Albany, N.Y.’s gain is certainly Albany, Ga.’s loss.
Word came Monday that Dr. Leory Bynum, dean of the Albany State University College of Arts and Humanities, will be leaving after more than two decades to take a similar position in mid July at The College of St. Rose in the New York capital.
His departure will create a huge void that will have to be filled at our university.
Bynum, a world-class tenor who was recruited to ASU by his predecessor, Dr. T. Marshall Jones, is in his 21st year at ASU. During that time, a program that took great strides under Jones has continued to progress greatly under the talented Bynum, who has been an able administrator working under less-than-ideal conditions as far as facilities.
“It’s time to make a change,” Bynum told The Albany Herald on Monday. “I’ve enjoyed my time here at Albany State. … I’ve been here almost 22 years, which is 20 years more than I ever thought I’d be in one place.
“My season here has come to an end and I am looking forward to a new, exciting beginning.”
Jones, in an interview published today in our SouthView section as part of our A table with a View series, spoke highly of Bynum, who he described as “just a brilliant, brilliant young man.”
“We brought him in and persuaded him to join the (ASU) team,” Jones remarked. “The rest of it has been history, as far as what he has done to enhance and move the department.”
Indeed, Bynum has managed to make those enhancements despite the desperate need for a new fine arts center at Albany State. The $28.8 million facility has been caught up in politics and setbacks, with Bynum noting in a guest commentary published in The Albany Herald in January 2013 that the project had been held up a record 13 years since its initial approval by the University System Board of Regents. Its record will now reach at least 14 years. One wonders how much progress Bynum could have made in that time had he had adequate facilities to combine with his superior talent.
“Albany State’s Fine Arts Department is a jewel in ASU’s and Albany’s crown,” Bynum noted in his column. “The department has amassed highly talented faculty, produced outstanding graduates and has provided exceptional cultural outreach programs for all of Southwest Georgia.”
The ASU programs, he wrote, had “proven that they deserve a building in which to grow. And ASU has proven its need for such a facility to serve all of its students, the university community and Southwest Georgia.”
But in the end, brick and mortar do not a legacy make. The beautiful music and vocals that Bynum has brought to the world, and to our community, are his legacy. The students who Bynum has taught, directed and influenced are his legacy. The skills he has demonstrated as a teacher and administrator are his legacy. The example he has set for others is his legacy.
He will be missed. We wish him good fortune as he opens this new season of his life.
— The Albany Herald Editorial Board