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$1.5 Million Gift to Endow New Faculty Chair in Meadows Art History Division

Gift from the estate of Karl Kilinski II, the late archaeologist, art historian and University Distinguished Teaching Professor

A $1.5 million gift from the estate of Karl Kilinski II will establish an endowed chair in the Department of Art History at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts.

The Karl Kilinski II Endowed Chair in Hellenic Visual Culture will honor his work as an archaeologist, art historian and University Distinguished Teaching Professor. He died in 2011 after 30 years on the faculty of the Art History Department in Meadows.

“We are honored to have an endowed faculty chair bearing the name of one of the University’s most distinguished professors,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “This gift supports our Second Century Campaign goal to increase the number of endowed chairs to 100. With the Kilinski Chair, the University now has 84 substantially endowed faculty positions. We are grateful for the generosity and foresight of the late Dr. Kilinski and his family.”

The gift will fund the appointment of a new faculty member with expertise in art of the periods from the Bronze Age (1500 B.C.) through Classical Greece and Byzantium up to the fall of Constantinople (1453 A.D.). The gift specifies that the person selected for the new endowed chair will be “a scholar who continues the tradition of interdisciplinary work in Hellenic visual culture embodied in the teaching of Karl Kilinski II and who upholds the standard of scholarly excellence represented in his books.” His published work includes The Presence of the Past, Greek Myth in Western Art, Boetian Black Figure Vase Painting of the Archaic Period and The Flight of Icarus through Western Art.

“Karl’s vision in establishing this endowed faculty position will ensure that his interdisciplinary style of teaching and research will continue to engage scholars in study of Hellenic visual culture,” said Gunnie Corbett, Kilinski’s fiancée and executor of his estate. “The chair will be a fitting continuation of his legacy of dedication to his students and others he inspired.”

At SMU Kilinski taught classical art, Greek myth and art, and Egyptian art. An internationally known classical scholar, he received numerous honors, including the SMU Outstanding Professor Award and the Godbey Lecture Series Author Award. He was widely published in scholarly journals and led numerous educational tours to the Mediterranean, Turkey, Egypt and Africa.

“Karl Kilinski’s impact on generations of students throughout his illustrious academic career was significant,” said José Bowen, dean of the Meadows School. “We are indebted to his estate for their gift, which will ensure that future generations will be taught by a distinguished professor who exemplifies Dr. Kilinski’s devotion to his subject, while maintaining the same high standards for scholarship.”

As an archaeologist, Kilinski participated in both underwater and land excavations in Greece. He was a senior research fellow for the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, Greece; director of academic programs in Greece, Japan and Cairo; board member of The Society for the Preservation of Greek Heritage; and a member of the Ambassador’s Committee of Friends of Greece.

In addition, he had guest curatorships and was a symposium organizer for various museums, including the Kimbell Art Museum, New Orleans Museum of Art, San Antonio Art Museum, the Meadows Museum at SMU and the Archaeological Institute of America.

“The Art History Department is deeply grateful for this gift, which will allow us to honor and extend Karl’s legacy as a teacher and scholar at SMU,” said Pamela Patton, interim chair of the department. “It holds great meaning for all of us who knew and worked with him.”

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