Four Fine Arts staff members honored with President’s Outstanding Staff Awards


April 23, 2024

Four staff members in the College of Fine Arts were recognized this month with the President’s Outstanding Staff Award: Kevin Crook, Earnest Mazique, David A. Rezaei and Henry Smith. The program honors and recognizes the invaluable contributions of outstanding staff members who have had a significant impact on the University. The recipients were all nominated by their colleagues and supervisors and selected for the award.

Please join us in congratulating these worthy recipients in the College of Fine Arts.

Kevin Crook
Kevin Crook, Director of Human Resources

Kevin Crook, Director of Human Resources
College of Fine Arts
Kevin Crook joined the University in 2012 and has worked in a variety of roles supporting human resources in the past dozen years. He’s led the Human Resources office of the College of Fine Arts since 2018, where he oversees employee relations and staff recruitment and hiring. In the past year, Kevin played a key role in the college’s strategic planning process while continuing to improve the employee experience in the college, from recruitment and retention to orientation and training.

“Kevin’s hard work has led to a positive impact across the college,” said Nisreen Singharaj, assistant dean for Business Operations. “From proactively training managers to serving as a staff advocate to playing a pivotal role in the college’s strategic planning, Kevin’s contributions are invaluable.”


Earnest Mazique
Earnest Mazique, Academic Production Technology Manager

Earnest Mazique, Academic Production Technology Manager
Texas Performing Arts
Earnest Mazique joined the University in 2015, and he’s worked in the college since 2018, first as the integrated media shop supervisor and Payne Theatre technical coordinator, and most recently as the academic production technology manager in Texas Performing Arts. He supervises the implementation of lighting, sound and media for all large productions in the Department of Theatre and Dance and the Butler School of Music Opera Series.

“Whenever Earnest’s name comes up in conversation with students or faculty, they always respond, ‘Thank goodness for Earnest’ or ‘I love Earnest!’” said Jeff Grapko, director of fabrication and academic production in Texas Performing Arts. “He’s always willing to go out of his way to make sure everyone around him has what they need to succeed.”


David Rezaei headshot
David Rezaei, Admissions Coordinator for the School of Design and Creative Technologies

David A. Rezaei, Undergraduate Admissions Coordinator for the School of Design and Creative Technologies
College of Fine Arts
David Rezaei joined the College of Fine Arts in 2019 to coordinate recruitment efforts of prospective students for the School of Design and Creative Technologies. As the the admissions point-of-contact for all prospective undergraduate students interested in majoring in Design or Arts & Entertainment Technologies, David helps shepherd applicants through UT’s process. In his role, he’s worked to expand the college’s relationships with Texas school districts and community-based organizations to expand the applicant pool for the School of Design and Creative Technologies.

“We are lucky to have someone like David in his role as an admissions coordinator,” said James Tolleson, Director of Admissions and Scholarships. “He recognizes that to support talent in the way the University’s strategic plan envisions, we are called to connect our job duties to their purpose: David doesn’t just see himself as a recruiter of students, he seems himself as instrumental to their success. And he is.”

Henry Smith
Henry Smith, Assistant Fabrication Manager

Henry Smith, Assistant Fabrication Manager
Department of Design
Henry Smith has overseen the Design Lab in the Department of Design since 2019. In this role, he serves as the caretaker of the Rob Roy Kelly American Wood Type Collection and helps students learn to use foundational design tools as part of their Design education. He’s worked to reconsider how the lab is meeting the needs of current students' interests to encourage hands-on experimentation with analogue tools and historical printmaking media.

“Once in a blue moon, you come across a person who is so wholly suited for their work that you can’t imagine anyone else doing it. That’s Henry Smith in his role as manager of fabrication in the Design Department,” said Kate Canales, chair of the Department of Design. “In five years, Henry has taken what might have seemed nothing more than a room full of old printing equipment and forged a program. Actually, he’s forged a philosophy. There is almost no aspect of departmental life that Henry hasn’t influenced, and his thoughtful views on the power of making has been infused in the way we host events to the curriculum and how we teach it. In particular, The Design Lab under Henry’s direction has become a sanctuary, an active archive, a destination for scholars who study type and letterpress, a vital space for students, staff and faculty. He seems to never tire, to never run out of curiosity, to never cease to improve. He does all of this collaboratively, rather quietly, and with humility.”


Staff School of Design and Creative Technologies Texas Performing Arts College of Fine Arts Department of Design Arts and Entertainment Technologies

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