Arne R. Flaten
Commencement speaker, August 2014
Arne Flaten, professor of art and chair of Coastal Carolina University's Department of Visual Art, spoke on the topic “Carpe Diem: Of Dead Poets and Epistemology.”
“Don’t wait for your future passively,” said Flaten. “Go get it. Seize the day! Seize your lives. Take responsibility for your actions…. Enjoy your successes, but relish your mistakes, too. We frequently learn more from our failures than our triumphs…. And be ready, because life doesn’t unfold the way you think it will. That would be boring.”
In addition to being persistent in the face of failure, Flaten advised the graduates to value the journey of life in addition to the destination. “…it’s not all about getting somewhere, it’s about the thrill of the ride.”
In 2014, Flaten was elected to the European Academy of Sciences and Arts (EASA); he is the first professor in the University’s history, and the first in the state of South Carolina, to receive this distinction. He was the HTC Distinguished Teacher-Scholar Lecturer at Coastal Carolina University in 2013. His research has been supported by the Fulbright Commission, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, the J. Paul Getty Research Institute and the Renaissance Society of America. He joined the faculty in 2003.
Flaten earned a bachelor’s degree in art studio and English literature from St. Olaf College in Minnesota, where he was elected Phi Beta Kappa. After teaching in Israel and Rwanda, he earned a master’s and doctoral degrees in art history from Indiana University at Bloomington.