A celebration of life and retrospective is planned for Pamela Jayne (Champion) Price, fine arts teacher of Mr. and Mrs. Louis Rochester, starting at 1:30 p.m. on July 19.
Price retired from the staffed position in 2010. She died May 22 at age 77. She was married to attorney Joel Roderick Price, who died in 2015.
Price majored in printmaking, painting, and drawing at Georgia State University where she earned her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Fine Arts in Printmaking from the University of Georgia.
She spent most of her career at the University of Texas Permian Basin, building the arts program, hiring several professors who are on the faculty today, and winning numerous awards and honors over the years. year.
Friends say she had had health problems. Travis Woodward, executor of Price’s estate, had known Price for 35 years. She had two brothers, the youngest of whom predeceased her.
“When I went to work at university, she was working there and she had moved to Odessa. Her husband, Rod Price, had just finished law school and she moved here to establish herself in this field. She had an MFA, which is a terminal degree,” Woodward said.
She wanted to teach at the college level and the UTPB had opened. She applied for work in a number of places. The UTPB initially hired her on a part-time basis. According to the UTPB, she retired in 2016.
“They were at the Founders Building. This is where the art building was at the time and it did for several years,” she added.
Price applied for a full-time position when it opened. Woodward said it was another time and another culture. They didn’t hire her for the full-time position.
“…They hired someone else from outside and it was a man. She went to the academic vice president, Ed Becht, and she asked him why. He said her husband would support her, but men had to be able to support their families and that’s why he hired this man,” Woodward said.
“At that time she told him her husband was a lawyer…” she added.
Ultimately, Price was hired full-time.
“We forget, I think, how far we’ve come in the workplace. People aren’t where they need to be now don’t get me wrong but no one who would hire you would ever say they didn’t hire you because you could be supported by your husband and that man had a family to maintain,” Woodward said.
Price’s late husband was an assistant district attorney for Ector County. Woodward said Rod Price has retired.
Woodward said Price was a very strong personality.
“She was very creative and one of the most generous people I know. She would help her students in many ways. If they needed help, she would ask them for help. She wrote checks. She would help people financially when they needed it,” Woodward said.
“She had no children and her students were her children and she stayed in contact with them. I still get emails and text messages from former students of hers. She was an incredibly creative, generous, generous spirit,” Woodward added.
Price was the head of the art department at UTPB and a tenured professor, which took a lot of effort.
“There still aren’t a lot of female tenured professors at the university, so she realized something and then got this endowed position that was very unusual…” Woodward said.
Along with building the art department, Price worked with the late UTPB President Charles Sorber to build the Charles A. Sorber Visual Arts Studios.
The celebration of Price’s life will begin at 1:30 p.m. on July 19 at the Nancy Fyfe Cardozier Gallery at Charles A. Sorber Visual Arts Studios on campus. A retrospective of Price’s work will be presented.
Woodward said organizers encourage people to come up with stories about Price and how they know her.
UTPB associate art professor Chris Stanley said there was never any question that Price’s celebration would be held at UTPB.
“But having the memorial in the gallery that Pam literally envisioned is just very, very important,” Stanley said.
Stanley takes care of the selection of his works for the exhibition.
“It will only last two or three days. There will be an exhibit of about 20 of her different mediums that she worked on primarily for the memorial,” Stanley said.
He recalled that Price called him for an interview on June 10, 1992.
“I was 26 at the time and by Father’s Day…I had an interview and she was giving me an offer for the job,” Stanley said. “She changed the whole trajectory of my life. Very rarely in a person’s existence can we identify a moment and a person. I had never worked with such a visionary in education. Pam literally designed a four-year arts curriculum that, for the most part, still exists today at UTPB. She had a foresight, a long-term view that most people I’ve worked with don’t have,” Stanley said.
“She was absolutely an incredible educator, an incredible artist, an incredible friend and an incredible mentor,” he added.
Stanley said Price was one of three people allowed to call him early in the morning.
“During Pam’s time at UTPB, she was at the forefront of a change in the way the university hired faculty, so Pam was an administrator. You didn’t see a lot of women back then in positions of power at the university, so in a way, she opened those doors, and in a fascinating way, she opened those doors for her students… said Stanley.
At the time, many students were women.
“…They got to see a self-directed artist (and) a visionary leader both in the studio and then in management,” Stanley said.
He added that he had had female bosses before and that Price was very fair.
“She was wonderful,” Stanley said.
When he passed away, he said he was not shocked, but sad beyond words.
“…It’s one of those things where death happens to all of us and you can’t necessarily choose the time in a certain way and so the way it was brought to us was a shock because I think it was very sudden and unexpected,” Stanley said.
He said the visual arts building is a testament to Price’s passion and means. The art department was previously in a Quonset hut which leaked every time it rained.
“…When we were in the old condemned building that was on South Campus, there were issues that we obsessed over until we found a way to solve them and that issue became this arts building visuals. I think it’s very rare that an academic ever has the pleasure of being surrounded by that kind of energy and that energy resulted in this positive manifestation. This visual arts building has given so many young people careers, artistic lives; it’s fascinating. Now we are starting to see the children of the children we have taught in this building every time it has been built now come to school at UTPB. We’re actually at a point now where we have second-generation kids coming into this building, which is absolutely amazing.
The building opened on January 13, 1999. Stanley said he built the entire art department in about 13 days.
“…Basically Pam came from a generation where they were persistent and they persevered through a lot of adversity. They didn’t do it for their own benefit, but for their students and future students,” Stanley said.
When Price retired, a scholarship was created.
“The institution helped us raise $20,000 for a scholarship. We know that the estate is going to give us another $10,000, which will bring this scholarship up to $30,000. My goal is to raise an additional $10,000 with memorial donations in Pam’s name to the Pam Price Scholarship Fund so that we can increase this amount to $40,000. It would help two students to go to school,” Stanley said.