Joanna Friesen | Leadership Excellence and Dedicated Service in Texas
Joanna Friesen received her PhD in Theatre with a concentration in Dance from Florida State University in 1977. After teaching in several universities, she directed the Dance program at the University of Houston for 21 years, was named Texas Dance Educator of the Year in 1997 and was inducted into the Texas Dance Educator Hall of Fame in 2000. At the University of Houston, she established Aesthetic workshops for teachers, developed dance minor and dance major programs, dance teacher certification, and produced dance concerts and dance workshops. She served on the Houston Cultural Arts Council, the Texas Commission on the Arts, and the Texas Education Agency Fine Arts panel. When she retired from the University of Houston in 1998, the Joanna Friesen Dance Scholarship was established for deserving young dancers. She helped found the National Dance Education Organization and volunteered as director of exhibits for the National conventions from 1998 to 2014. She worked as stage manager for Deborah Hay and Dance Salad Houston, and currently volunteers as the Sims Bayou Watershed Representative of the Bayou Preservation Association and with the Houston Audubon Society and the Alzheimers Association.