Personal Giving Stories


Photo of Nancy HahnAs a student at UIS, Nancy Hahn learned about the Chartres Cathedral in a class called Medieval Art and Architecture taught by Margaret Rossiter. “We delved deeply into the cathedral,” Nancy said, “spending at least a month on the history and art of the place—the years it took to build and the labor and love that went into it.”

Visual connections she made during her studies between the classroom and the real world of art and history have inspired Nancy Hahn to establish a $100,000 charitable gift annuity in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences to support global education. Her gift will make funds available to art history students and faculty who want to study in Western Europe.

Nancy knows firsthand how important being able to visit the places one is studying can be. She didn’t really appreciate the cathedral until she later visited Europe and walked into the building itself in Chartres, France.

“It was like walking into a living place,” she said. “I could see the blood and sweat of the workers running down the aisles. I could hear a heartbeat and visualize the people who spent their entire lives creating the windows and the other parts of the cathedral. I could see the straw on the ground and watch the pilgrims coming from so far away to worship.”

Nancy earned a degree in creative arts from UIS (then Sangamon State University) in 1981 and an M.A. in history in 1987.

Asked about the difference she hopes to make, Nancy said, “I want to pass on a deeper appreciation of all things beautiful. If we really want to appreciate what we have right now, we need to come full circle to see the work and the art that has gone before.”

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