A $15 million pledge shared by the neighboring Cleveland Museum of Art and Case Western Reserve University is intended to strengthen education for art curators, scholars and museum directors.
The gift was pledged by Case trustee Joseph Keithley and his wife, Nancy Keithley, an art- museum trustee.
“We feel strongly about the world-class quality of institutions in Cleveland,” the couple said in a statement distributed by the museum and university
“We also believe collaboration increases exponentially their benefit and influence within our community, and well beyond it,” they said.
The museum and university are anchors in Cleveland’s University Circle arts and education district that also includes the Cleveland Orchestra and the Cleveland Institute of Art.
The pledge will enable the program to enroll three new students a year indefinitely and maintain full enrollment in the program with about 15 students at any one time. Each student will receive full tuition, plus a stipend of $25,000 a year.
An earlier $500,000 grant underwrites tuition and stipends for two students for five years in a joint museum-university graduate program.
Catherine Scallen, chairwoman of the art history and art program at Case, told The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer that the Keithley donation could make it possible for a doctoral student to graduate in five years debt-free.
“It’s a moral issue nowadays” to worry about the financial impact of higher education on students, Scallen said. “For someone to do doctoral work in the humanities without support like this means a lifetime of paying off loans and financial insecurity.”
The museum’s renowned collection will be a key focus of the doctoral program.
“The quality of these artworks is going to act like a magnet for the type of courses that are taught, as well as the character and content,” said David Franklin, museum director.
“We’ll start teaching more comprehensively; we’ll start teaching connoisseurship and the techniques of art; every student will understand conservation issues.”