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Be Driven by the Arts
The Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Awards
2012 Individual Award
Sam Wang was born in Beijing, China in 1939 and came to the United States to attend Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D., where he earned his BA in art. In 1966, he earned his MFA from the University of Iowa and accepted a position with the architecture faculty at Clemson University to teach art to architecture students. He developed the first photography program taught as Fine Art in South Carolina to graduate and undergraduate students. Wang followed a pattern of innovation and forward thinking as an early adopter and teacher of artmaking with computers in the 1980s and in the 1990s, with colleagues in Computer Science, implementing a program in Digital Production Arts at Clemson to prepare students for careers in digital animation. Many of his students now work with blockbuster animation studios such as Dream Works and Lucas Films. After 40 years of teaching, Wang’s knowledge and aesthetics continue to influence artists and photographic educators across the country.
Wang retired from Clemson University as Alumni Distinguished Professor in 2006. In 2007 he received the Honored Educator recognition from the Society for Photographic Education – Southeast Region. He travels to China frequently to teach, lecture and continue making photographs. In 2010, the book Sam Wang: Four Decades of Photographic Exploration was released, documenting his career of art photography and innovation.