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Art history department says goodbye as distinguished professor Dr. Edward Olszewski retires

Sabrina Herman

Issue date: 12/3/10 Section: Focus
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Dr. Edward Olszewski is presented his Tabula Gratulatoria, made with goatskin, calf vellum, and clamshell, at his retirement celebration on Nov. 21.
Media Credit: Denton Zhou
Dr. Edward Olszewski is presented his Tabula Gratulatoria, made with goatskin, calf vellum, and clamshell, at his retirement celebration on Nov. 21.
[Click to enlarge]
This semester, Case Western Reserve University bade farewell to a true Renaissance man. After almost 40 years at the university, Dr. Edward J. Olszewski of the art history department retired from his position as chair of the department and as a professor. But he did not go without leaving a mark on his many students and colleagues, and the department held a celebration in his honor on Sunday, Nov. 21. It not only brought together his many colleagues and former students, but it also became the site of the official announcement for the Edward J. Olszewski Graduate Student Travel Fund, established by Friends of Art and over 130 donors.

Olszewski came to CWRU in 1971 as an associate professor of art history. His passion and love of Italian Renaissance art was surpassed only by his dedication to the research and teaching of the topic, and over the last four decades he has written eight books and had many articles published in scholarly magazines. He mentored many Ph.D. students, including Dena Woodall, who now works at the Museum of Fine Arts - Houston as an assistant curator. Woodall said Olszewski "has been a great influence on my life, and I'm so glad that I was able to make it out here for this event."

The event, hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Ted Smith, celebrated not only the successful retirement of one of CWRU's finest professors, but also the start of a new scholarship for graduate students and a major project in the form of a symposium dedicated to Olszewski. The president of Friends of Art, Lee Warshawsky, said, "To honor these accomplishments, Friends of Art, the support group for the department of art history and art, is undertaking several projects: the creation of the Edward J. Olszewski Graduate Student Travel Fund; the publication of a Festschrift and accompanying tabula gratulatoria (a congratulatory book of letters from colleagues, students and friends); and the sponsorship of a Symposium to be held in October 2011 at the Cleveland Museum of Art with a featured keynote speaker on Italian Renaissance and Baroque issues. Leadership of this event and Festschrift is being assumed by Dr. Olszewski's former graduate students." The Festschrift is co-edited by Jennifer Finkel, Dena Woodall and Michael Morford.
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