Artist, professor emeritus, Western Michigan University photography pioneer and long-time supporter, Jack Carney is truly a living legend. We sat down with him to hear his story and learn more about his role in the creation of WMU’s photography program.
Fifty years ago right now, Carney was in his second semester of teaching at Western Michigan University. Just a twenty-five-year-old “hot shot kid full of energy,” he was brought in as a member of WMU’s largest hire class, a group tasked with widening the curricular offerings at an institution known only at the time as a college for teachers.
“We newbies were given the charge by the president and provost to create a university,” Carney remembered. “The students needed more major alternatives than education.”
Carney and his peers in the Department of Art eagerly took the reins in fulfilling this lofty assignment. But no one at the time could ever have imagined just how much Carney would actually contribute. In fact, his work would ultimately earn him the moniker “founding father” of Western’s photography program.