Vernon Faulconer '61– oilman, philanthropist, and art collector – was born in 1939 in El Dorado, Kansas, and grew up on a dairy farm. Faulconer and his future wife, Amy Hamamoto ‘59, met while students at Grinnell; a perusal of yearbooks from the College Archives shows a young “Vern Faulconer” in group photos with fellow residents of South Younker Hall. Amy is pictured with the women of Loose Hall, and was active in the Student Iowa State Education Association and Orchesis.
The couple began their married life in Kansas. In 1970, the family moved to Tyler, Texas, where Faulconer soon started Vernon E. Faulconer, Inc., an oil- and gas-equipment leasing company that soon grew to a large production company, currently operating oil and gas wells in nine states.
Longtime friend Ron Gleason commented in a recent interview that Vernon Faulconer was “anything but a stereotypical oil- and gas-man,” describing him as very humble. Gleason now directs the Faulconer Scholar program, founded by Vernon Faulconer in 1990. To date, the scholarship program has allowed 750 African-American and Hispanic students in the Tyler community to attend Tyler Junior College. “He really believed that the key to opportunity was education. He saw that in his own life, and in the lives of the people around him” (Williams).
Vernon Faulconer joined the Grinnell College Board of Trustees in 1984, serving for many years and on numerous committees. He was actively involved in the development and building of the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, and in 1999, the art gallery was named in honor of Vernon and Amy Faulconer. The Faulconers have been involved ever since with building the facility’s collection and program in close partnership with its director.
Start by Asking Questions: Contemporary Art from the Faulconer and Rachofsky Collections, Dallas, an eagerly-anticipated Faulconer Gallery exhibition, runs from September 18 to December 13. Vernon Faulconer’s legacy of enriching lives through art and education continues with this exhibition of forty-six works from The Warehouse, the contemporary art collection Vernon and Amy built with Howard and Cindy Rachofsky in Dallas, Texas. Represented artists include Janine Antoni, Eric Fischl, Mark Grotjahn, William Kentridge, Sigmar Polke, Yinka Shonibare, Kara Walker, and other artists of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Cyclone. Grinnell: Grinnell College, 1958. Print.
Cyclone. Grinnell: Grinnell College, 1959. Print.
“In Memoriam: Vernon Edward Faulconer ’61.” Grinnell College Website. Grinnell College, 2015. Web.
9 Sept. 2015.
Williams, Coretta. “Tyler Oilman, Philanthropist Faulconer Dies.” Tyler Paper (10 Aug. 2015). Web.
9 Sept. 2015.