Retirement News: Recognizing the Contributions of Bob Hansman, Ron Fondaw, and Mary Borgman

Posted by Sam Fox School June 17, 2020


The Sam Fox School would like to recognize the contributions of three long-serving faculty members who are retiring at the end of this academic year: associate professor Bob Hansman, professor Ron Fondaw, and senior lecturer Mary Borgman.

“Bob, Ron, and Mary have been inspiring members of our Sam Fox School community for many years, enriching the lives of our students through their teaching, as well as their professional work,” said Carmon Colangelo, the Ralph J. Nagel Dean of the Sam Fox School. “We are so thankful for their distinct contributions to the School, and wish them the best in their future endeavors.


Bob Hansman in Ivory Perry Park. Photo by Sid Hastings/WUSTL Photo

Associate professor of architecture Bob Hansman is retiring after 30 years with the University. For years, he has led the School's undergraduate community studies course, Community Building, Building Community, and has had his students work with residents of St. Louis’ 22nd Ward/Hamilton Heights, Kinloch, the Ville, and JeffVanderLou. He also has taught introductory and advanced drawing and painting classes at all levels of the curriculum. In 2015, he was appointed one of the Gephardt Institute’s inaugural Community Engagement Faculty Fellows; in this role, he served as a resident expert on the St. Louis region, providing guest lectures and tours of St. Louis as a "divided city."

Bob is also highly involved in community programs outside of the university, and his work as director of City Faces and the Jermaine Lamond Roberts Memorial Art Studio in the Clinton-Peabody Housing Project has garnered national attention and awards. Also an accomplished artist, he has held several solo exhibitions of his work in and around the St. Louis area. In 1997, he was inducted into the Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society. Other honors include a Missouri Arts Award, an Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award for Washington University, a Founder's Day Distinguished Faculty Award, the Gerry and Bob Virgil Ethic of Service Award, a FOCUS St. Louis "What’s Right With the Region" Award, the Rosa L. Parks Award for Meritorious Service to the Community, and the Dred Scott Freedom Award.

“Bob has truly been an energetic and colorful force who has extended our reach beyond the confines of the School into the community. He epitomizes the idea of practicing what you preach; his work exemplifies our mission and demonstrates the positive impact an artist can bring to community engagement while consistently addressing issues of equity and social justice.”—Carmon Colangelo

“Bob’s impact is universal. He taught students from all walks of life to inspire a more just, aware, and proactive community. Before social practice became a pillar focus of design education, Bob was mentoring first-year students, expanding their world view, motivating them to altruistic beliefs they carry throughout their lives. His beginnings at Washington University as an artist in an architecture school preceded the interdisciplinary model of the Sam Fox School. Bob was ahead of his time on all issues that mattered. He devoted his full life to the community on- and off-campus. A friend and inspiring colleague to many of us, Bob’s voice lives on, and we know that he will continue to challenge us and inspire the growth of self-reflection and activism." —Heather Woofter, director of the College of Architecture and Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design, and the Sam and Marilyn Fox Professor


Ron Fondaw, “Hole in The Border Wall.” Digital photo print.

Professor Ron Fondaw is retiring after 25 years with the University. Within the College and Graduate School of Art, he has served as area coordinator for the undergraduate sculpture major and also worked closely with students in the MFA in Visual Art program, including on community projects that promote positive health outcomes through art. Most recently, his students created site-specific works for an Affinia Healthcare facility and the Early Childhood Center at Grace Hill Settlement House. He also served as a faculty scholar in the University’s Institute for Public Health.

Ron maintains a cross-disciplinary practice, using a variety of media and methods to create art that is integral to daily life. His current work investigates the relationship between the mind, body, and environment. He has completed over 30 public art commissions and designed and built three homes. After a successful residency in 2011 at the Ceramic Art Village in Fuping, China, he organized a second residency in 2013, "River to River," in Nanjing, China, a sister city to St. Louis. He has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, and a Pollock-Krasner Foundation award. His works are in several major collections, including the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Columbus Museum of Art, and the Fule International Ceramic Art Museum (Fuping, China).

“Ron has been a dedicated teacher and prolific artist whose innovative work is well-known in the field of ceramics, as well as in public art and mixed media drawing and installation. His work has pushed media boundaries, and he has made many important contributions as a mentor to our students, including his time running the sculpture program.” —Carmon Colangelo

“Ron is a sculptor with a commitment to art as a means for communication. When in residence in the border town of Brownsville, Texas, he worked with local high school students to create gates in answer to the construction of a border wall dividing their town from Mexico. He taught them they can use their voices and hands to make a difference. The same is true in St. Louis, and Ron has been an important mentor to many sculptors and ceramicists. He leaves a big hole…which is only fitting!”—Amy Hauft, director of the College of Art and Graduate School of Art, and the Jane Reuter Hitzeman and Herbert F. Hitzeman, Jr. Professor of Art


Mary Borgman, “Portrait of Tomiwa Alabi”. 74”x 42”. Charcoal on Mylar.

Senior lecturer Mary Borgman is leaving after 15 years with the University. An alum of our BFA program, she has taught drawing to hundreds of undergraduate students in the foundations and studio art curriculum.

Mary is known for her monumental charcoal portraits, which begin with an intensive engagement with her subjects. In 2002, Ann Nathan Chicago began representing her artwork at annual exhibitions in the gallery and art shows in New York, Chicago, Florida, and Santa Fe. She was a semifinalist at the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition in 2009 at the National Portrait Gallery in the Smithsonian Institute. Seven of her large-scale charcoal drawings were later exhibited in a show called Portraiture Now: Drawing on the Edge, which debuted at the National Portrait Gallery and then moved to the Arkansas Art Center. Her work is included in various public collections, including the 21C Museum, the Tullman Collection, and the Mott-Warsh Collection, and has been shown in the Arnot Art Museum, the Muskegon Museum of Art, the Mitchell Museum, and the Joslyn Art Museum. She is currently represented by Gallery Victor Armendariz in Chicago.

“Mary is well-known as an excellent teacher—and one of our most popular. The student work that comes out of her portrait and figurative drawing classes has been consistently exceptional.” —Carmon Colangelo

“Mary is a beloved teacher here at Sam Fox, engendering legions of upperclassmen to urge their freshmen brethren—and sistren—to score a slot in her drawing course. She teaches the craft of capturing likeness—that little snap of cognition that arrives when recognizing the veracity of an artist’s looking and drawing. She will be dearly missed.” —Amy Hauft