Through the generosity of Emily Rauh Pulitzer ’55, Bryn Mawr’s History of Art Department will be able to build upon its considerable and historic strengths and its longstanding tradition of excellence. Pulitzer recently pledged $5 million to endow a professorship and to support students. Her commitment to the College and the History of Art program is a fitting legacy for this champion of arts and education.
“I am enormously appreciative of the supportive environment at Bryn Mawr which valued women and recognized their potential to accomplish their goals. There were opportunities to become involved with important social issues which had a major impact on my interests and undertakings,” Pulitzer said, “I hope this gift enables professors and students to undertake equally rewarding endeavors.”
After graduating from Bryn Mawr with a degree in the history of art, Pulitzer spent a year at the Ecole du Louvre in Paris and then worked as a curatorial intern at the Cincinnati Art Museum. In 1957 she took a position as an assistant curator of drawings at Harvard University’s Fogg Art Museum, working under fellow Bryn Mawr alumna Agnes Mongan ’27 who was the museum’s first female curator and later director. Pulitzer also served as curator of the St. Louis Art Museum.
A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Pulitzer is the founder and chair of the Pulitzer Arts Foundation and chair of the board of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. She is a life trustee of the Museum of Modern Art, a board member of the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Grand Center, and an honorary board member of the St. Louis Art Museum. Pulitzer also served on the board of Pulitzer Inc., a media company, served on the Harvard University’s Board of Overseers (where she received her master's), and chaired the Committee to Visit the Harvard University Art Museums.
In recognition of her extraordinary contributions to the arts, Pulitzer has been awarded the National Medal of Arts, the St. Louis Award, the Independent Curators International’s Leo Award, the Harvard Medal, the Duncan Phillips Award, the Cincinnati Art Award, the Pioneer Spirit Award and has received honorary degrees from Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis University, the Aquinas Institute of Theology and the University of Missouri, St. Louis.
Now she is honoring her Bryn Mawr roots with her gift to the College's Defy Expectation Campaign. The Emily Rauh Pulitzer 1955 Professorship will support a new faculty member in the History of Art department. A search is now underway for a distinguished scholar in Western Art focusing on Modern and Contemporary Art. The Emily Rauh Pulitzer 1955 Student Support Fund will be used to support student research, related travel and internships, with a preference given to students in the History of Art.
“My experience at Bryn Mawr in general and specifically as an art history major gave me a firm foundation for many of my future involvements," said Pulitzer. "My honors thesis professor encouraged me to research Romanesque sculpture at the Philadelphia Art Museum. I was challenged to organize an exhibition of paintings owned by the college and faculty members. Both endeavors provided great experience working with individual works of art which has been my primary focus ever since.”
Bryn Mawr President Kim Cassidy said of the generous gift: “Bryn Mawr has a distinguished tradition in the study of the visual arts. We are proud that the College has been cited as one of a few influential institutions that helped to establish art history's place in the American academy. Through Emmy’s generosity, we will be able to continue to help our faculty to break new ground while still preserving their commitment to our scholar-teacher model. I am honored that Emmy shares our faculty’s devotion to both their scholarship and their students.”
Bryn Mawr’s curriculum in History of Art immerses students in the study of visual culture. Our graduates of the History of Art program continue on to successful careers in colleges and universities, museums, galleries and foundations around the world. Pulitzer’s gift will help students in their academic and co-curricular studies while at Bryn Mawr; in addition, she has allocated some of her gift to be used for financial aid so that outstanding students who would otherwise not be able to afford Bryn Mawr will be able to have the same transformative academic experience that she did.
“By supporting our faculty and our students, Emmy is supporting the source of Bryn Mawr’s excellence and the entire reason for our Defy Expectation Campaign,” remarked Campaign Chair Denise Lee Hurley ’82, P’17. “We are eternally grateful.”