by Jen Nesbit
At a reception for the exhibition of lithographs from the Collections of Hobart and William Smith Colleges in late spring, President Mark D. Gearan awarded the President's Medal to Robert North, longtime friend of the Colleges and husband of the late Marion de Mauriac North '32, L.H.D. '78.
An art enthusiast and painter, North began cultivating his appreciation and love of art at a young age. He was introduced to art by his father, an architect and painter. North went on to study art history at Harvard University and eventually to create The Robert North Collection.
"After visiting Hobart and William Smith in 1982 for Marion's 50th Reunion and seeing the artwork on exhibition in Houghton House, we decided that we should contribute to the fine collection of art at the Colleges," North says.
"Mr. North has sought to ensure that our students have access to masterworks of art and to the same first-rate artistic education that he experienced," says President Mark D. Gearan. "Mr. North's contributions will nurture in our students a deep and abiding appreciation and respect for the artistic process. Through his steady dedication to the conservation of The Collections at Hobart and William Smith, Mr. North has ensured that his generous gifts will be available to students for generations to come."
In honor of his late wife, North has donated more than 100 important pieces to the Colleges' Collections, including twelve George Bellows lithographs. With additional support for the restoration of numerous other works in The Collections, North's vision and generosity have been at the core of a steadily swelling interest in the arts at Hobart and William Smith.
"The study and appreciation of art are indispensable parts of a liberal arts education," says Professor of Art and John Milton Potter Professor in the Humanities Chair Phillia Yi. "Thanks to generous gifts from Bob North and other benefactors, we have an enriched visual arts community on our campus, and our students and faculty collaborate to curate and mount exhibitions to showcase the work of the HWS community."