Raclin Murphy Museum of Art announces death of Ernestine Raclin, arts patron, business leader and philanthropist

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Raclin Murphy Museum of Art announces death of Ernestine Raclin, arts patron, business leader and philanthropist
Ernestine Raclin, astute collector of French, Italian and British art, with a particular interest in paintings. She embraced all genres.

NOTRE DAME, IN. .- The University of Notre Dame mourns the loss yet celebrates the life of long-time arts patron Ernestine “Ernie” Morris Carmichael Raclin, who has passed away at age 95. Deeply engaged with the South Bend and Notre Dame communities, “Ernie” was a collector of 17th- to early 19th-century European art and a supporter of the Museum. From the construction of the Snite Museum of Art facility in 1980, Raclin has been deeply engaged with the arts on campus; she extended that support in 2017 when she announced a major gift for a new museum with her daughter Carmi and son-in-law Chris Murphy. The new Raclin Murphy Museum of Art at the entrance to Notre Dame’s storied campus will open in late November 2023.

“Mrs. Raclin had exquisite taste and a discerning eye, but ultimately her head and heart were deeply committed to enhancing the vitality and beauty of her community, family and friends,” shares Raclin Murphy Museum of Art Director Joseph Antenucci Becherer. “The new Museum is evidence, and it was one of the great honors of my career to share the designs and installation plans of the Raclin Murphy Museum of Art with her, with Chris and Carmi at her side.”

Raised in South Bend, Raclin attended Briarcliff College in New York and Saint Mary’s College, in Notre Dame, IN. She was married to O.C. Carmichael, also a Notre Dame Trustee who passed away in 1976, and the late Robert Raclin.

Raclin was chair emerita of the board of 1st Source Corporation and 1st Source Bank of South Bend and was one of the first women elected to Notre Dame’s Board of Trustees in 1976. She was also the first woman to run a major university fundraising campaign. She became a trustee emerita in 1998 and a Hesburgh trustee in 2019.

In addition to her lead gift for the Raclin Murphy Museum of Art, Raclin and her family were also instrumental in the construction of Raclin-Carmichael Hall, located adjacent to the campus and home to the University’s W.M. Keck Center for Transgene Research and the Indiana University School of Medicine-South Bend.

Raclin was equally generous in the local community in her support of many worthy institutions, including the Center for Hospice Care in Mishawaka and Indiana University South Bend’s School of the Arts, which bears her name. She was a founding member of PBS television station WNIT and the Stanley Clark School; served as a director for the United Way of America, the Chamber of Commerce of St. Joseph County and the Indiana Chamber of Commerce; and chaired the board of Project Future, an economic development agency for the region. She also served on the advisory board of Indiana University South Bend and as a trustee of the Indiana University Foundation and Converse College, a Spartanburg, South Carolina institution where Carmichael served as president.

Raclin was an astute collector of French, Italian and British art, with a particular interest in paintings. She embraced all genres. Many of her gifts have long been favorites of Museum visitors and the subject of admiration and inquiry of scholars and students alike.

“Ernie’s steadfast support of the Museum has been foundational to the growth and development of the European collection over the decades. Marshaling her keen eye, impeccable taste and generous spirit, Raclin made gifts of Italian and French paintings and sculptures that have captured the imaginations of generations of students and faculty across the University of Notre Dame’s campus and the interest of scholars worldwide. Rarely is a donor’s aesthetic sensibilities and humanistic values so closely aligned with a museum’s curatorial vision,” shares Cheryl K. Snay, curator of European and American art before 1900.

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