art Bruce Herman, M.F.A., was installed as the Lothlórien Distinguished Chair in the Fine Arts on August 30, 2006. The Lothlórien Chair is the first fully endowed chair appointment at Gordon and was made possible by the generosity of Walter and Darlene Hansen, longtime supporters of the arts and of faculty development in Christian higher education. "This is a landmark appointment for Gordon College in many ways," says College Provost Mark Sargent. "Not only is it our first fully endowed chair, it also reaffirms Gordon's leadership role in the visual arts both within our region and within the Christian community nationwide."

The Hansens chose to name the chair for the "golden wood" of mallorn-trees in J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. Overseen by Galadriel, the most powerful elf of her age, and her husband, Celeborn, Lothlórien was a place of great beauty and peace, far from evil and danger, and resistant to the slow decay of time. Lothlórien, in the words of Tolkien, opened a "window that looked on a vanished world." Full of "gold and white and blue and green," Lothlórien was a place of great color and beauty--it provided sojourners a waking dream of ancient days and a vision of hope.

Dr. Hansen addressed Herman and his friends and colleagues at an evening reception held at the Barrington Center for the Arts. He began his remarks by saying, "Bruce, imagine you are sitting in a beautiful chair called the Lothlórien Chair. Inscribed upon its four legs are four lines from J. R. R. Tolkien's book The Fellowship of the Ring. These four lines are the mandate for your mission as the occupant of the Lothlórien Chair."

These four mandates, in brief, are as follows:

  1. None who encounter the Lothlórien Chair will escape unchanged. "Bruce, here is your mission: Don't let us escape unchanged. Bring us under the spell of art to break the spell of the world. Fill our minds with evocative images. Stir up our emotions. Lead us through a catharsis to purify our spirits and wills."
  2. The Lothlórien chair brings us inside a song. "Bruce, bring us inside the song! We feel lonely outside, knocking on locked doors but not getting inside. Give us open windows and open doors so we can get inside the song. We want to live inside the song."
  3. The Lothlórien Chair leads artists to touch and delight in wood . . . and marble and gold and all the basic elements of creation. "Bruce, lead us to delight in God's creation. Lead us to exalt in the goodness, beauty and truth of wood. Lead us to smell the wood and to rub our fingers on the wood until we feel the life within the wood."
  4. The Lothlórien Chair teaches artists to put the thought of all that they love into all that they make. "Bruce, teach us to live and work and create from love. Teach us unconditional generosity; to give not only our work, but also to give of ourselves in and through our work."

1. Bruce Herman with Darlene and Walter Hansen at an evening reception held at the Barrington Center for the Arts celebrating Bruce's installation.
2. Bruce speaks at his installation as the first recipient of the Lothlórien Distinguished Chair
3. Bruce greets friends and colleagues at the reception.


Bruce with Walter and Darlene Hansen
Bruce addresses the assembly
Bruce greets friends and colleagues