$13M Gift to Establish Center for Japanese Art, New Faculty Chair

Matthew P. McKelway
Matthew P. McKelway (Eileen Barroso)

Columbia has received a $13 million gift from the Mary Livingston Griggs and Mary Griggs Burke Foundation to establish a center for Japanese art and an endowed professorship in East Asian Buddhist art history.

The Mary Griggs Burke Center for Japanese Art will be located in a newly renovated space in Schermerhorn Hall; the foundation’s gift will fund the center’s programs in perpetuity and support graduate and dissertation fellowships, predoctoral research grants, publication subsidies, conferences and symposiums, and postdoctoral fellowships in Japanese art and other East Asian art fields.

Matthew P. McKelway ’99GSAS, the Takeo and Itsuko Atsumi Professor of Japanese Art History, first envisioned the Burke Center and will serve as its director. He recalls meeting the late Mary Griggs Burke ’43GSAS, a Columbia benefactor who helped support generations of graduate students in their study of Japanese and East Asian art, when he was a graduate student in Columbia’s art-history department in the 1990s.

“When I met her, she already possessed the greatest private collection of Japanese art in the world,” says McKelway. “She was steadfast in her support of scholarly research and teaching in the field.”

The new endowed chair, the Mary Griggs Burke Professorship of East Asian Buddhist Art History, is Columbia’s fourth in Asian art.