Browsing archive for
Homer D. Babbidge, Jr. appointed University President
Homer D. Babbidge was appointed University President in 1962, succeeding Albert N. Jorgensen after his twenty-seven year tenure. A Yale graduate and an avid patron of the arts, Babbidge had devoted his doctoral studies to university higher education and administration. The new President brought a “new emphasis on humanities, social sciences, and the fine arts.” — Bruce M. Stave, et al., “Red Brick in the Land of Steady Habits: Creating the University of Connecticut, 1881-2006,” (Lebanon, NH: University Press of New England, p. 108.
Babbidge recognized upon his first visit to the ”Beanery,” built to be the main dining hall, that it might be effectively transformed into an art museum, and that he did. A short time later, in 1967, the Museum now known as the Benton Museum of Art was established. It became an official part of the School of Fine Arts in 1996.
In 1967, President Babbidge played a leading role, along with Dean Frank B. Cookson of the School of Fine Arts, in bringing the prominent European musician, Bronislav Gimpel, to join the faculty as first violinist of the New England String Quartet, in residence within the Department of Music.
Indeed, the Fine Arts community owes much to President Homer Babbidge. In a multitude of ways, the new President built upon the physical transformations of the Jorgensen era to “counter the view of Storrs as a cultural wasteland.” A pamphlet prepared during the mid 1960’s for new faculty and staff was entitled “Storrs, Connecticut: Hardly a Wasteland.” — Bruce M. Stave, et al.,” Red Brick in the Land of Steady Habits: Creating the University of Connecticut, 1881-2006,” (Lebanon, NH: University Press of New England, 2006) p. 110.
New Art Museum Created in the Old ‘Beanery’
The first director, Marvin Sadik, is pictured below. The Museum would later be named the William Benton Museum in honor of the prominent Connecticut Senator and University Trustee.
Collection catalog, published in 1981, describes the core collection of the museum when it opened.
William Benton Museum becomes part of the SFA
William Benton Museum becomes part of the SFA.
Benton Museum reached 30th Anniversary
The Benton Museum observed its 30th anniversary.
First Sackler Artists in Residence
The first Sackler residency was in the Department of Art and Art History and was shared by two noted printmakers. Sue Coe, in residence March 2-6, created a lithograph entitled ”The Organ Harvester.” Richard Bosman, in residence October 17-22, produced a twelve color woodcut edition. Both worked with students, presented lectures and critiqued student work. All prints were printed by UConn Professors Laurie Sloan and Gus Mazzocca and are part of the collection of the Benton Museum.
Benton statement of purpose approved by Board of Trustees, 2000
“The William Benton Museum of Art, the University of Connecticut has been established for the collection, preservation, research, and interpretation of works of art. The Museum exists for the University of Connecticut academic community, for the citizens of the state of Connecticut, and for the general public to add through its educational and other programs for the greater uncerstanding and appreciation of Art.” — UConn Board of Trustees as quoted in School of Fine Arts, University of Connecticut. Annual Report 1999/2000: Summary. Storrs: School of Fine Arts, 2000.
Renovation of Benton Museum launched
Work began on a project to renovate and add new space to the University’s art museum.
Benton Museum opens new Gilman wing
“Evelyn Simon Gilman donated to funds in 2004 to expand the museum and create the Evelyn Simon Gilman Gallery which is now home to a rotating exhibition of the Museum’s permanent collection.” — The William Benton Museum of Art webpage, July 27, 2015.
Mrs. Gilman was the widow of Dr. Ralph Gilman, MD, longtime GP physician in Storrs, with an office on Dog Lane, now part of Downtown Storrs.
Steven Kern appointed Director of Benton
Steven Kern was appointed Director of the Benton Museum.