Former music student speaks to college


Convocation is a way of broadening horizons and teaching each other the importance of uniting the college as a whole.

“We are stronger when we work together,” Dean Mark McPhail said when mentioning why the convocation is important to the university.


Every year, an alumni from each department within the College of Arts and Communication is chosen to speak at the Convocation. A student volunteer and a faculty member are also invited to speak.

It was the music department’s turn to choose the featured speaker this year.

They chose Dr. Nathanael May, who graduated from UW-Whitewater in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in music with an emphasis in performance.

May received the Outstanding Recent Alumni Award at Founders Day last year.

In addition, he also won the American Prize, which is awarded annually during national competitions in June, and the Dr. James Scanlon Service-Leader Award for creating the “Hands on 4 St. Joe” program.

The program allows children in the St. Joseph Community to play the piano for free.

May is currently an assistant professor of piano and piano pedagogy, the art of teaching, at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph.

He is not only a teacher, he is also the founder and artistic director of the “SoundSCAPE Composition and Performance Exchange,” which is held in Italy every year.

May has taken his pianistic skills worldwide, playing on three continents, including  Europe, Asia and the United States.


Being a current UW-Whitewater alumnus, May said it is important to learn studies outside of your main major.

By attending UW-Whitewater, May said he was able to gain knowledge of other important courses and use the skills from the courses in his everyday life.

McPhail said creating a common identity is the main goal for the College of Arts and Communication because so many students and faculty never get the chance to meet other faculty and students from the college.

May, like McPhail, said that convocation should remind everyone that there is, and should be, a common unity in the college between all the departments.

The Convocation should not just challenge students, but May said it should also challenge faculty to learn new ways of teaching and learning in a college environment.

May said the convocation can be a great motivator for students and faculty because it challenges them in new ways by looking at their field by considering new perspectives.

The mission of the College of Arts and Communication is “To cultivate and inspire creativity, inquiry and expression through engaged education in the fine, performing, and communicative arts and professions.”

“It is important for people to advocate for the arts,” McPhail said. With such events as Convocation, the College of Arts and Communication will become stronger as a whole, he added.