By Karl Schneider
Arts and Humanities plays an important role in colleges and in the life pursued afterwards. This year marks Dr. Robert Beckstrom’s anniversary of 25 at LCCC.
Beckstrom became a faculty member at LCCC in 1989. After three years of teaching, he found himself as the Acting Division Director of Arts and Humanities Division.
“I never really thought I would be in administration,” said Beckstrom. When the previous dean left, a meeting was held to find a replacement. All the available candidates had declined the position, so they came to him asking if he would like to take it. “I thought I would try out the position, especially since my family needed a car. I enjoyed it and have been glad to continue on,” he said.
Music had always been a passion for Beckstrom. He began playing piano in elementary school then moved onto trumpet and saxophone in junior high. “In high school, I knew I wanted to pursue composition and was thinking about a career in composing,” he said.
Beckstrom has never wavered from his lifelong passion. After high school, he earned his bachelor, master and doctorate in music at UCLA. “I never changed majors and always had a clear goal,” said Beckstrom.
It took three years for him to secure a job he was happy with. “The beauty of LCCC was it had everything I wanted; [teaching music] theory and an orchestra, it was perfect,” said Beckstrom.
During Beckstrom’s time as dean, LCCC acquired a grant for summer theatre. The Division of Arts and Humanities was able to re-purpose the grant enabling them to produce operas. The first opera performed was Henry Purcell’s ‘Dido and Aenaes’. “We put on the opera Carmen the next year, but it was ultimately too expensive to produce an opera every year,” he said.
The challenging aspects of any job usually contrast the highlights. “Each problem I face is unique and so I have to carefully hear everyone out. You can apply experience but you can’t lean on experience. You have to see every new thing for what it is,” said Beckstrom. The dean tries to guide students to their professional and educational goals.