Gabriella De Ferrari

Honorary Degree Citation


Gabriella De Ferrari. Novelist, curator, collector, arts leader, mother. Born in Peru, you received your undergraduate degree in marketing and economics from Saint Louis University and graduate degrees from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy of Tufts University and from Harvard University. You have had a distinguished career leading art museums, serving as curator and director for some of the most respected art institutions in the nation, including the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, and the Busch-Reisinger Museum and the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard. In 1994 you became the founding chair of the Colby College Museum of Art’s Board of Governors. Under your leadership, the museum’s collection saw remarkable growth, adding major works by Sol LeWitt, Terry Winters, and Richard Serra, to name just a few. You are a dear friend to many artists, and you are greatly admired for your intelligence about and passion for art. Art, for you, is something to be shared, be it your extraordinary collection of drawings and prints or in your work as philanthropic advisor to the chairman and CEO of United Technologies, a position through which you created a highly successful public art program that commissioned original works of art for display in New York, Boston, and Hartford. You are also an accomplished author of numerous essays, novels, and an acclaimed memoir, Gringa Latina: A Woman of Two Worlds. Through your own writing or your work with artists and arts organizations, you have made art an integral part of our lives.

By the authority of the Board of Trustees of Colby College, I confer upon you, Gabriella De Ferrari, the degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa. The hood with which you have been invested and this diploma which I place in your hand are 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, 2008

Gabriella De Ferrari, an art historian, was born in Peru and educated in the United States. She served as curator and director of the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, curator of Harvard’s Busch-Reisinger Museum, and assistant director of the Fogg Art Museum.  De Ferrari serves on the boards of the Harvard University Art Museums, The New School University, and the Bogliasco Foundation in Italy. She chairs the advisory board for the gallery at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, is on the visiting committee for 19th- and 20th-century and contemporary art at the Metropolitan Museum, and is a member of the Museum of Modern Art’s International Council She was the first chair of the Colby College Museum of Art’s Board of Governors. De Ferrari wrote a novel, A Cloud on Sand, and a memoir, Gringa Latina, and is currently working on a book about New York. A contributing editor for Travel and Leisure, she also writes for BOMB, The New York Times, and Vanity Fair.

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