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Historic investiture establishes the Marilyn Stokstad Director of the Spencer Museum of Art
Gray-Little, Stokstad, Reece Hardy, Seuferling.

LAWRENCE, KS.- This past Friday, in the first investiture ceremony to take place on KU’s Lawrence campus in the history of the school, Saralyn Reece Hardy was officially named the inaugural recipient of the Spencer Museum of Art Marilyn Stokstad Directorship. Today’s ceremony honored and thanked the donor, Dr. Marilyn Stokstad, for creating the directorship. It also paid tribute to the current Director who received it.

The Spencer Museum of Art Marilyn Stokstad Directorship supports and strengthens the Spencer Museum of Art’s innovative programming and initiatives through research and travel opportunities for the director, internships for students, research and publishing projects involving students and faculty, and the engagement of scholars from across the humanities and other disciplines.

An expert in medieval art and Spanish art, Dr. Stokstad is the author of art history textbooks used widely by universities, including multiple volumes and editions of Art History and Art: A Brief History as well as Medieval Art. Throughout her career, Dr. Stokstad has undertaken a number of major research endeavors, pioneering an interdisciplinary scholarly approach through her widely lauded project, Humanist in the Art Museum. She directed the KU Museum of Art (now named the Spencer Museum of Art) from 1961 to 1968. Her many awards and professional honors include: a lifetime achievement award from the National Women’s Caucus for Art, Kansas Arts Commission Governor’s Arts Award as the Kansas Art Educator of the Year, and a Chancellors Club Career Teaching Award.

When Reece Hardy assumed the role of Director of the Spencer Museum in 2005, it was a homecoming of sorts; it was at KU that she earned two degrees and at the Spencer that she began her career in 1977 before moving on to serve as Director of the Salina Art Center and later as Director of Museums and Visuals Arts for the National Endowment of the Arts. Key achievements of Reece Hardy’s directorial tenure include the swift integration of 10,000 objects previously held in KU’s anthropology collections, a passionate commitment to integrating the Museum collections into the teaching and research efforts of the University, the establishment of an international artists-in-residence program, and the creation of an innovative new initiative for the arts in collaborative research.

Reece Hardy expressed deep appreciation for the gift. “Marilyn Stokstad is legendary,” she said. “Her name and presence not only serve to distinguish our history, but now predict and ensure a dynamic future.”

University of Kansas Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little and KU Endowment President Dale Seuferling presented today’s ceremony honoring Stokstad and Reece Hardy at this pivotal moment. In her remarks, the Chancellor noted that Stokstad and Reece Hardy have both “made our communities healthier, more vibrant places by cultivating a love of art” and “contributed to the great wealth of scholarship at KU, demonstrating that discoveries don’t just happen in laboratories.”

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