PHILADELPHIA (June 8, 2018) - PAFA president and Chief Executive Officer David R. Brigham, Ph.D. was awarded an honorary Doctorate degree from Lebanon Valley College in Pennsylvania at the College's 149th Commencement on May 12, 2018.
Brigham was one of four national and international leaders to be recognized during the ceremony. He received a Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.) alongside Jan Loeffler Bergen, president and chief executive officer of Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health and Lancaster General Hospital, and Francis Obai Kabia '73, a former member of the United Nations Secretariat. Conrad Murray Siegel, the founder and president of Conrad Siegel Actuaries, now Conrad Siegel, received a Doctor of Science (Sc.D.).
During the ceremony, Brigham was lauded for his commitment to the fine arts and his leadership at PAFA.
"We commend you for expanding access to the arts and art education through your work," the citation read. "You have dramatically increased the academy's collection, contributions, scholarships, attendance, academic programs and gender and ethnic diversity. Your commitment to inclusiveness, to the power and enduring relevance of the arts and creativity, and to education is an inspiration to the Class of 2018 and to us all."
From 1994 to 1996, Brigham was the inaugural director of Lebanon Valley College's Suzanne H. Arnold Art Gallery, and during his tenure organized 14 exhibitions on artists including Toshiko Takaezu, Dox Thrash, and Childe Hassam, as well as thematic exhibitions of Hudson River School paintings, Pictorialist photographs, and Chinese ink paintings. He commissioned an 8-foot-high bronze sculpture—Cuewe-Pehella—by New York sculptor Audrey L. Flack (b. 1931), which is located on the Academic Quad. He also taught in the Art department.
"I was attracted to the opportunity to both teach at the school and direct the art gallery," Brigham said. "I appreciated the dual mission of the gallery and academic work. It was an early reflection of the work I'd come to do here at PAFA."
Founded in 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is America's first school and museum of fine arts. A recipient of the National Medal of Arts, PAFA offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the fine arts, innovative exhibitions of historic and contemporary American art, and a world-class collection of American art. PAFA’s esteemed alumni include Mary Cassatt, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Thomas Eakins, William Glackens, Barkley Hendricks,Violet Oakley, Louis Kahn, David Lynch, and Henry Ossawa Tanner.