MTSU photography Professor Emeritus Harold L. Baldwin, whose dedication to his art helped him guide thousands of students and assemble a million-dollar-plus photographic collection during a 32-year college teaching career, has died at 93.
The Murfreesboro resident, who joined the MTSU faculty in 1959 from the Colorado public school system to teach industrial technology, died March 19.
“Harold Baldwin was a man to emulate,” said Billy Pittard, chair of MTSU’s Department of Media Arts and a longtime friend and colleague of the late professor. “He was a scholar, an artist, an innovator and a positive influence on his students and the world around him. He truly made the world a better place.”
By 1964, he established the MTSU Photographic Gallery to enhance and expand his classroom instruction. He also founded Lightyear, a yearly publication of the gallery’s collection and student work.
Baldwin began to build a permanent collection from exhibits by artists such as Ansel Adams, Edward Weston and Minor White, as well as one of his mentors, Jerry Uelsmann.
Baldwin served as president of the MTSU Faculty Senate and received the university’s Outstanding Teacher Award.
Baldwin retired from MTSU in 1991 and the university renamed the gallery in 1996 to honor him. The Baldwin Photographic Gallery was located in a hallway of the McWherter Learning Resources Center until building renovations displaced it in 2012, so Baldwin gave the university $100,000 to find and renovate a new location on campus and to help sustain the collection.
The result was a bright space inside the Bragg Media and Entertainment Building that opened in January 2014. The facility moved into a larger, more accessible space in MTSU’s Miller Education Center in March 2019 and now houses the university collection, valued at more than $1 million. It showcases exhibits by guest artists, alumni and the annual Student Photography Show.
Baldwin’s family has requested that in lieu of flowers, memorial donations be made to the Baldwin Photographic Gallery.