A world famous artist is giving her alma mater Illinois State University $12 million to support its fine arts program.
The university announced in August its College of Fine Arts and School of Art will be named for Wonsook Kim. She has produced 64 solo exhibitions around the world and the United Nations named Kim its Artist of the Year in 1995. She earned three degrees during her time at ISU in the 1970s. The university also granted Kim an honorary degree for the contributions to the art world on Founders Day last spring.
Her husband, Thomas Clement, is a medical device inventor.
ISU officials said the donation will help the Wonsoon Kim College of Fine Arts and Wonsook Kim School of Art pay for enhanced facilities, including updates to studio spaces and flexible learning spaces for students. It would also allow for updated technology and supplies, visiting artists and professors, student scholarships, theaters and dance programs and more.
“A gift of this magnitude is a historic first for Illinois State and the University is on the rise,” said Vice President for University Advancement Pat Vickerman. “Wonsook and Thomas share the University’s vision for scholarship, leadership, and innovation and their investment is allowing us to boldly dream about the future of fine arts education at Illinois State.”
The college’s dean, Jean Miller, said adding Kim’s name to the college will bolster its reputation and help attract prospective students, faculty and staff.
The university is also planning to use $62 million in state funds to renovate its Fine Arts complex.
The $12 million contribution comes as the university has surpassed its $150 million goal for its Redbird Rising campaign, which is scheduled to run through June 2020.
WGLT depends on financial support from users to bring you stories and interviews like this one. As someone who values experienced, knowledgeable, and award-winning journalists covering meaningful stories in Central Illinois, please consider making a contribution.