June 14, 2005

Anonymous gift benefits art history program

by Tom Woolf


Caption follows story

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- An anonymous donor is providing a dramatic boost to Southern Illinois University Carbondale's art history program.

Through an endowment established at the SIU Foundation, the $781,000 gift will support the research, teaching and service mission of the art history program, part of the School of Art and Design in SIUC's College of Liberal Arts. The money may support faculty and student research, teaching or enrichment activities, such as visiting scholars, as well as fellowships or stipends.

"This is a significant contribution and we deeply appreciate the donor's generosity," Chancellor Walter V. Wendler said. "This will greatly enhance educational opportunities for our art history faculty and students."

Rickey N. McCurry, vice chancellor for institutional advancement, said private donations such as this are critical to the University's ability to fulfill its teaching, research and service missions.

"As the state continues to struggle with financial constraints, private support takes on added importance," said McCurry, also the head of the SIU Foundation.

Undergraduates may obtain a major or a minor in art history. The School of Art and Design began offering a graduate certificate in art history in 2001. Carma R. Gorman, design historian and associate professor in the school, said creation of the graduate certificate was a first step toward establishing a master's degree in art history.

"This gift will move us much closer to that goal," she said.

Associate Professor Peter Chametzky, who heads the art history program, is the initial fiscal officer for the endowment.

"We are delighted with the gift, which we take as a vote of confidence in what we are doing, and we hope it will help us strengthen and eventually expand the program," he said.

Gorman and Chametzky are the only tenured faculty in art history. Two tenure-track art historians will join the faculty in the fall: Elina Gertsman and Stacey Loughrey Sloboda. Both earned their doctorates in 2004 and served as visiting assistant professors last school year, Gertsman at the University of Chicago and Sloboda at the University of Southern California.

Leading in research, scholarly and creative activities is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.

(Caption: Program gets boost – Peter Chametzky (left) and Carma R. Gorman, both associate professors in art history at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, say a $781,000 gift from an anonymous donor will strengthen the educational and research opportunities for faculty and students.)

Photo by Jill Gobert