NIU mourns retired CVPA associate dean Wells

Philip S. Wells
Philip S. Wells

Philip S. Wells, former associate dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts and a professor in the School of Art, died Monday, Sept. 5, at his home in Laconia, N. H. He was 81.

Wells joined the art education faculty at NIU in 1968, arriving from Schenectady, N.Y., where he had been head of the Art Department in the Niskayuna Public Schools.

He received his Ed. D. from Teachers College, Columbia University.

In 1970, Wells became assistant dean of the College of Fine and Applied Arts, a few years later assuming the title of associate dean in the re-formed College of Visual and Performing Arts. He held this post until the fall of 1989, at which time he returned to full-time teaching in the School of Art.

He retired from NIU in August of 1990.

“During his tenure as associate dean, Wells was a source of support, counsel and patient advisement for numerous students and faculty, and his knowledge of the inner workings of the university, especially its academic procedures, was revered,” said Rich Holly, dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts. “His elfin sense of humor and the ability to spin a yarn were also wonderful assets to his teaching and to otherwise dull committee meetings.”

Both Wells and his wife of 51 years, Diane, who survives him, were  active in the arts community of both DeKalb and Sycamore during his tenure at NIU, and they continued to be active in those roles after their retirement to Laconia.

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