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In Memoriam: Melville “Mickey” Straus

Melville “Mickey” Straus, Class of 1960

Hood Quarterly, autumn 2014

A great friend and benefactor to Dartmouth and the Hood Museum of Art, Melville “Mickey” Straus, Class of 1960 passed away in May of this year. Passionate about the arts and an avid collector of mid-century modern and contemporary art, Mickey was a longtime member of the museum’s Lathrop Fellow patron group, and he actively embraced the museum’s teaching mission and supported it in myriad ways. He also helped bring a number of important works of art into the museum’s collection, including paintings by Robert Motherwell, prints by Kara Walker and Joel Shapiro, and the large untitled sculpture by Joel Shapiro that graces the gateway area to the museum. In 2001, Mickey and his wife, Leila, opened their home to a special event that highlighted the importance of the arts at Dartmouth. Mickey and Leila were also major supporters of the museum’s 2010 exhibition Frank Stella: Irregular Polygons. Mickey’s support of Dartmouth and the museum also extended to numerous acts of service: he served on the Board of Overseers of the Hopkins Center and Hood Museum of Art from 1982 to 1988, and from 1990 to 1996. He also served on the President’s Leadership Council, the Dickey Endowment Board of Visitors, and was Class Officer on the Executive Committee, as well as volunteering for numerous other committees. Last December, Mickey generously endowed the Leila and Melville Straus 1960 Family Symposium Fund to support an annual community dialogue event, hosted by the Dickey Center. He received the Alumni Award from Dartmouth in 1999.

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