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Honoring Life Trustee Vernon Faulconer '61

Grinnell College announces the loss of a beloved and dedicated member of the Grinnell community. Life Trustee Vernon Faulconer ’61 died unexpectedly Friday morning in Dallas.

A longtime leader and benefactor of the College, Faulconer joined the Board of Trustees in 1984 and actively served on numerous committees and ad hoc working groups throughout his tenure. On campus he was perhaps best known as founder, along with his wife Amy Hamamoto Faulconer ’59, of the Faulconer Gallery in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts. Since the Gallery's opening in 1999, Vernon has partnered with Gallery Director Lesley Wright to build the venue and its collection. The Faulconer is now renowned as a home for exhibitions whose intelligence and sophistication exceed their modest dimensions: shows that have captivated and inspired countless students, faculty, staff, alumni, and visitors.

Faulconer's next Grinnell project was to be "Start by Asking Questions," an exhibition of world-class 20th and 21st-century artworks from The Warehouse, the collection he and Amy built with their friends and collecting partners, Cindy and Howard Rachofsky. The four were recently recognized among the world's top 200 art collectors. Vernon's family has indicated that planning should continue for the exhibition, which is scheduled to open in the Faulconer Gallery on September 18.

In addition to his leadership at Grinnell, Faulconer was deeply involved in work at Tyler (TX) Junior College, where he created the Faulconer Academic Incentive Award for Minority Students; as a board member of the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, TX; and also as a member of the board of the Dallas Museum of Art, where he was instrumental in helping build the Museum's worldwide reputation. Grinnell awarded Faulconer an Honorary Doctorate of Laws degree in 2003 in recognition of his lifelong service and broader community impact.

Vernon Faulconer was an outsize presence in Grinnell's recent history: warm, affectionate, generous, and visionary. A friend, colleague, and mentor to many, he will be sorely missed.

Anyone who wishes to offer their thoughts and sympathies to Faulconer's family can do so at his memorial website.