Benedictine University is a private Catholic university, nestled in the west Chicago suburban community of Lisle, Illinois. Over the last forty years, the university has developed an expansive permanent art collection, which includes fine and applied arts;consisting of local, regional and internationally-recognized artists.
In lieu of not having a university art gallery, the university appropriated various spaces on its campus over the years (in display cases and hallways) as needed. Exhibitions originated on the fourth floor of Old Ben Hall, and took place in Lownik Hall, Krasa Center, and Kindlon Hall of Learning.
Old Ben Hall's fourth floor was filled with the collection until its demolition, upon which Fr. Komechak dispersed the collection throughout the campus and moved into 900 square feet of space in Scholl Hall. Since 2009, exhibition space in the first and second floors of Kindlon Hall and the display cases of Krasa Center, has provided temporary exhibits of the permanent collection, donations and acquisitions as well as artwork by students, faculty, local, national and international artists.
In December of 2012, the president of Benedictine University, Dr. William Carroll, announced that Benedictine University was going ahead with plans to build the Fr. Michael Komechak, O.S.B. Art Gallery on the 5th floor of Kindlon Hall of Learning. The gallery space and archival and storage space total 2700 square feet, plus an additional 2000 square feet on the north end of the fifth floor which is used for hosting events.
On August 19, 2013, Fr. Michael's birthday, the ribbon was cut at an opening reception for the new, much anticipated, vital and unique art gallery.
Fr. Michael E. Komechak, O.S.B
Born in 1932 in Gary, Ind., Edward Komechak, came to Lisle, Illinois in 1946 to attend St. Procopius Academy. He graduated from what is now, Benet Academy, in 1950 and attended St. Procopius College, graduating in 1954. Edward Komechak entered the monastery at St. Procopius Abbey and was ordained a Catholic priest and took the name Michael in 1959. Fr. Michael earned a master's degree in literature at the University of Notre Dame in 1961.
|1896||Benedictine monks purchased land in Lisle, IL|
|1900||Ground-breaking and cornerstone laid for St. Procopius College in Lisle|
|1910||First Bachelor of Arts degrees conferred|
|1920||Music, art and drama courses were added to the curriculum|
|1971||St. Procopius College renamed Illinois Benedictine College|
|1978||The Fine Arts Minor was established
The Fine arts Collection was begun with a donation of 400 prints from the Amoco Oil Company
|1980s||Exhibitions were held in the exhibit hall of Lownik hall and the lower level display cases of Krasa|
|1990||William Scarlato was hired to head Fine Arts program|
|1990s||A Fine Arts Core Elective was implemented throughout the university|
|1996||Illinois Benedictine College was renamed Benedictine University|
|2000||The Bachelor of Arts degree with a Studio Arts emphasis was established|
|2001||Fr. Michael Komechak, O.S.B. retires and continued to curate exhibits and add artwork to the permanent collection|
|2008||The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree was established in conjunction with College of DuPage|
|2009||Fr. Michael Komechak, O.S.B., Curator, passes away
Teresa J. Parker hired as Curator of Benedictine University Art Collections and Exhibitions
Special ceremony to dedicate the permanent art collection in Fr. Michael Komechak’s memory and name
|2010||Exhibitions expanded to first and second floors of the Kindlon Hall of Learning|
|2011||Hai Ri Han hired to head new Graphic Arts and Design program|
|2012||President William Carroll announces the new Fr. Michael Komechak O.S.B. Gallery to be installed on the fifth floor of the Kindlon Hall of Learning by August of 2013|
|2013||Opening of the Fr. Michael Komechak O.S.B. Art Gallery|