Remembering Dr. Charles Metten; A Light in the Arts of Southern Utah

Published: September 28, 2018 | Read Time: 2 minutes

Chuck MettenIt is with sorrow that Southern Utah University shares the news that Dr. Charles L. Metten, founding dean of the College of Performing and Visual Arts and long-time director, actor, and administrator at the Utah Shakespeare Festival, passed away on the morning of September 27 at the age of 91.

“Chuck inspired all of us with his humor, honesty, and genuine love for humanity,” said CPVA Dean Shauna Mendini. “He loved this school and the arts. Chuck will be dearly missed.” 

Metten came to SUU in July 1998 to serve as the founding dean of the College of Performing and Visual Arts until his retirement in 2004. He provided the leadership and advocacy needed to successfully launch the college. Under his watch, he organized and updated several bachelor degrees, started a new emphasis in graphic design, launched the MFA in Arts Administration program and moved many of the faculty and instructional functions of the college under one roof, at South Hall.

“We learned so much from Chuck,” said Festival Founder Fred C. Adams. “We learned devotion and dedication. We learned how important the human spirit was. We will definitely miss our good friend.”

Metten began his involvement with the Festival in 1966 when he directed Julius Caesar. He has since appeared as an actor at the Festival numerous times. In 2005, he began work at the Festival as the director of the Plays-in-Progress Program, nurturing new playwrights and their work through a program that has since evolved into what is now known as Words Cubed. Metten retired from the Festival in 2017.

Metten was born in Fort Bragg, California, on September 7, 1927. He studied Theater Arts at the University of California in Los Angeles where he earned his bachelor and master degrees. He went on to obtain a doctorate at the State University of Iowa in Speech and Dramatic Arts in 1960. He worked at Brigham Young University as the associate director of the Honors Program, chairman of the Department of Speech and Dramatic Arts, and chairman of the Department of Theatre and Cinematic Arts.

He received many awards in his life, including the Kennedy Center ACTF Lifetime Achievement Award and the National Arts and Humanities Award. He appeared on Touched by an Angel, Promised Land, and “Movies of the Week” television films. He was above all else the dearest friend.

During a celebration in August for the 20th Anniversary of the College of Performing and Visual Arts, Metten took the stage and told wonderful stories of his time at SUU and the Utah Shakespeare Festival. Of his time as the dean at SUU, he shared, “The College is a great part of sweet and important memories for me. I believe CPVA produces dedicated professional artists, scholars, and teachers who bring happiness and worth to those whose lives they have touched.”

Dr. Charles Metten made a lasting impact on the arts and culture of the region. He will be deeply missed.

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