Alison and Patrick Deem, both graduates of West Virginia University, have long supported culture, health and the arts at the University, as well as in the state of West Virginia and beyond.

The Bridgeport couple has now pledged $100,000 to the Art Museum of WVU, to support construction of the new museum building, for which the groundbreaking will be held later this year.

Their previous gifts to the WVU School of Art & Design include financial support for the annual Deem Distinguished Visiting Artist Lecture, the J. Bernard Schultz Endowed Professorship, and the Art Museum.

But it is their friendship with the school, and with the College of Creative Arts, that is most cherished by faculty and students at the Creative Arts Center.

“Alison and Patrick Deem are exemplary people, who not only contribute financial support, but also give generously of their time and expertise,” said Joyce Ice, director of the Art Museum of WVU. “Their generosity of spirit is inspiring and we are deeply grateful and honored that they have chosen to support the Art Museum of WVU.”

For the past 18 years, the Deems have sponsored the Deem Distinguished Artist Lecture Series that brings leading contemporary artists and scholars to the WVU campus.

Deem Distinguished Artists have included such notables as Phoebe Adams, Ann Agee, Hachivi Edgar Heap of Birds, Judy Linn, Pam Longobardi, Kendell Geers, Johanna Drucker, Buzz Spector, Diana Cooper, Carmon Colangelo, Willie Cole, Judy Glantzman, Ann Hamilton, James Luna, Mark Klett, Hasan Elahi, Michael Mercil and Amy Franceschini.

“This visiting artist series has become an integral part of the educational experience of thousands of students,” said Alison Helm, director of the School of Art & Design. “It is a high point of each academic year and furthers the mission of the School of Art & Design as a leader in the education, creative development, and professional preparation of artists, teachers and scholars.”

In 2004, the Deems established the J. Bernard Schultz Endowed Professorship, which honors former Dean Bernie Schultz and provides funding to support research and creative activity by a professor of art and design at WVU.

Since graduating from WVU in 1970 from the College of Human Resources and Education, Alison Harper Deem has gone on to give hundreds of hours in time to the College of Creative Arts. She has chaired the college’s Visiting Committee, been a member of the board that manages the partnership between the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and WVU, and helped to found the Friends of the Art Museum of WVU.

She has also served on the membership or boards of the United Way of Harrison County, the Bridgeport Public Library, the West Virginia Library Commission, the United Health Foundation, and the Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

This year, she was named to the Order of Vandalia, the highest honor for extraordinary service to West Virginia University. The Order of Vandalia recognizes those who have made far-reaching contributions to WVU long after their college years.

Susan B. Hardesty, former first lady of WVU and member of the Order of Vandalia, said at that time, “If we are looking for someone who has given her heart and soul to improving the arts at WVU, then Alison Deem is our candidate.”

Patrick Deem is a graduate of the WVU College of Law and practices in Clarksburg, W.Va., with the firm of Steptoe & Johnson PLLC. He has for many years been recognized in The Best Lawyers of America for his expertise in corporate, real estate and natural resources law.

Additionally, he is a former member of the Harrison County Board of Education and he is a past member of the Visiting Committee of the WVU College of Law. He currently serves as vice chairman of the West Virginia United Health System and as chairman of the board of the United Summit Center. He is also currently president-elect of the West Virginia Bar Association.

The Deem’s contribution was made in conjunction with A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University. The $750 million comprehensive campaign being conducted by the WVU Foundation on behalf of the University runs through December 2015.

-WVU-

CONTACT: Charlene Lattea, College of Creative Arts
304-293-4359, Charlene.Lattea@mail.wvu.edu

Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.