Remembering Dr. Melanie Buffington

October 6, 2020

Remembering Dr. Melanie Buffington

Melanie Buffington photo

It is with great sadness that our department wishes to acknowledge the passing of esteemed former graduate student and beloved colleague Melanie Buffington. Melanie lost her battle with meta-static breast cancer, dying on September 16, 2020 after a nine-year struggle. Born in Gainesville, FL in 1973, Melanie graduated from State College Area High School in 1991 and from Penn State University in 1995 with highest honors in Art Education. She interned in numerous museums here and abroad. Melanie served as a middle school art teacher in Frederick County, MD for three years. She enrolled at The Ohio State University in 1998 where she earned both an MA degree and a PhD degree in Art Education. Following graduation in 2004, she served as assistant professor of Art Education at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, MI until 2006 when she continued her career at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, VA. Melanie served as graduate director for Art Education at VCU for almost a decade. At the time of her passing, she was Interim Department Chair and Associate Professor of Art Education at VCU. Melanie gained many international experiences in Doha, Qatar where she taught summer school programs for seven years. She frequently participated in planning national and international conferences and workshops throughout her career. Dr. Buffington received numerous accolades including the National Art Education Association's 2015 National Higher Education Art Educator Award and The Ohio State University's Marantz Distinguished Alumni Award just a year ago in March of 2019. Her presentation and award celebration was captured on film, which highlights the legacy of her academic work, portrays her gentle nature, and honors her as a graduate of the Art Education program selected by current Arts Administration, Education and Policy graduate students.  

Melanie's memory shines bright in our hearts, as we recall her extensive professional and personal contributions, and the myriad of ways she has touched us as individals. She lives on in our memory, in our work, and in our vision of the future of art education. 

Melanie's 2019 Marantz Distinguished Alumni Award presentation is available to view below.