Dr. John M. “Jack” Wilson, professor emeritus of art history at Hope College and the former director of the DePree Art Gallery (1971-1999) died Thursday, June 3, 2010, at Holland Hospital in the presence of his family. He was 76.
Dr. Wilson played a central role in the development of the college's gallery program, including overseeing the completion of the gallery in the De Pree Art Center, which was completed in the summer of 1982. He also helped guide the college's art history program to its current status as a full major.
He participated in the creation, in 1979, of two interdisciplinary courses, "The Golden Age of Greece" and "Two Souls of Germany" and continued to teach in both courses until 1997.
He curated, installed or administered numerous exhibitions at the college. His publications included catalogs for exhibitions at Hope that he curated, including "Dutch Art and Modern Life: 1882-1982," prepared for the show that marked the gallery's debut.
Prior to coming to Hope, he held teaching positions with the Toledo Museum of Art and University of Toledo, and the University of Minnesota.
Dr. Wilson also served as a visiting lecturer at Grand Valley State University, and has delivered guest lectures at institutions including Aquinas College, the Muskegon Museum of Art and the Grand Rapids Art Museum.
He holds his B.A. from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn.; his M.A. from the University of Minnesota; and his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa.
He is survived by his wife Virginia, and his son Tim (wife Pam) and daughter Lise, both of whom live and work in the New York city area.
A funeral service was held on Monday, June 7, 2010.