Ohlendorf

Created solely to acquire the $33 million Suida-Manning Art Collection for the Blanton Museum of Art in 1998, the UT Fine Arts Foundation is paying off the remaining balance on the collection and is expected to transfer full ownership to the museum by 2016.

The UT Fine Arts Foundation is one of several nonprofits that manage gifts to the University. UT President William Powers Jr. appointed University administrators to lead the UT Fine Arts Foundation, but most external foundations, including the School of Law Foundation, are governed by an independent board. 

The independent boards often include University employees, but most are not appointed by the University. 

The University holds the collection through a lease agreement with the foundation, and it is housed and displayed at the Blanton Museum. The foundation is still paying off the collection in quarterly payments. UT pays the foundation every three months for a larger ownership of the collection, which the foundation uses toward the acquisition, according to Patricia Ohlendorf, the University’s vice president for legal affairs and president of the foundation.

“These transactions will be finalized in April 2016, at which time UT will own the full collection and the need for the Foundation will cease,” Ohlendorf said in an email.

The entire process required approval by the UT System Board of Regents. Unlike other external foundations, the UT Fine Arts Foundation no longer raises funds because it was not set up to continuously fundraise for the University. As a nonprofit, the foundation could legally accept gifts, though tax documents filed by the foundation show no new contributions in recent years. 

The Suida-Manning Art Collection is comprised of almost 250 European paintings, 400 drawings and 20 sculptures from the 1300s to the 1700s. Wilhelm Suida and his daughter Bertina Manning assembled the collection, and Manning’s daughter was essential in the acquisition of the collection for UT. Alessandra Manning Dolnier and her husband donated a part of the collection along with $5 million from four anonymous supporters, according to a 1999 Blanton press release.

The permanent exhibition displays 50 works of art in the Blanton Museum.

“[The collection] is used for teaching, research, display and special programming, all within the mission and public purposes of UT and the foundation,” Ohlendorf said.

Even though the foundation’s mission statement lists the College of Fine Arts as a benefactor, the college does not benefit from the foundation, fine arts Dean Doug Dempster said through a spokesperson. Dempster is the foundation’s vice president and secretary.

Blanton Museum spokeswoman Kathleen Stimpert said acquiring the collection was significant for the museum and the University.

“It brought to campus one of the nation’s preeminent collections of Renaissance and Baroque art, providing new opportunities for research and scholarship, and a chance for UT students, faculty and staff to engage with masterworks not available anywhere else in Austin.”

Related Headlines

Changes could be on the horizon for UT fundraising foundations

University External Foundations Profiles

Fine Arts Foundation (Inactive)

Foundation brings in extra revenue to McCombs

LBJ Foundation contributes to school, library

Communication foundation inactive after years of not turning profit

New investigations of UT Law School Foundation and forgivable loans begin

Created solely to acquire the $33 million Suida-Manning Art Collection for the Blanton Museum of Art in 1998, the UT Fine Arts Foundation is paying off the remaining balance on the collection and is expected to transfer full ownership to the museum by 2016.

The UT Fine Arts Foundation is one of several nonprofits that manage gifts to the University. UT President William Powers Jr. appointed University administrators to lead the UT Fine Arts Foundation, but most external foundations, including the School of Law Foundation, are governed by an independent board. 

The independent boards often include University employees, but most are not appointed by the University. 

The University holds the collection through a lease agreement with the foundation, and it is housed and displayed at the Blanton Museum. The foundation is still paying off the collection in quarterly payments. UT pays the foundation every three months for a larger ownership of the collection, which the foundation uses toward the acquisition, according to Patricia Ohlendorf, the University’s vice president for legal affairs and president of the foundation.

“These transactions will be finalized in April 2016, at which time UT will own the full collection and the need for the Foundation will cease,” Ohlendorf said in an email.

The entire process required approval by the UT System Board of Regents. Unlike other external foundations, the UT Fine Arts Foundation no longer raises funds because it was not set up to continuously fundraise for the University. As a nonprofit, the foundation could legally accept gifts, though tax documents filed by the foundation show no new contributions in recent years. 

The Suida-Manning Art Collection is comprised of almost 250 European paintings, 400 drawings and 20 sculptures from the 1300s to the 1700s. Wilhelm Suida and his daughter Bertina Manning assembled the collection, and Manning’s daughter was essential in the acquisition of the collection for UT. Alessandra Manning Dolnier and her husband donated a part of the collection along with $5 million from four anonymous supporters, according to a 1999 Blanton press release.

The permanent exhibition displays 50 works of art in the Blanton Museum.

