At a reception last spring, President Mark D. Gearan awarded the President's Medal to Robert North, longtime friend of the Colleges and husband of the late Marion de Mauriac North '32, L.H.D.'78. In honor of his late wife, North donated more than 100 important pieces to the Colleges' Collections, including 12 George Bellows lithographs. With additional support for the restoration of numerous other works in The Collections, North's vision and generosity have been at the core of a steadily swelling interest in the arts at Hobart and William Smith.
An art enthusiast and painter, North began cultivating his appreciation and love of art at a young age. He was introduced to art by his father, an architect and painter. North went on to study art history at Harvard University and eventually to creat The Robert North Collection.
By occupation, North is a retired librarian who spent the past three decades of his career at the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, Buffalo, N.Y. Prior to this role, North held positions at libraries in New York, Georgia and West Virginia before becoming a central figure in forming "an amalgamation of satellite libraries into one big system" that became the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library in 1973. Before his librarianship in Atlanta, North served in the Meteorology Weather Wing of the U.S. Air Force during World War II.
After visiting Hobart and William Smith in 1982 for Marion's 50th Reunion and seeing the artwork on exhibition in Houghton House, the Norths decided that they should contribute to the fine collection of art at the Colleges. Through his steady dedication to the conservation of The Collections at Hobart and William Smith, North has ensured that his generous gifts will be available to students for generations to come.