CORVALLIS - Oregon State University will recognize the life and art of Gordon W. Gilkey during a special reception and exhibit on Wednesday, Jan. 10. The reception, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in the Memorial Union lounge, is free and open to the public.
Gilkey died on Oct. 28 at the age of 88.
OSU's College of Liberal Arts and the Department of Art are hosting the reception. During his 30-plus years on the OSU faculty, Gilkey served as chair of the art department and dean of the liberal arts program, which was elevated to college status under his leadership.
OSU President Paul Risser and others will speak during the reception about Gilkey's remarkable career. A selection of 38 of Gilkey's own prints will be on display at the Memorial Union concourse gallery from Jan. 8-11.
Gilkey had a noted career as an artist, an educator and a promoter of the arts. He began teaching art in 1930, as a student teacher at Albany College. From 1937-39, he was the official etcher at the New York World's Fair. He joined the art faculty of St ephens College in 1939, where he remained for three years until World War II interrupted his academic career.
While serving in the military, Gilkey wrote to President Franklin Roosevelt, asking that a unit be established to review military tactics - especially bombing plans - to minimize damage to significant art and architecture in Europe. That unit was establi shed, with Gilkey as a member, and in the final days of the war, he and his "art detectives" tracked down and repatriated literally thousands of pieces of art that had been looted.
For his efforts, he was knighted by France and given similar honors by Italy, Germany and Sweden. The U.S. awarded him the Meritorious Service Medal.
Following the war, Gilkey came to Oregon State College in Corvallis to head its art department. He built the program from a tiny group of three faculty to one of the largest, most noted art departments in the Northwest.
While at OSU, Gilkey was active on the state and national art scene. He was instrumental in establishing the Oregon Arts Commission, and was the prime mover in events that led to the formation of the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.