At a reception for the exhibition of lithographs from the Collections of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, President Mark D. Gearan awarded the President’s Medal to Robert North, longtime friend of the Colleges and husband of the late Marion de Mauriac North ’32, L.H.D. ’78.
In honor of his late wife, North has donated more than 100 important pieces to the Colleges’ Collections, including 12 George Bellows lithographs. Additionally, he has contributed to the restoration of numerous other works in the Collections. With donations so steadfast and vast, North is among the most significant art donors in the history of the Colleges.
“Mr. North has sought to ensure that our students have access to masterworks of art and to the same first-rate artistic education that he experienced,” said President Mark D. Gearan. “Mr. North’s contributions will nurture in our students a deep and abiding appreciation and respect for the artistic process. Through his steady dedication to the conservation of The Collections at Hobart and William Smith, he has ensured that his generous gifts will be available to students for generations to come.”
An art enthusiast and painter, North began cultivating his appreciation and love of art from a young age. He was introduced to art by his father, an architect and painter, who imparted the importance and beauty of art to his son. With this appreciation, North went on to study art history at Harvard University and eventually to cultivate The Robert North Collection.
“After visiting Hobart and William Smith in 1982 for Marion’s 50th Reunion and seeing the artwork on exhibition in Houghton House, we decided that we should contribute to the fine collection of art at the Colleges,” North said.
By occupation, North is a retired librarian who spent the past three decades of his career at the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, Buffalo, N.Y. Prior to this role, North held positions at libraries in New York, Georgia and West Virginia before becoming a central figure in forming “an amalgamation of satellite libraries into one big system” that became the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library in 1973. Before his librarianship in Atlanta, North served in the Meteorology Weather Wing of the U.S. Air Force during World War II.