Press Release

Pace University Names Jennifer Holmes Executive Director of Pace School of Performing Arts

November 16, 2021

Pace University has named Jennifer M. Holmes, PhD, an internationally recognized leader in arts education, as its new executive director of the Pace School of Performing Arts (PPA).

In her role as executive director, Holmes will lead PPA’s academics, operations, budget, productions, and fundraising activities for its eight degree programs: BA Acting; BFA Acting; BFA Acting for Film, Television, Voice-overs, and Commercials; BFA Commercial Dance; BA Directing; BFA Musical Theater; BFA Production and Design for Stage and Screen; and BA Stage Management.

“We are delighted to welcome Jennifer Holmes to Dyson College and our Pace School of Performing Arts community,” said Tresmaine R. Grimes, dean, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences and School of Education. “Her impressive artistic background and leadership experience will be called upon as we continue to provide one of the most forward-thinking and sought-after performing arts school in New York City. We look forward to the many ways she will drive innovation, open artistic doors for our diverse population of talented students as well as expand Pace School of Performing Arts’ offerings.”

Holmes comes to Pace University from Long Island University (LIU) where she was the dean of the College of Arts, Communications, and Design at both the Post and Brooklyn campuses. She was named the inaugural dean of two new schools at LIU: The Roc Nation School of Music, Sports and Entertainment and the George Polk School of Communications. Prior to her tenure at LIU, she worked at The New School where she was the associate dean for Academic Affairs at The School of Drama. While there, she redesigned and updated the Drama BFA and MFA curricula, developed new initiatives at The College of Performing Arts, and directed the US premiere of Last Train to Tomorrow composed and conducted by Carl Davis at Alice Tully Hall and Shining Lights in the Lingering Night at The Great Hall, Cooper Union, in partnership with 400 Years of Inequality. Holmes also initiated the Cultural Change Task Force, a cohort of faculty, students, and administrators dedicated to fostering inclusive, diverse, and equitable theater arts practice. Further, Holmes began her teaching career as an adjunct at Pace University teaching world drama, theater history, and acting, and now comes full circle by rejoining the Pace community in her new role.

Regarding her appointment at Pace, Holmes said, “Pace Performing Arts has a history of nurturing courageous and creative thinkers who shape the arts industry here in America and abroad. I am proud to join this team of artists, educators, and administrators who together will expand the boundaries of contemporary theatre and performance. I look forward to sharing my experience with them and equally, learning from them. Graduates of Pace Performing Arts are positioned to be the change makers and innovators who will ensure our industry is more imaginative, more equitable, more diverse and more inclusive. I am thrilled and inspired by the opportunity to lead one of the most exciting and highly regarded performing arts schools in the world.

Holmes holds a PhD and an MA from New York University and a BA from Vassar College and is an internationally recognized leader in arts education. Her work as a performer and director has been seen in theater, film, and television. She is the founder and director of Global Empowerment Theatre, an international non-profit theater organization. She has devised theater in India, Kenya, Myanmar, Tanzania, the United Kingdom, and the US.

About the Pace School of Performing Arts

The Pace School of Performing Arts in the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences is one of the most sought-after undergraduate training destinations in the United States. Dedicated to providing the finest possible pre-professional education, ground-breaking programs re-imagine how young artists are trained for today’s industry. In addition, Dyson College’s strong liberal arts curriculum provides students with a solid educational foundation that enriches their professional development as artists, giving students a deeper understanding of themselves and the world. The school’s mission is to prepare students for careers as performers, designers, and technicians in today’s ever-changing entertainment industry with curricula that train students for both the world of theatre and dance as well as film and television.

About Dyson College

Pace University’s liberal arts college, Dyson College offers more than 50 programs, spanning the arts and humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and pre-professional programs (including pre-medicine, pre-veterinary, and pre-law), as well as many courses that fulfill core curriculum requirements. The College offers access to numerous opportunities for internships, cooperative education and other hands-on learning experiences that complement in-class learning in preparing graduates for career and graduate/professional education choices.

About Pace University

Since 1906, Pace University has educated thinking professionals by providing high quality education for the professions on a firm base of liberal learning amid the advantages of the New York metropolitan area. A private university, Pace has campuses in New York City and Westchester County, New York, enrolling nearly 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in its Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, Lubin School of Business, College of Health Professions, School of Education, School of Law, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems.

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