Averett University celebrates annual Founders’ Day and the life of professor Robert Marsh

Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 5:28 PM EST
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DANVILLE, Va. (WDBJ) -Students, alumni, and community members gathered at the Violet T. Frith Fine Arts Center Thursday morning to celebrate Averett’s 164th annual Founders’ Day.

“It’s a great chance for our current students to see what an education can do for them and maybe be inspired by something that they hear, network with people that they’re meeting and get really reinvigorated for what’s to come in their futures,” said Cassie Jones, Associate Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Averett University.

This year’s Founders’ Day was in honor of the late Professor Robert Marsh, who passed away last fall.

Professor Diane Kendrick was Marsh’s colleague for 47 years.

“He was a one of the most joyful, laughter-filled people I’ve ever met,” said Diane Kendrick, Professor of Art at Averett University. “He never had a bad day. He never had an unkind thing to say about people, he encouraged his students, and he was a great artist.”

Professor Marsh began teaching at Averett in 1969 and stayed there for 54 years – the longest of any professor.

“He had more than five decades of impact on students’ lives and he has touched so many, and he is well known and renowned in the art community. Not just here locally, but far beyond that. He will be greatly missed. He already is sorely missed here on our campus,” added Jones.

He was a well-known artist locally and nationally as his work has been shown in galleries and museums across the country.

“He had this energy that filled the room, or drained into a pool, that made you feel inspired and just really excited to get started,” said Jordan Silveria, Averett University Alumni. “He was like our own Averett Bob Ross.”