Philip Eliasoph, PhD, Named Special Assistant to the President for Arts and Culture

Philip Eliasoph, PhD, Named Special Assistant to the President for Arts and Culture

Philip Eliasoph, PhD, headshot

Philip Eliasoph, PhD

Dr. Eliasoph, longtime Fairfield professor of art history and visual culture, will assume his new role next academic year.

Fairfield University is pleased to announce that Philip I. Eliasoph, PhD, professor of art history and visual culture, will serve as special assistant to the president for arts and culture, beginning at the start of the next academic year.

In this role, and working as a member of the University’s senior leadership team, Dr. Eliasoph will spearhead the University’s efforts to promote and enhance arts and cultural offerings to the greater community, work with partners across campus to enhance the quality of the overall Fairfield undergraduate experience, and more sharply define the profile of the arts at Fairfield.

“Dr. Eliasoph is ideally suited to this critical role at this time in our evolution,” said President Mark R. Nemec, PhD. “He is a greatly respected advocate for our University, and for the profile of arts and culture in particular.”

In 1996, Dr. Eliasoph founded (and remains director and moderator) of the Open VISIONS Forum, the University’s well-known public affairs series, which has brought many global and national thought leaders and newsmakers to the Fairfield community. As an art historian, Dr. Eliasoph has made significant scholarly contributions to his field as the author of numerous books and studies, including works on Adolf Dehn, Colleen Browning, Robert Vickrey, and Paul Cadmus.

Dr. Eliasoph joined Fairfield in 1975 after receiving his doctorate from Binghamton University, and has contributed to the University’s mission, serving as chair of the Visual and Performing Arts Department from 1984 to 1989, founding the Fairfield Florence Campus Study Abroad program in 1986, and playing an instrumental role in the establishment of the Carl & Dorothy Bennett Center for Judaic Studies.

He was the founding director of the Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery and mentor for the Open MINDS Institute for lifelong learning. His efforts also led to the loan of ten original Renaissance and Baroque paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, which serve as the core collection of the Fairfield University Art Museum.

He has also been a public voice of appreciation and discernment in the arts, producing art reviews for the Stamford Advocate, Greenwich Time, and Connecticut Post newspapers. He was the co-president and co-founder of the Town of Fairfield Arts Council. As a gubernatorial appointee to the position of commissioner for the Connecticut Commission for Culture & Tourism, he served in Hartford under the Department of Community Economic Development from 2009 to 2014, and was a signatory founding trustee of the Connecticut Arts Foundation in 2016.

In 2016, he was appointed faculty curator for visual arts and culture for The New York Times In Education, an online news resource for educators and students, uploading weekly posts on art exhibitions, museum ethics, and contemporary arts movements from New York to Nairobi.

"Building from our Ignatian tradition," Dr. Nemec noted, "we have a particular mission to engage in a life-enhancing way with the community around us, inviting our neighbors into a dialogue with our history and culture, and forming our students so that they have a deep appreciation for the role that the arts play in the expression and articulation of the human spirit and its aspirations." 

“Dr. Eliasoph has always keenly expressed his desire for Fairfield to reach its potential as a center for arts and culture in our region," Dr. Nemec continued, "and I am confident that working with the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts, the Fairfield University Art Museum, and all of those in our community engaged in the arts, he will help lead us to the next phase of our evolution in this most important work."

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