“[The collection] is used for teaching, research, display and special programming, all within the mission and public purposes of UT and the foundation,” Ohlendorf said.

Even though the foundation’s mission statement lists the College of Fine Arts as a benefactor, the college does not benefit from the foundation, fine arts Dean Doug Dempster said through a spokesperson. Dempster is the foundation’s vice president and secretary.

Blanton Museum spokeswoman Kathleen Stimpert said acquiring the collection was significant for the museum and the University.

“It brought to campus one of the nation’s preeminent collections of Renaissance and Baroque art, providing new opportunities for research and scholarship, and a chance for UT students, faculty and staff to engage with masterworks not available anywhere else in Austin.”

Following the recent resignation of women’s track and field head coach Bev Kearney, several questions regarding the timing of the incident remain.

Kearney admitted in late October to having “an intimate consensual relationship” in 2002 with “a student-athlete in [the] program,” according to a statement from Patricia Ohlendorf, the University’s vice president for legal affairs.

Kearney’s relationship with the adult student-athlete began about 10 1/2 years ago and ended about eight years ago.

Kearney resigned Jan. 5 after being notified that the University was prepared to begin the termination process.

“You know, you get caught up in the emotional and the physical components of a relationship, and the last thing you’re doing is thinking rationally,” Kearney said in a Jan. 8 interview on the CNN program, “Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien.”

Kearney admitted to the previous relationship after it was brought to the attention of the athletic department in October by the still unrevealed former student-athlete involved. The University then placed Kearney on paid administrative leave as it further investigated the matter before she resigned later on.

According to the University’s Handbook of Operating Procedures, “the University strongly discourages consensual relationships between supervisors and subordinates, teachers and students and advisors and students.” The policy goes on to say that a failure to report the relationship “will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.”

The University implemented the policy in November 2001, about a year before the start of the relationship. But Kearney’s attorney Derek Howard said that the University’s reasoning for firing Kearney made no mention of the policy.

“[The University] doesn’t mention [Kearney’s] failure to report the relationship as the reason for firing her,” Howard said. “It’s because she had the relationship, period.”

In her statement, Ohlendorf said the relationship was “unprofessional and crosses the line of trust placed in the head coach for all aspects of the athletic program and the best interests of the student-athletes on the team.”

Kearney told CNN that while she was unaware of the policy to begin with, the disclosure part was never the reason for her termination.

“I said then, ‘Has everyone else been terminated as a point of reference of having had a relationship?’ and the answer was ... ‘We don’t view those the same as yours.’”

There are also several questions regarding the timing of the firing. According to a Nov. 30 story by The Associated Press, Kearney was up for a raise. Chris Plonsky, women’s athletics director, emailed President William Powers Jr. on Sept. 24 to request the raise, which would have brought Kearney’s base salary up from $270,000 per year plus bonuses to $397,000 per year plus bonuses in 2012-13. By 2017, her base salary would have been up to $475,000 per year. Plonsky said in the email that the raise would put her among the top three highest compensated track coaches in the nation.

Contracts need to be approved by the UT System Board of Regents, and Kearney’s contract was set to be on the board’s October agenda until being pulled by administrators, according to the story.

Howard said he believes the revelation of the relationship and the timing of Kearney’s proposed raise are not unrelated.

“We don’t think it was a coincidence,” Howard said. “We do believe there was a motivation to do that.”

Howard said he and Kearney are discussing legal options, which could include a discrimination lawsuit that would not only examine relationships between head coaches and student-athletes but relationships between students and other University employees, including faculty members.

Kearney was the women’s track and field head coach since 1993, leading the Longhorns to six national championships — three indoor and three outdoor — during her 20-year tenure. She was named her conference’s coach of the year 16 times and guided Texas to 14 straight top-10 finishes at the NCAA Outdoor Championships between 1994 and 2007, a previously unprecedented feat.

Kearney had been in a car accident in 2002 and suffered spinal injuries. She had to learn how to walk again, and her story and perseverance have been widely covered by local and national media outlets. Up until her firing, 2012 was a year filled with accomplishments for Kearney including being recognized as one of CNN’s “Breakthrough Women,” sharing the stage with Michelle Obama at the BET Honors gala and watching eight of her former student-athletes compete in the summer Olympics.

Kearney has not been given any opportunity to speak with the team, Howard said. Rose Brimmer, who spent eight seasons as an assistant coach under Kearney, will take over as interim head women’s track and field coach, while Stephen Sisson, who has been an assistant women’s track and field coach at Texas since 2006, will take on “expanded duties.” The athletic department did not respond to a question on whether it had begun its search for a new head coach.