Scholarship helps continue legacy of former division chair

The way Skip Measelle sees it, his life would not be what it is today were it not for Reuben Aldridge Hale, Jr.

“He was a master teacher and gifted artist whose influence and encouragement was pivotal in my career,” said Measelle, one of Hale’s former students who now owns an art studio in West Palm Beach.

Hale, who passed away March 23, spent more than three-decades at the College as a professor, chairman of the Art Department and chairman of the Division of Humanities.

During his tenure from 1961 to 1992, Hale positively influenced not only Measelle’s life, but also hundreds of other fine arts students.

He helped the College acquire the Lannan  Art Museum in Lake Worth, which would later become the Palm Beach Community College Art Museum. He also helped secure a collection of more than 1,000 pieces of artwork for the museum.  The building and the artwork had a combined value of $3 million. Hale  served as the administrative director of the Duncan Theatre and the  PBCC Art Museum, which hosted many art exhibits from local and international artists as well as annual art auctions until it was sold in 1999.

Among his most significant contributions was the establishment of a $50,000 endowed scholarship for humanities students. To honor his contributions to the College and his accomplishments as an educator and artist, a memorial will be held at 5 p.m. May 20 at The Beach Club on the Waterfront in Lake Worth. During the event, slideshows will be shown of his life and artwork.

Hale teaching a drawing class at Palm Beach Junior College.

“The best thing an educator can do is to set a person on a path to a better life,” said Edward Kinney, a former student and employee of Hale’s and the former dean of the School of Film and Digital Media at Savannah College of Art and Design. “That includes giving them the tools to do it on their own. That’s what Reuben did for so many of us. His mission was to make us not need him, but to be independent. However, we kept coming back to visit him for re-fortification for nearly a half century.”

Hale held faculty art shows, as well as student shows throughout the years at the College. He also wanted students to be able to learn from the best in the art world. He started an international photography workshops series attracting top-named artists such as Arnold Newman and Cole Weston along with modern art promoter and photographer Alfred Stieglitz who held workshops through the series.

“He loved it at PBSC and accomplished so much there,” said Hale’s daughter Irma. “He was very proud of that. Every former student that you talk with will tell you how important it was for them to have been at the College with Reuben, the instructors he brought in and the things he accomplished for the College.”

Hale’s daughter, Irma, stands beside a staircase her dad built for her as a teenager. The stairs have her name carved on the side using dots and dashes of Morse code.

When Hale wasn’t busy at work, he would be at home transforming his 6,000-square-foot, historic residence in West Palm Beach’s El Cid neighborhood into a showcase for his paintings and sculptures. Originally designed as a duplex, Hale made attractive and innovative improvements to the house over the course of four decades. In addition to the large paintings gracing the walls, his life-size figurative sculptures of women comfortably took up residence.

It was at this same home he would pass away at 90 years old. Hale, who was originally from Greenwood, Miss., was buried in Odd Fellows Cemetery in Greenwood on March 31. Hale’s artwork can be viewed at

Donations to the Reuben Hale Scholarship can be made at Choose “other” for where to direct the donation and type Reuben Hale Scholarship. Checks should be made payable to Palm Beach State College Foundation, and mailed to 4200 Congress Ave, MS #20, Lake Worth, FL 33461. Please reference the Reuben Hale Scholarship.


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