For this first post of our newly designed website, we thought it would be fitting to recount a very significant event that happened at the start of this fall semester. On September 1st people came together to celebrate Visual Arts Professor Dan Bailey’s long and renowned tenure as Director of the Imaging Research Center at UMBC. Dan led the IRC for 17 years, but stepped down last August to devote his time fully to teaching animation and other courses in the Department of Visual Arts once again. When Dan took over, the very small center, then in the engineering building, was devoted almost exclusively to doing 3D computer animation, one project at a time. Dan played a key role in locating the center in the ITE building when it opened in 2003. As he steps down, the lab is usually working on half a dozen projects including not only 3D animation, but mobile apps, interactive kiosks and installations, documentary films, and cutting edge web-based applications that visualize data and knowledge in novel and exciting ways. The staff has grown and so has the number of students, undergraduate and graduate, who work on IRC research projects.
At September’s gathering, people came forward to share stories about Dan as Director. Again and again, remarks centered on the kind of person Dan is to work with. Faculty and students spoke of the ways in which they benefitted from Dan’s insight, experience, ability to listen, and the practical but poetic mentorship and assistance he provided. Administrators shared their appreciation for the fact that Dan had uncommon empathy for their concerns, rather than merely his own or those of the center.
As I now begin my new role as Director, the many things I learned from Dan, and the meaningful experiences I had, with his support, as Associate Director for 12 years, are always with me and I know the other IRC staff share my sentiments. We will miss Dan’s daily presence here, but know he will be around—a lot, we hope. We wish him the best in his renewed pursuit of his teaching, and in his continued work as an artist.