Brabban, Brennan, and Rupsch Retire from Chowan University

  • Dr. Brabban & wife Betty on the Israel and Egypt Study Abroad Trip 2011
  • Professor Tom Brennan
  • Dean Chris Rupsch
Chowan University bids farewell to three long-serving and valued faculty members who officially retired from their teaching positions on May 31, 2020.

Chowan University bids farewell to three long-serving and valued faculty members who officially retired from their teaching positions on May 31, 2020. The retirees are Thomas P. Brennan, James L. Knight Associate Professor of Printing Technology and Chair of the Department of Communication Arts, Christina M. Rupsch, Dean of the School of Fine and Applied Arts and Distinguished Professor of Art and Dr. Ralph J Brabban, E. Lee Oliver Fagan Distinguished Professor of Bible. The following is a tribute to their accomplished, professional legacies that were served with an unfaltering dedication to Chowan and its students.

Professor Thomas P. Brennan received a Master of Industrial Education degree from Clemson University in 1977. Brennan joined the faculty of Graphic Communications in 1993 and served three years as chair.  Brennan returned to Graphic Communications again as chair in 2012. 

In 2015, Brennan was recognized for his exemplary photography with the McDowell Columns Scholar Prize at the Celebration of Faculty Scholarship and Creative Achievement. Brennan’s award-winning photography appeared on the cover and inner pages of the 2015 Celebrating Faculty Scholarship publication. Apart from his leadership within the Graphic Communications department and stellar photography work, Brennan was known as a champion for Chowan’s students succeeding in their fields of study. In a statement about Chowan’s annual Intern/ Employer Day, Brennan thoughtfully observed that “The ultimate goal for any of our graduates is employed in their field. During [the] Intern/Employer Day, over one hundred interviews were conducted with ten employers from across the Carolinas. The value of a graphic communications degree will come alive today as job offers and internships are secured.” Among his pleasant presence and personality, Professor Brennan’s leadership, artistic skills, and investment in his students’ futures are all qualities that Chowan University will greatly miss. 

Professor Christina Rupsch received her B.S. in Art from Wisconsin. She holds an M.F.A. from the University of Southern Illinois and an Ed.M. in Special Education from the  University of Illinois.  Rupsch has taught at Chowan in three intervals, first serving with the Department of Visual Arts  1994-1999, 2003-2008.  She returned to Chowan to serve as the Dean of Chowan’s School of Fine and Applied Arts.  She is now retiring after a collective twelve years of service to Chowan. Rupsch’s academic and scholarly achievements include five presentations, forty- seven exhibitions, and nine different courses taught at Chowan University. Rupsch always conducted herself with the utmost professionalism, was a  dedicated administrator, and worked to encourage opportunities for growth, collaborations, and making the arts available for everyone. In recognition of her exemplary service to Chowan and the surrounding community, Professor Rupsch was awarded the 2017- 2018 Faculty Excellence in Community Service Award as well as the Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award (2020), the university’s most prestigious faculty award. 

Dr. Ralph J Brabban II holds his Ph.D. in Biblical Studies from Baylor University. He has a Th.M. in Old Testament studies and an M.Div. from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.  Additionally, he completed his Bachelor of Music degree from West Virginia University.  Brabban began his career in August 2000 teaching in the Department of Religion.  During this time he served many years as the Department's Chair and also had a brief stint as the Interim  Chair for the Department of Music.   

Over his impressive twenty-year career at Chowan, Brabban has taught eighteen courses, completed nine publications, and given sixty-six public and guest lectures. In addition to his successful teaching career, Brabban was also instrumental in organizing Chowan’s study abroad trips as well as the formation and cultivation of the university’s Ethics Bowl team.  Dr. Brabban was most recently named Chowan University Faculty Advisor of the Year Award for 2019-20.

Dr. Brabban, an ordained minister, has served as an interim pastor for numerous churches in the area.  Currently, he is the pastor of Woodland Baptist Church.  

Please join Chowan University in congratulating our latest retirees as they depart with stellar professional careers and embark on a new, exciting chapter.


Grace Arredondo | University Relations |

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