Honorary Degree Citation
As the Margaret and Terry Stent Director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and of the Renwick Gallery for more than 27 years, you have shown us the importance of art in public life and given us a deeper understanding of our country’s artistic treasures. Educated at the University of Kansas, you later served as curator and interim director of the Spencer Museum of Art there. You made the Spencer central to the university’s academic experience, providing a model for others. As one of the country’s foremost museum directors, you have demonstrated how to lead an institution to greatness. In 2006 and 2007 you oversaw renovations of the Smithsonian’s Old Patent Office Building, giving the museum an expanded public courtyard, education and conservation labs, and beautifully conceived galleries. You are a renowned art historian. Your catalogue on Albert Pinkham Ryder won the prestigious Alfred H. Barr Award for Distinguished Scholarship and helped us better understand the enigmatic Ryder and his place in the history of art. Your exhibitions, from Man Ray and Joseph Cornell to The Civil War and American Art, offered new insights into art and the American experience. Art and its history have never been elitist pursuits for you. Instead, throughout your career you have made art accessible to a broad public. The education programs you founded at the Smithsonian are exemplary. Your innovative, Web-based programs and Artful Connections Tours, which enable classroom videoconferencing, have made the Smithsonian’s collections accessible to millions of teachers and students across the country. You have transformed art education and the ways in which legions of Americans experience art.
By the authority of the Board of Trustees of Colby College, I confer upon you, Elizabeth Broun, the degree of Doctor of Fine Arts, honoris causa. The hood with which you have been invested and this diploma which I place in your hand are the visible symbols of your membership in this society of scholars, to all the rights and privileges of which I declare you entitled.
Conferred May 25, 2014