Late UIC art history professor bequeaths $1M to school

A noted art teacher's legacy at the University of Illinois at Chicago will live on.

The West Side school on Monday announced that it has received a $1 million gift from Ross Edman's estate to establish a merit-based award for graduate-level art history students.

"The fact that we can offer a named fellowship to a graduate student will raise the visibility of the program. It means that the future of the graduate program is on even better footing," Martha Pollak, professor and chair of the art history, said in a press release.

Edman began a 30-year career teaching at UIC in 1965 when the school was located at Navy Pier. He later became an Honors College fellow and an emeritus faculty member after retiring.

An expert in Asian art - and known for his bow ties -- Edman died in 2017 at the age of 80.

"His bequest to the department of art history is only the last expression of his generosity and engagement with our students," Pollak said.

Leslie Wooden, a Washington D.C. native who began working on a doctorate in art history focusing on gender and women's studies this past fall, is the first recipient of the award.

She said the endowment "is especially significant because UIC is a public institution and this award supports students from all socioeconomic backgrounds who like to conduct research but may not have access to outside funding."
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