Steve Roberts Center for Ceramic Arts
The Steve Roberts Center for Ceramic Arts (SRCCA) at Mars Hill University is a living memorial to Steve. Steve left the world a better place through his love of his family, his creative work as a ceramics artist, his dedicated and inspirational work as a teacher in both the public schools and higher education, his caring for animals and the land through his passion for farming, and his many generous involvements with friends and community. MHU’s SRCCA will honor Steve in perpetuity by continuing to educate students and community members not only in pottery and ceramics, but also through modeling Steve’s special gift of nurturing each student’s creative spirit and inspiring each and every one to reach beyond their perceived limits. Steve’s life’s theme is best described as successfully combining those parts of life that most people see as separate: family, teaching and education, farming, art, work and play. Steve’s large spirit found ways to celebrate these aspects of a well-lived life and make them support one another.
Steve Roberts’s family was the light of his life. Kim McDonald became Mrs. Steven Hamilton Roberts on May 30, 1981. Steve and Kim later became proud parents of daughters Stephanie and Andrea Roberts, both of whom Steve adored and talked about relentlessly.
Steve valued education and lived that value. In 1976, he graduated from West Greene High School, where he played football and basketball, sang in the chorus, and was voted Mr. WGHS. He found his connection to art, and specifically ceramics, at Lincoln Memorial University under then-professor Rick Cary, now professor of art and Dean of Fine Arts and Professional Programs at MHU. The two became lifelong friends. Following his college graduation, Steve completed the Master of Fine Arts degree at East Tennessee State University and established The Timber Ridge Pottery Studio and farm on his family’s land near Greeneville, Tennessee.
Steve saw teaching as a noble calling, teaching in the Greeneville and Greene County public school systems. In 1995, Steve became a professor of art at Walters State Community College, and later became head of the art department. Steve didn’t merely teach classes, he taught students, meaning that he added extra value to each student’s journey through such enhancements as leading students groups in educational travel to New York City and European cities. Steve Roberts was also a great advocate for his students and programs. When WSCC administration proposed cutbacks to some programs, he went on the warpath. Steve was proud to continue the tradition of teaching. He was especially proud when his mother earned recognition as a “Tennessee Master Teacher.”
Steve took as much pride in farming as he did in his art and teaching. His land and animals were always well cared for, putting into practice the values he learned from his father and other farmers in the Roberts family. Steve Roberts’ lived a life of positive influence in his community.
Kim McDonald Roberts has also made the world a better place through her years as a social worker in the Greeneville area. Kim has made the major donation to MHU’s Steve Roberts Center for the Ceramic Arts in the form of two professional kilns and related ceramics equipment. This equipment will ensure that Steve’s work as a teacher and all-around Life Enhancer will continue for generations to come. The first goal for the SRCCA is to secure funds to enlarge MHC’s current ceramics studio’s kiln shed and firing area to accommodate these kilns.
For more information, contact:
Director of Development
Mars Hill University
PO Box 370
Mars Hill, NC 28754