Mrs. Cynthia Newland, Associate Professor of Dance and Chair of the Belhaven College Dance Department, has been awarded the 2009 Higher Education Award from the Mississippi Alliance for Arts Education (MAAE). This award is given annually to one individual within the state of Mississippi who has made outstanding contributions to arts education at an institution of higher learning.

Mrs. Newland, who was chosen for this prestigious honor based upon the breadth and depth of her service to arts education during her 6-year tenure at Belhaven College, received her BFA from George Mason University and her MFA from Arizona State University. She has traveled extensively both nationally and internationally as a teacher, choreographer, and performer.

The 2009 Higher Education Award recognizes her service to improve the role of arts in her community, diligence in preparing future teachers, leadership in professional development both at home and abroad, and continued practice of her art as model for students and personal development. In the words of Dr. Penny K. Wallin, President of the Mississippi Alliance for Arts Education, “It is clear that a passion for art and for teaching has provided the energy to develop programs that are built on exceptionally high standards. Such commitment and dedication to the greater good of the arts in our state deserve to be recognized and celebrated."

The Higher Education Award will be formally presented to Mrs. Newland on April 2, 2009, at the MAAE Arts Education Awards Presentation during The Arts Front and Center Forum, to be held at the MSU Riley Center for Performing Arts in Meridian.