Duke University has announced a $1.5 million gift from Michael E. and Kathleen France of Princeton, New Jersey, to endow a curator/professorship at the university's Trinity College and the Nasher Museum of Art.
The search for the first France Family Curator/Professor will begin this spring. The scholar who fills the position will teach ancient American art at the college and curate the museum's ancient American collection, which, with more than 3,300 objects encompassing nearly every culture of pre-Columbian Latin America, from Mexico to Argentina, is among the largest in the United States.
Michael E. France, is senior managing director and co-chief operating officer of Kroll Zolfo Cooper, while his wife, Kathleen, serves on the board of the Corner House Foundation, which provides counseling services to troubled adolescents. In 2002, the couple established the France Focus Endowment at Duke with a $250,000 gift. The Focus Program provides students with an opportunity to be exposed to ideas from different disciplines across the humanities, sciences and social sciences.
"We have great interest in this field of study within the Art, Art History, and Visual Studies Department and other related disciplines," said George L. McLendon, dean of Trinity College's faculty of Arts and Sciences. "The France Family Curator/Professorship will enrich collaboration between the faculty and museum, and provide new opportunities to engage students."