New endowment fund supports Art Conservation

New endowment fund supports Art Conservation

February 28, 2014


An Art Conservation graduate student works on a painting.

By Craig Leroux, Senior Communications Officer

The Master of Art Conservation (MAC) program at Queen’s, the only graduate program of its kind in Canada, marks its 40th anniversary this year.

The program’s faculty and students have another reason to celebrate: a recent gift through the Initiative Campaign from alumna Margaret Light (BA’47) has created an endowed fund to support teaching and research in the program.

“Mrs. Light has many close connections to Queen’s and I have had the opportunity to meet or speak with her on several occasions and speak about her deep interest in art and art conservation,” says Principal Daniel Woolf. “We are grateful that she recognized the excellence and uniqueness of our Art Conservation program and saw a way to invest in Queen’s students, many of whom will work on the preservation of important cultural artifacts during their careers.”

Mrs. Light, an active Queen’s alumna, was married to the late Walter Light (BSc’49; LLD’81), a former chief executive officer and chair of Northern Telecom, who retired in 1985 and served as the chair of Queen’s Board of Trustees from 1975 to 1980. Walter Light Hall was named in his honour in 1989.

Two students collaborate on a conservation project.

The Margaret A. Light Fellowship Fund in Art Conservation, created by Mrs. Light’s gift of more than $1 million, will provide annual support for a range of priorities, such as teaching fellows, visiting scholars, guest lectures, workshops, faculty research, and equipment.

“I think it is absolutely essential that we preserve and care for our country’s important artifacts,” says Mrs. Light. “This was reinforced to me when I was fortunate, on my travels, to visit the conservation labs in York, England and Florence, Italy. I knew of Queen’s MAC degree and was proud of their achievements, so it was an easy decision to encourage them further with my donation. I know they will use it wisely.”

“Had this course been an option when I graduated, I am certain it would have been my choice for further study,” adds Mrs. Light. “I am looking forward to visiting their labs again to see their new projects.”

Krysia Spirydowicz is a professor of artifact conservation and the director of the MAC program. She says that this new fund will provide a host of new opportunities to enrich the student experience in the program.

“We simply cannot express our gratitude strongly enough,” says Prof. Spirydowicz. “Mrs. Light has long been a supporter of our program, and this new fund will allow us to expand the range of what we offer and create new opportunities for our students.”

Prof. Krysia Spirydowicz

Queen’s MAC graduates go on to work in museums and galleries throughout Canada and around the world. The skills they master at Queen’s are the result of their training in both the science and art of conservation.

“Experiential learning is a large part of our program. Our students do a great deal of work on objects and art works in our conservation labs,” says Prof. Spirydowicz. “This fund will allow us to purchase new state of the art equipment, bring in conservation experts, and provide more opportunities for our students to be involved in conservation projects and faculty research.”

The Initiative Campaign is the most ambitious fundraising campaign in the university’s history. The goal is to raise half a billion dollars to ensure Queen’s future as a destination for exceptional people. The campaign will nurture a supportive campus community, enhance the student learning experience, and secure a global reputation in discovery and inquiry.

More about the Master of Art Conservation program

More about the Initiative Campaign