Robert Lawrence Even, who joined NIU in September of 1963 as an associate professor of art and retired nearly 30 years later, died Tuesday, April 7, in DeKalb. He was 85.
Even served as chair of the Department of Art from 1974 to 1990; it became known as the School of Art in 1987. During his 16 years in charge, the department opened the Arts Annex in Sycamore and the NIU Art Museum Gallery in Chicago.
He also led several summer art studies and art tours to Europe, beginning in 1964.
“Dr. Even’s cumulative years of experience really paid off,” NIU art professor William Brown told the Northern Star in 1986. “He planned ahead of time and got us right in to see everything.”
Born June 7, 1929, in Breckenridge, Minn., he was a veteran of the U.S. Army, having served during the Korean War. He earned his Ph.D. in 1963 from the University of Minnesota, where he completed a master’s degree in 1962. Even held a bachelor’s degree from North Dakota State College in Valley City, N.D.
He is survived by his wife, Christa; children, Timothy Even, Kerry (Candace) Even and Nancy (Peter) ffitch; grandchildren, Brendan and Taylor; and brother, Roger (Mary) Even.
A “Visual Memoir” of Even’s work will be on display from Sunday, May 3, through Saturday, May 23, at The Art Box, 308 E. Lincoln Hwy. A memorial reception will be held there from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, May 3. For more information, call (815) 758-0313.
Memorials can be made to the Robert Lawrence Even Memorial NIU Scholarship, which will be used to establish an NIU art scholarship. Donations should be sent to the Even family in care of Anderson Funeral Home, P.O. Box 605, 2011 S. Fourth St., DeKalb, IL, 60115.