UW-Madison remembers art advocate, philanthropist Jerome Chazen

Jerome Chazen
Jerome Chazen(BRYCE RICHTER/UW-Madison)
Published: Feb. 7, 2022 at 10:53 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Jerome Chazen, a philanthropist, arts advocate and man whose name was later honored in the new namesake of the art museum on UW-Madison’s campus, has died. He was 94 years old.

Chazen had died on Sunday, UW-Madison announced.

Jerome Chazen was a member of the class of 1948 at UW-Madison, earning a bachelor’s degree in economics. He also met his wife, Simona, while they were both students at the school. They had been married for 72 years.

Museum director Amy Gilman said she was deeply saddened by the news and said Chazen supported her as she entered into her role as director.

“He was a force in every part of his life – business, family, art collecting, philanthropy – and perhaps his most profound legacy will be his everlasting pursuit of his passions,” Gilman said.

“I will forever cherish the memory of Jerry and I standing on the bridge between the two buildings that comprise the Chazen, and discussing how the museum had grown and changed, and what we could envision for its future,” Gilman continued. “As I continue to lead this great institution, I promise to always do so in the spirit of Jerry Chazen – with fervor, intention, and generosity.”

Jerome and Simona Chazen became active with the museum, which was formerly known as the Elvehjem Museum of Art, in the 1980s. They donated their first gift of art to the museum in 2002 and the museum was renamed in honor of their lead gift in 2005. This made way for the Chazen Museum of Art to be expanded in 2011.

“Jerry was deeply devoted to the arts and to education,” said Chancellor Rebecca Blank. “His commitment to UW–Madison will live on in the Chazen Museum of Art and the many lives he touched.”

A funeral for Jerome Chazen will be held at 9:30 a.m. eastern time at Riverside Memorial Chapter in Manhattan and on livestream.

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