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SMU professor leaves money for endowed chair in art history


The following is from Business Columnist Bob Miller's column in the June 27, 2012, edition of The Dallas Morning News.

Karl Kilinski II
Karl Kilinski II

June 27, 2012

By Bob Miller
The Dallas Morning News

A $1.5 million gift from the estate of Karl Kilinski II, an archaeologist, art historian and University Distinguished Teaching Professor at Southern Methodist University, will establish an endowed chair in the Department of Art History in the Meadows School of the Arts.

The Karl Kilinski II Endowed Chair in Hellenic Visual Culture will honor his 30 years on the faculty of the art history department before his death in January 2011 at the age of 64.

“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 83 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).

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 works include 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.”

In addition to the endowed chair, Kilinski’s personal library and research papers have been donated to SMU’s Central University Libraries.

At SMU, Kilinski taught classical art, Greek myth and art, and Egyptian art. 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 underwater and land excavations in Greece. He was a senior research fellow for the American School of Classical Studies in Athens; 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.

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