April 13, 1995
Vol. 14, No. 15

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    Chair in art history named in honor of Vanderstappen

    Businessman Covey names chair for former teacher A Chicago businessman has named a chair in the Art Department in honor of Harrie Vanderstappen, Professor Emeritus in Art and East Asian Languages & Civilizations.

    Roger E. Covey (A.M.'94, M.B.A.'78), chairman and chief executive officer of System Software Associates Inc., endowed the Centennial Distinguished Service Professorship in Chinese Art History, which he has now renamed the Harrie A. Vanderstappen S.V.D. Distinguished Service Professorship of Chinese Art History. The chair has been held since 1994 by its first recipient, Wu Hung, an internationally recognized expert on Chinese art history.

    "This is a wonderful -- and fitting -- tribute to Professor Vanderstappen, and I know he is very pleased to receive this honor," said President Sonnenschein. "During his years here, he was among Chicago's most brilliant and committed teachers. Roger Covey's great generosity has now ensured that Harrie Vanderstappen's name will be permanently associated with scholarship and teaching of the highest caliber."

    Covey met Vanderstappen in 1991, when, at age 36, Covey left his multimillion-dollar software company to pursue a degree in East Asian art history at the University.

    Vanderstappen, a Roman Catholic priest who was ordained a member of the Society of the Divine Word (S.V.D) in 1945, was a faculty member at Chicago from 1959 until his retirement in 1991. He served as Chairman of the Art Department from 1965 to 1970.

    In 1976, he completed a three-year project of compiling the world's first comprehensive bibliography of Western writing (books and articles) on the art of China. The approximately 900-page volume is considered a major research tool for scholars.

    Vanderstappen has twice been recognized for his contributions to teaching. In 1985, he received the College Art Association of America's Distinguished Teaching of Art History Award, and in 1987 he received the University's Burlington Northern Distinguished Teaching Award. A Festschrift in Vanderstappen's honor, coordinated by three of his former students, will be published in the September 1995 issue of Monumenta Serica, an international journal of Oriental studies.

    The endowed chair is part of a $2.8 million gift from Covey that also supports a research fund for the holder of the professorship, a visiting faculty position, fellowships for graduate students in Chinese art history and a series of scholarly conferences in the field.