University of Michigan professor emerita to secure the future of medieval art at College of LSA

Dr. Ilene Forsyth to give two massive gifts totaling $8.2 million

By Sarah M. Parlette - Associated Producer

Dr. Ilene Forsyth. Photo | University of Michigan.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Dr. Ilene Forsyth, a U-M alumna and professor emerita, will give the Department of History of Art at the University of Michigan College of Literature, Science, and the Arts two major gifts totaling $8.2 million.

The gifts will result in the creation of the George H. and Ilene H. Forsyth Professorship in Medieval Art and Ilene H. Forsyth Fund, which will elevate the status of the Department of History of Arts on a national level.

The George H. and Ilene H. Forsyth Professorship in Medieval Art will allow the department, and the University of Michigan, to be the second school in the nation to offer a secured professorship in Medieval Art (the other school is Columbia University.) The professorship is in memory of medieval architectural historian George H. Forsyth Jr., a former chair of the Department of History of Art and former director of the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology.

The Ilene H. Forsyth Fund will aid in funding the Department of History of Art’s initiatives and programs such as postdoctoral fellowships, exchange programs, seminars and research among others.

According to the press release:

"We are excited by this generous donation and grateful to professor Ilene Forsyth for helping to ensure the legacy of art history at U-M," said Elizabeth Cole, interim dean of LSA. "Offering flexibility and focus, the gift enables us to further advance the University of Michigan as home to one of the most distinguished art history programs in the country."

"Professor Forsyth, one of U-M's great teachers, has dedicated her life to providing a better understanding of art, its history and its impact on our world," said Elizabeth Sears, chair of the Department of History of Art and the George H. Forsyth Jr. Collegiate Professor of History of Art. "Her unparalleled generosity opens a new chapter in departmental history, and we are beyond grateful."

A trailblazing force for women in academia and philanthropic giving for medieval art, Dr. Forsyth is not only professor emerita of history of art in LSA but an accomplished author. She has continuously supported the arts and has previously endowed gifts to the University Musical Society and given charitably to the Bentley Historical Library, Kelsey Museum of Archaeology and the U-M Museum of Art.

See the full news release for more information about Dr. Forsyth’s gift to the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts as well about information about her.

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