Fordham University has received the largest gift of art in its history and is creating a museum in the William D. Walsh Family Library to house the collection.
The Fordham Museum of Greek, Etruscan and Roman Art, which will be dedicated on Dec. 6, will house what had been the collection of alumnus William D. Walsh (FCRH ’51). Walsh, founder and general partner of Sequoia Associates and a longtime benefactor of the University, donated the collection to Fordham in the spring.
In all, more than 200 antiquities dating from the 7th century B.C. through the 3rd century A.D. will go on display in a 4,000-square-foot space on the library’s main floor, making it one of the leading collections of antiquities in the state.
“This collection is not yet a known entity, but what is important about it is how it represents a span of cultures, periods and mediums,” said Jennifer Udell, the University’s curator of art. “It is the kind of thing that will generate a lot of interest when the museum opens and it will bring people up to the Bronx.”
James McCabe, Ph.D., director of the library, said the new museum will be housed in what was the library’s reading room for current periodicals. The greater availability of publications on the Web, McCabe said, has reduced the amount of printed periodicals the library receives, so the space was readily available.
“We realized the collection was valuable to us and a major addition to New York City,” McCabe said. “It is very nice that we could get it, because it is [also]a teaching tool for our art and classics faculty.”
Walsh, who also has a law degree from Harvard University, is a former assistant U.S. attorney and served as senior vice president and chief administrative officer of Arcata Corp. before founding Sequoia Associates, a private investment firm based in California. In 1997, Walsh donated $10 million toward the construction of the $54 million library, and has also set up an endowment fund for its upkeep. In 2002, Fordham presented Walsh with its Founder’s Award.