Film Studios Dedicated in Memory of Beloved Founding Dean

Published: August 18, 2023 | Author: Kol Gibson | Read Time: 5 minutes


Chuck Metten's daughters see memorial plaque after unveiling.The SUU Department of Filmmaking, Art, & Design is proud to announce the dedication of its new film studios to the memory of Dr. Charles L. Metten, founding dean of the College of Performing & Visual Arts (CPVA). An unveiling of the studios took place on July 18, 2023 with many of Dr. Metten’s family, friends, and former colleagues in attendance. The ceremony included remarks from CPVA Dean Shauna Mendini, Interim Managing Director of the Utah Shakespeare Festival (USF) Michael Bahr, and Dr. Metten’s daughter, Sharon Law.

Before he passed away in September of 2018, Dr. Metten, affectionately called “Chuck,” outlined his vision for the College of Performing & Visual Arts. He said, “The motivated and interested students of the world desperately need a scholarly program focused on professional and active film, video, and television production and the facilities in which they can develop these skills.” The first half of his dream was fulfilled with SUU’s fully-accredited Filmmaking program, which made its debut in the fall of 2022. The second is fulfilled in Bristlecone Hall’s new state-of-the-art film studios.

Filmmaking student with cameraSUU’s Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Filmmaking degree is the only BFA of its kind in the state of Utah, as well as the first interdisciplinary program of its kind at the University. Built on the Humanities & Social Sciences film and screen studies minor and multiple programs within CPVA, it emphasizes theory, storytelling skills, aesthetic concepts, visual organization, and strong production skills to created successful filmmakers. The filmmaking facilities in Bristlecone Hall include a recording studio, a white cyclorama studio, a large sound stage, and a film resource center where filmmaking students can borrow supplies and equipment. These spaces allow students to learn how to engage in the filmmaking process from start to finish, preparing them for a career in such a competitive field.

In her welcoming remarks, Dean Mendini recounted memories of Dr. Metten and the impact he made on this campus. “Chuck loved all of the arts, but especially film,” she said. “His office was lined with signed film posters and he brought all sorts of big names in film to rub shoulders with our students. Though the filmmaking program is fairly new on campus, it has a history that stretches back decades, and that history begins with Chuck Metten.”

Former dean of CPVA Chuck Metten's headshot.Chuck served as CPVA’s dean from July 1998 until his retirement in 2004, but he was no stranger to SUU when he began his tenure as dean; he began his involvement with the Utah Shakespeare Festival as the director of Julius Caesar in 1966, and from that time, he returned as an actor many times and eventually directed USF’s Plays-in-Progress Program, nurturing new playwrights and their work for more than a decade after his retirement as dean.

After Dean Mendini’s welcome, Michael Bahr, interim managing director of the Utah Shakespeare Festival regaled the group with stories of working with Dr. Metten from the time he was 10 years old. He sincerely thanked the Metten family for loaning their father to the University for so many years. “We are richly blessed to have these studios and Chuck’s vision on campus,” said Bahr. “This program will grow like many of the others that he planted and nurtured at SUU and with the Festival.”

Finally, Sharon Law stood before the group with one of her father’s many 3-ring binders filled with nearly 800 thoughts that he collected throughout his life. Among those sayings was “Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.” Sharon remarked that her family recognized the unveiling of the film studios and her father’s recognition as a golden moment. She said, “Dad’s time here in Cedar City is what kept him going to the age of 91. Today, dad’s dream has become a reality. We are so proud and grateful for his legacy to carry forward at SUU.”

Chuck's immediate family stands in front of plaqueThe program ended with the official unveiling of a dedicatory plaque featuring a photo of Chuck with his warm smile and signature sweater. Located directly next to the recording studios at the south end of Bristlecone Hall, the plaque states that “The students who enter here are creating the future that Chuck saw and continuing the successful legacy of the college that he helped to found.” 

For more information about SUU’s Filmmaking degree or to apply to the program, please visit


About the College of Performing and Visual Arts

The College of Performing and Visual Arts (CPVA) at Southern Utah University comprises 41 academic programs including liberal arts (BA/BS) and professional (BFA, BM, BMEd) degrees in art, design, dance, filmmaking, music, and theatre. It includes graduate programs in the fields of arts administration (MFA, MA), music education (MME), and music technology (MM). More than 60 full-time faculty and staff are engaged in teaching and mentoring over 900 majors in the College. CPVA presents over 100 performances, lectures, presentations, and exhibitions each year and is affiliated with the Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA), Utah Shakespeare Festival, and the Center for Shakespeare Studies. Southern Utah University is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD), National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD), National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), and the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST) making SUU the first public university in the state of Utah to be accredited by all four associations. For more information about the College of Performing and Visual Arts, visit

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Kol Gibson