Nancy and Joseph Keithley donate $15 million to CWRU and the Cleveland Museum of Art to train scholars and curators of the future
Posted September 11, 2013 in Articles
Author: Steven Litt
A $15 million donation from Nancy and Joseph Keithley could put Cleveland on the map nationally as a training ground for museum curators and directors of the future.
The Cleveland Museum of Art and Case Western Reserve University, which will split the Keithley gift, will use the money to give permanent status to a revitalized PhD. program that draws inspiration from the museum’s permanent collection and renowned art history library.
The university and the museum, which created a collaborative art history program more than 40 years ago, announced last year that they would launch the new graduate program with a $500,000 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant. But the money was only enough to provide tuition and stipends for two students for five years.
The Keithley money will enable the program to bring three new students a year indefinitely, and to maintain full enrollment in the program with about 15 students at any one time. Each student will receive full tuition, plus a stipend of $25,000 a year.
In honor of the donation, the program will be called The Nancy and Joseph Keithley Institute for Art History.
“This will really catapult our institutions’ and community’s reputation in the field,” said CWRU President Barbara Snyder.
“It’s huge in every sense,” said David Franklin, the museum’s director. “I’m really, really elated.”
Nancy Keithley, a trustee of the museum, and Joseph Keithley, a trustee of the university and former chairman, president and CEO of Keithley Instruments, declined to give interviews.
Catherine Scallen, chairwoman of the art history program at CWRU, said the Keithley donation could make it possible for a PhD. student to graduate in five years debt-free.
“It’s a moral issue nowadays,” to worry about the financial impact of higher education on students, Scallen said.
“For someone to do doctoral work in the humanities without support like this means a lifetime of paying off loans and financial insecurity,” she said. “No matter when they [students in the Keithley program] finish, we hope they won’t be carrying debt.”