Doors open for successful people because they have great passion and find great value in what they do. Dr. Denise Seachrist’s stage in higher education is impressive. As an intelligent, creative, hard-working lifelong learner, her teaching and administrative leadership skills place her an octave above the rest.
With humble beginnings as a graduate teaching assistant in music at Kent State University nearly 30 years ago, Denise rose to become dean and chief administrative officer at Kent State University at Stark in North Canton, Ohio, in 2016.
Denise enrolled in Heidelberg in 1978 to study music – her true passion. Whenever there was a chance to perform, Denise was among the first to sign up. She put her vocal talents on display as a member of the Concert Choir, the Chamber Singers and the Singing Collegians. She also performed as a member of the Symphonic Band and the Athletic Band. Since graduation, she has continued to support the School of Music & Theatre as a Friend of Heidelberg Music (now Berg Bravo!).
Denise has made music education her career. She earned her master’s degree in vocal performance from Youngstown State University in 1985 and followed that with her Ph.D. in musicology-ethnomusicology from Kent State University in 1993. She excelled in research, scholarship and teaching. By now, she would make Kent State her permanent professional home, sharing her love and passion for music with today’s students.
Following the completion of her own education, she began teaching music at Kent State in 1993, initially as a part-time instructor. In 1995, she was elevated to assistant professor at the Kent State at Trumbull regional campus, ultimately earning a promotion to associate professor in 2001 and then full tenured professor of music in 2009.
Prior to her current appointment, Denise was the director of Kent State’s Hugh A. Glauser School of Music from 2008-14. She previously served as interim associate provost, interim dean for Academic and Student Services for Regional Campuses and interim assistant dean of Kent State at Trumbull.
Denise has been recognized multiple times for her stellar career as a faculty member and administrator, receiving the Trumbull Campus Outstanding Administrator Award for Leadership and Service and the Outstanding Full-Time Faculty Service Award. She also was selected as one of four delegates to represent Kent State in a 17-day educational exchange to China.
She has lent her expertise to a variety of professional organizations, including the Warren Philharmonic Orchestra board and as past chair of the University Teaching Council. A specialist in the music of both historical and living German religious communities in Pennsylvania, Denise serves as the president of the Communal Studies Association. She has served on editorial advisory boards and stays active in the Stark County community with board positions with ArtsinStark, the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Canton Symphony.
In addition to authoring 25 refereed journal articles and other scholarly publications, Denise is the author of Snow Hill: In the Shadows of the Ephrata Cloister and The Musical World of Halim El-Dabh.