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Professors in art history, biology establish scholarship fund

Thursday, January 11, 2018

LAWRENCE — Graduate students studying Chinese or Korean art history at the University of Kansas will be eligible for a new scholarship endowed by a retired professor and her husband.

Marsha and Chris Haufler have established the Marsha S. and Christopher H. Haufler Scholarship in the Kress Foundation Department of Art History. Marsha Haufler spent 26 years on the history of art faculty at KU before retiring in summer 2017 as a professor emerita. Chris Haufler is professor and chair of the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology.

Marsha Haufler said the scholarship is intended to aid graduate students headed for careers as professors and museum curators, or in other art-related fields.

“The main goal of the endowment is to help graduate students,” she said, “but it’s also to demonstrate our appreciation of the quality of the East Asian art history program here and our desire to see it continue to flourish.”

David Cateforis, professor and chair of the history of art at KU, said the university has an international reputation for the study of East Asian art, thanks in part to access to the extensive and exceptionally fine collection of Chinese art at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, as well as to the growing collection of East Asian objects in KU’s Spencer Museum of Art.

“There are lots of original artworks of significance that our students have access to nearby,” he said. “This scholarship allows us to continue to build on that strength, to attract students to continue to study those cultures at the University of Kansas.”

Cateforis said, “Marsha and Chris have set a wonderful example of giving back to the institution that fostered Marsha’s rich career and her dedicated work as a teacher, scholar and administrator.”

Marsha Haufler joined the KU faculty in 1991. Her primary area of research is Chinese art, but in recent years she developed a strong secondary interest in the art of Korea. To keep the East Asian art history program at KU strong and competitive with other leading programs, she worked to obtain external funding to establish a tenure-track teaching position in Korean art history. Her university service included directing the Center for East Asian Studies and serving for six years as associate dean for international and interdisciplinary studies in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. Her contributions to the educational mission of the university were recognized through the Provost’s Award for Leadership in International Education in 2004 and the William T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence in 2007. Beyond the university, she was chair of the editorial board of the journal Archives of Asian Art for 12 years.

The department honored Marsha Haufler’s career in October with “Views from Sunflower Terrace,” a program featuring lectures, a symposium and an exhibition at the Spencer Museum of Art curated in her honor. A number of the students she advised and mentored during her career returned to Lawrence to join current students and colleagues for the celebration.

The graduate scholarship is important, she said, because it will support the next generation of teachers and curators of East Asian art, who will, in turn, use art to provide others with insights into the Chinese and Korean cultures that created it. 

“Art provides access to the histories, religions and societies of other countries, providing international perspectives essential to responsible citizenship and professional success in contemporary society,” she said.

In addition to the scholarship, the history of art department has established a library fund in Marsha Haufler’s honor to purchase Chinese art books.

Contributions to the library fund, or to supplement the Hauflers’ endowed scholarship, can be made either online at www.kuendowment.org/give or by mailing a check payable to the KU Endowment Association, P.O. Box 928, Lawrence 66044.

The funds are managed by KU Endowment, the independent nonprofit foundation serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.

Photos: Marsha Haufler, former and current students, and colleagues, at the "Views from Sunflower Terrace" program in honor of her career; Haufler and former doctoral student Hui Wang Martin, lead organizer for the program. Photos courtesy of Marsha Haufler.