Honorary Degree Citation
Adam Weinberg. Museum leader, curator, educator. For more than 25 years you have shown us why museums matter and offered a vision for their future. Starting as a teenage intern at the Guggenheim Museum, you went on to hold positions at the Toledo Museum of Art, The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the American Center in Paris, and the Addison Gallery of American Art, where you served as the Mary Stripp and R. Crosby Kemper Director. At the Addison you oversaw the museum’s innovative exhibition program, its inspired acquisition effort, and its renowned artist-in-residence program. In 2003 you were named the Alice Pratt Brown Director at the Whitney Museum of American Art, where you had previously been Senior Curator and Curator of the Permanent Collection. Under your leadership, the Whitney has embarked on an exciting new chapter in its history, with creative exhibitions that offer a new look at American art and with an expansion, designed by Renzo Piano, planned for downtown Manhattan. Your numerous books and essays display the same rigor and accessibility that characterizes your leadership style. You are known as a “curator’s director” because you are a committed and accomplished scholar of art and its history. Artists and curators admire you for your intelligence, enthusiasm, and passion for art. You have organized exhibitions by some of the most accomplished artists of our day—Alex Katz, Richard Serra, Terry Winters, to name just a few—and helped us to see their work in original and important ways.
By the authority of the Board of Trustees of Colby College, I confer upon you, Adam Weinberg, 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 visible symbols of your membership in this society of scholars, to all the rights and privileges of which I declare you entitled.
Conferred May 27, 2007
Adam Weinberg is Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney Museum of American Art. He began his career in art as a teenager, with a summer internship at the Guggenheim Museum, and he went on to earn a degree in art history from Brandeis University in 1977. After graduation he worked at the Toledo Museum of Art as a National Endowment for the Arts fellow, and in 1981 he went on to the famed Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. In 1987 he was hired to direct the Whitney’s branch museum at the Equitable Center in New York, and, after two years as a curator at the American Center in Paris, he returned to the Whitney as senior curator and curator of the permanent collection. In 1999 he was named director of the Addison Gallery of American Art, in Andover, Mass., where he mounted a major exhibition of prints by Richard Serra. Four years later he returned to the Whitney and, as the director, he has revitalized the curatorial staff, brought old supporters back into the fold and attracted new ones, and devised a plan to build a new and more expansive building, designed by Renzo Piano. He is innovative, he is not afraid to take risks, and he is considered a curator’s director — he loves art and artists. He is the author or co-author of numerous books and articles on American art, including, of particular note for Colby, Alex Katz: Small Works (2001).