This dedication is particularly noteworthy for this wonderful portrait gallery, not only because Camilla herself is so noteworthy. This portrait is in part the outcome of several years of work to better understand IU’s “hidden figures”, or in Camilla’s case, maybe “somewhat hidden figures”. The “Bridging the Visibility Gap” project that Lauren mentioned has brought so many amazing stories of women like Camilla and many others into visibility. Some of these women, like Alice McDonald Nelson and Carrie Parker Taylor, are represented in this gallery.
Good afternoon. It is so wonderful to be here for this occasion, and to see so many friends assembled to pay tribute to an icon of Indiana University. I met Camilla Williams in 2008 and was fortunate to stay in touch with her until her passing. She was truly a legend, and the more I learned about her and talked with her, the more honored I felt that I had the chance to be with her. She was extraordinary in many ways, and she was also, I think, the only person I’ve ever met, about whom it can be said that she “dripped with pearls”. She was a beautiful, elegant woman in addition to being an extraordinary artist.
It’s been my great pleasure to work with the Women’s Philanthropy Leadership Council on a fundraising campaign for the Visibility Fund, an endowment associated with “Bridging the Visibility Gap” that will make it possible in perpetuity to support the creation of portraits and other forms of recognition for women and underrepresented minorities to become part of the visible landscape of our campuses. The Visibility Fund was an instrumental part of what brought the portrait we dedicate today into being, and I want to thank the many alumnae and friends who donated to create the Fund, especially Julie Christopher. Her original gift, which she made as a matching opportunity, inspired over 100 others to contribute as well. And I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that the Fund is always open for contributions if anyone here would like to join those 100 donors!