Julian Akus (21 April 1921—21 February 1981)
The Akus Gallery was named in honor of art professor Julian Akus who was a member of the faculty beginning in 1952 of what was then Willimantic State College (ECSU). Akus started his career as Assistant Professor of Art and later became the Department Chairman for the Art Program at Eastern. Working with dedication until his death in 1981, he served the college community for twenty-nine years.
Akus was educated at Indiana and Columbia Universities and continued his formal art studies at the American University, Shrivenhem, England, and in Europe. His paintings were exhibited widely in New England and New York State, including the Providence and Boston Art Festivals, the Fall River, Mass., and Purchase, N.Y., Art Exhibitions and the Westchester (N.Y.) Art Society.
“Julian was an idealist who understood with perfect clarity that the world is less than perfect. He answered the harshness of life with the beauty of his art and compassion in his soul. Julian felt everything with great intensity; he took life seriously and could not reconcile himself to injustice in any form. Nevertheless, he was the most light-hearted of companies, sociable, good-humored, and filled with the excitement of life. He believed in the future and would not allow himself to be turned aside by discouragement.” – Leo Schneiderman, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Delivered during the Julian Akus Memorial Service
This biography is Courtesy of J. Eugene Smith Library Archives