Penn State Laureate


NEW! 2018-19 Penn State Laureate announced: Meet John Champagne, professor of English and chair of the Global Languages and Cultures program at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College


The Penn State Laureate is an annual faculty honor established in 2008 to bring greater visibility to the arts, the humanities, the honoree’s work, and the University. The Laureate brings an enhanced level of social, cultural, artistic, and human perspective and awareness to a broad array of audiences. Learn more below about the current Laureate’s ongoing work.

The annual honoree is a full-time faculty member who is assigned half-time to serve as the University Laureate for one academic year. The Laureate appears regularly at events throughout Pennsylvania. Other responsibilities include:

  • Visits to Penn State campuses throughout the Commonwealth
  • WPSU-TV and radio appearances, readings, and features
  • Community outreach
  • Facilitating opportunities for other faculty and students to engage in the above activities

Read the Penn State Laureate Guidelines for more information.


The 2017-18 Penn State Laureate


The 2017-18 Penn State Laureate is Andrew Belser, professor of movement, voice, and acting and director of the Arts & Design Research Incubator (ADRI) in the College of Arts and ArchitectureAs laureate, he will tour the award-winning “FaceAge” exhibition — a multimedia video installation created from cross-generational conversations — throughout Pennsylvania, including community engagement, research and curricular components intended to facilitate intergenerational connections.

Belser is producer and director of “FaceAge,” whose partners include — in addition to the ADRI — the Center for Healthy Aging in the College of Health and Human Development and the Center for Geriatric Nursing Excellence in the College of Nursing. According to Belser, the partners envision the “FaceAge” tour as a chance to demonstrate how compelling outcomes emerge from dynamic cross-disciplinary collaborations. “This Penn State Laureate tour is ideally timed to play a significant role in launching ‘FaceAge’ toward national and international prominence, further broadcasting Penn State’s leadership as a progressive innovator in approaches to creative and research activity,” he said.

A Penn State faculty member since 2013, Belser previously served as chair and professor of theater at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, from 2011 to 2013, and head of theater at Juniata College from 1997 to 2011. He was the founding artistic director of The Gravity Project, a professional theater company, international performance research center, and new work incubator. His teaching and professional directing career has centered on movement forms, voice/breath work, interdisciplinary theater approaches, solo work, and, most recently, on translating neuroscience for performers. His book, “The Performer’s Field Guide to Applied Neuroscience,” will be published by Routledge in 2018.

Belser has directed more than 75 theater productions and maintains an active schedule of tutorials, master classes and workshops guiding professional actors toward deeper work through an innovative synthesis of movement, breath and voice work, along with attention to seeing, spatial perception and aligning performance with situated cognition. He is a Master Teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework and is also a certified teacher of Open Source Forms (Skinner Releasing heritage) and a certified teacher of Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement.



Recent Penn State Laureate News


Andrew Belser, 2017-18 Penn State Laureate, delivered a lecture Feb. 8, 2018, at Penn State Altoona.


March 30: 2018: Take Note: Penn State Laureate Hopes FaceAge Project Makes Viewers Think More Deeply About Aging

February 9, 2018: Heard on Campus: Andrew Belser at Penn State Altoona

January 31, 2018: Penn State Laureate Andrew Belser to visit Altoona campus

January 25, 2018: Heard on Campus: Andrew Belser at the Penn State Forum

November 1, 2017: Penn State Laureate to bring multimedia video installation to Beaver

October 17, 2017: Penn State Laureate brings exhibition to Penn State Fayette

September 19, 2017: Penn State Laureate to challenge views of aging at Penn State Abington

September 3, 2017: Penn State Laureate to bring FaceAge exhibit to Brandywine

September 6, 2017: Penn State Laureate brings FaceAge to Berks Sept. 20-22

August 28, 2017: FaceAge Pennsylvania tour kicks off Aug. 30

August 14, 2017: Huddle with the Faculty series to kick off 25th year on Sept. 2

July 3. 2017: Penn State Laureate Andrew Belser brings distant generations together through FaceAge

April 6, 2017: Andrew Belser named 2017-18 Penn State Laureate


Previous Penn State Laureates


2016-17: Rebecca Strzelec, Professor of Visual Arts at Penn State Altoona.

2015-16: Carol Reardon, George Winfree Professor of American History, College of the Liberal Arts, University Park

2014-15: Susan Russell, Associate Professor of Theatre, College of the Liberal Arts, University Park

2013-14: Kenneth Womack, Former Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of English and Integrative Arts, Penn State Altoona

2012-13: Christopher Staley, Distinguished Professor of Art, College of Arts and Architecture, University Park

2011-12: Linda Patterson Miller, Professor of English, Penn State Abington

2010-11: Robin Becker, Professor of English and Women’s Studies, College of the Liberal Arts, University Park

2009-10: Anthony T. Leach, Associate Professor of Music/Music Education, College of Arts and Architecture, University Park

2008-09: Kim Cook, Professor of Music in Cello, College of Arts and Architecture, University Park