Tim Cordell, Professor Emeritus at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and recent Adjunct Professor at Queens University of Charlotte, has an undergraduate degree from East Carolina University and two graduate degrees from Catholic University of America. While teaching at Edinboro University, he completed the Ph.D. in Musicology with a specialty in the orchestration of the operas of the Italian master, Giuseppe Verdi. His focus during the five years of dissertation research was on primary source material at the American Institute for Verdi Studies in New York and in two Italian cities, in Venice at the library of the famous opera house, Teatro la Fenice and in Milan in the archive of Casa Ricordi, the location of the composer’s valuable manuscripts.
While La Fenice is a world away from the hometown of Dr. Cordell, it was in Greenville, South Carolina where his journey began. He was the first in his family to attend college, and the second son to enlist in the military, a Vietnam-era veteran with military service in the Washington, D.C. area and in Fulda, Germany. The military experience in Germany and a trip to Italy to perform with an Italian band—a first trip to Italy—changed his life and academic goals, and would eventually influence him to research things Italian and to establish study abroad programs to give college students the opportunity to experience other cultures on-site at considerable distances from home.
He was Edinboro University’s first “Technology Scholar” and the recipient of numerous grants and awards for his innovative use of technology in teaching. His interest in technology corresponded with the early years of the World Wide Web and the new uses of multimedia in teaching. As luck would have it, his expertise would be shared on the same stage with world leaders in technology at conferences in Europe, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Conference on Hypertext and Hypermedia in Milan, Italy in 1992, and two years later at the ACM conference in Edinburgh, Scotland—his first trip to Edinburgh. Other conference presentations, including one at Internet World and another at the Tenth International Conference on College Teaching and Learning would establish him at the forefront of the new technology. In 1995, a class at Edinboro called “Opera” was believed by many to be the first music class in the world to use the web to publish class work, including student research. Dr. Cordell was invited to document that class in a journal called Musicus, a publication supported by the Higher Education Council of England and a similar council in Scotland.
In his 35 years at Edinboro University, Dr. Cordell himself had many audiences. As a trumpet player, an orchestra director and a band director, thousands of people enjoyed his performances and/or performances by his students, some in operas conducted by him. Honors and awards came his way as well, including selection by Pennsylvania band directors for membership in Phi Beta Mu, the International Bandmasters Fraternity; the Orpheus Award from Phi Mu Alpha for “Significant and Lasting Contributions to Music in America;” and the Innovative Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award; and certainly the honor to serve as the Grand Marshal for the 2012 Spring Commencement at Edinboro University. Dr. Cordell also received several research grants, including a grant by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for research at the Verdi Institute at New York University and another NEH grant with renowned Renaissance scholars at Northwestern University.