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Presidential Excellence

The faculty of the College of Fine Arts and Communication excel as Teachers, Scholars, Artists, and Leaders. The university’s Presidential Excellence Awards recognize and reward superior accomplishments in Teaching, Scholarly/Creative Activity, and Service.



Kaitlin Hopkins

Senior Lecturer/Lecturer, Theatre and Dance


Presidential Excellence Award  | Teaching

Kaitlin Hopkins is a senior lecturer in the Department of Theatre and Dance. She redesigned the B.F.A. in Musical Theatre into one of the top programs in the nation. She teaches musical theatre performance, audition technique, singing for the actor, and directs musical productions. She seeks to create a nationally recognized, pre-professional training program by recruiting the top students and providing them with distinctive experiences that promote personal character and overall wellbeing.


Daris Hale

Assistant Professor/Lecturer, Music


Presidential Excellence Award | Service

Daris Hale is passionate about music education. She has performed for over a half-million central Texas schoolchildren, commissioned and recorded 14 new children’s pieces, produced children’s classical music albums, and worked with Emmy award-winning, national TV projects to promote classical music. She is a Fulbright Alumni Ambassador for the Council of International Exchange Scholars, as well as the Fulbright Campus Liaison for Texas State University.



Sean Horan

Associate Professor, Communication Studies


Presidential Seminar Award

Sean Horan holds a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from West Virginia University, and was an assistant professor when he was selected for this award. His research interests primarily include affection, deception, sexual communication, deceptive affection, and workplace romance. He was recently recognized by two journals as one of the top 25 communication scholars in the nation based on the quality and quantity of his scholarship. He has published 35 research articles and presented 50+ papers at conferences.