BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The Indiana University School of Art, Architecture + Design has announced a landmark gift of $20 million from Indianapolis-based philanthropists Sidney and Lois Eskenazi. This is the largest gift in the school’s history and coincides with the university’s celebration of IU Day.
The school will be renamed the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design in recognition of the couple’s generosity and longstanding commitment to IU and the arts. The Eskenazis’ gift will provide support for student scholarships, faculty development, academic programs, research initiatives and facility support for the school, which offers degree programs in 14 areas of study.
“This outstanding gift will have a transformative impact on the new Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design, dramatically enhancing its mission to provide a state-of-the-art education in art, architecture and innovative design for students seeking careers in these areas and in businesses and industries where design is fundamental to their success,” IU President Michael A. McRobbie said. “Indiana University is extremely grateful to Sidney and Lois Eskenazi for furthering our rich and longstanding traditions in the arts and humanities, for helping us contribute to a vibrant culture of building and making across the Hoosier state, and for their remarkable continued generosity to the university.”
As part of the gift, a special endowment will be established to fund a new Lois Eskenazi Scholarship for incoming first-year students who are interested in painting. The gift will also support a new “Fund for Excellence” that will be used for scholarships, fellowships, visiting artists and scholars, research funding, equipment, facilities, and other special projects.
This naming gift will also complement a 2016 gift from the Eskenazis to name another signature arts institution on the IU Bloomington campus: the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, one of the foremost university art museums in the nation. The Eskenazis’ $15 million gift to the museum, the largest in the museum’s history, has supported the complete renovation of the iconic I.M. Pei-designed building, which will reopen this year. The Eskenazis also gave the Eskenazi Museum their collection of nearly 100 works of art, composed primarily of prints by 20th-century European and American masters.
IU has been a national leader in fine and studio arts for more than 120 years. In accordance with a number of the key goals of IU’s Bicentennial Strategic Plan, the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design has recently developed several new programs in design and visual inquiry toward ensuring student career success, furthering a strong and creative visual arts culture on the Bloomington campus, and contributing to the building and making of a prosperous and innovative Indiana.
To this end, the school began offering a master’s degree in architecture last fall with a primary focus in Columbus, Indiana, an internationally recognized center for architecture. The new J. Irwin Miller Architecture Program is based in the former Republic Newspaper building in Columbus, a nationally recognized historic landmark.
Lauren Robel, IU Bloomington provost and executive vice president: “Sidney and Lois Eskenazi have been extraordinary friends of IU and visionary supporters of art. This gift transforms their profound understanding of the role art plays in making us human into tangible support for the humans who make our art. Lois’ own gifts as an artist are so wonderfully honored by the scholarship in her name to support our student painters. This gift will aim the arc of this school’s trajectory directly toward the heavens. What a legacy of beauty and humanity it represents.”
Peg Faimon, dean of the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design: “This is a momentous milestone in the life of our young school. We are immensely grateful to Sidney and Lois Eskenazi for this generous and transformative gift. Having the Eskenazi name on the school will elevate in an extraordinary way the role of art and design on campus, in the state and in the nation.”
Sidney Eskenazi: “Lois and I are extremely pleased to be making this legacy gift to Indiana University, the university where we both received our education. We are very honored that the university chose to name the school for us, and we are very pleased to know that it will serve many generations of Indiana students. The opportunity to support the new school was overwhelming. Lois and I and our family decided it was something that needed to be done, and we are excited to help lead the development of the new school.”
About Sidney and Lois Eskenazi
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi are recognized philanthropic leaders in Central Indiana. Sidney Eskenazi grew up in Indianapolis, and both he and Lois Eskenazi are IU graduates. Lois Eskenazi earned a bachelor’s degree that enabled her to work as a medical and lab technician, and Sidney earned a bachelor’s degree as well as a Doctor of Jurisprudence. Sidney established a successful real estate development company, Sandor Development Co., in 1963 and has built it into one of the nation’s leaders, with 129 properties under management in 23 states. In addition to real estate development, Sidney has been a member of both the Indiana and Illinois bar associations for more than 50 years.
The Eskenazis are longtime donors to IU, starting in 1970 when Sidney established a scholarship fund. They have also supported the arts and art students by giving to the Herron School of Art and Design on the IUPUI campus, where Eskenazi Hall bears their name.
In 2011, the Eskenazis contributed $40 million for a new hospital and medical campus in Indianapolis, now known as the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Hospital and Eskenazi Health, which at the time was one of the largest gifts to a public hospital in the U.S.
About the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design
The Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design was established in 2016 with a merger of the Department of Studio Art and the Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design. Part of the College of Arts and Sciences, it brings together innovative programs, like the J. Irwin Miller Architecture Program, in a technology-rich environment that encourages creativity and collaborative learning.
For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign
For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign is taking place on all IU-administered campuses, including IU Bloomington, IUPUI, IU East, IU Kokomo, IU Northwest, IU South Bend and IU Southeast. The campaign will conclude in June 2020 to coincide with IU’s bicentennial celebration. To learn more about the campaign, its impact and how to participate, visit forall.iu.edu.