Gambill, Norman

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Gambill, Norman

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Norman Paul Gambill was born April 3, 1941 in Dade City, FL, to George Washington Gambill IV and Dorcas (Darling) Gambill. He grew up in Florida and Georgia. / He was a scholar in art history and film studies with degrees from Emory University, the University of Iowa and Syracuse University. His also graduated from Emory at Oxford prep school in Atlanta. / He was an art history professor at the University of Illinois and South Dakota State University where he headed the Visual Arts Department for 26 years, retiring in 2010. / During his 48-year career, he taught thousands of undergraduate students to love art and understand its importance in world history. He also worked with graduate students on courses in Asian art, film art and design, women artists, and international films. / He was an ardent fan of Oscar Wilde and Orson Welles. His lectures and writings about Welles’s groundbreaking film “Citizen Kane” inspired many to take up film studies. His work as a scholar took him around the country giving lectures and around the world sharing his expertise with academics, particularly those who attended the Oxford Roundtable in 2010. / He published articles in scholarly journals and respected film magazines. His work on 1930s films and their importance in the cultural history of the United States is being published in his book, “Ritz and American Mediocrity.” He was initiated into Phi Kappa Phi, the national honor society for those with notable academic accomplishments, in 2006. / His innovative fund-raising events raised money for his department and the Brookings community. With the help of the Visual Arts Group of local volunteers, he founded the annual Evening for the Arts dinner and art auction. The yearly Chocolate Auction held on or around Valentine’s Day raised funds by with an auction of chocolate desserts donated by restaurants and local bakers. Proceeds provided scholarships for art students. / He also co-founded the annual DVAGI, Design and Visual Arts Group Inc., fundraiser in collaboration with the SDSU departments of Visual Arts, Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design, and Horticulture, Forestry and Landscape Design. Money from an auction of designers’ services raised money for students to travel to art and design events across the country. / His reputation for lavish parties carried over to his private life where he served abundant food and wine to friends from Brookings and across the country in his 19th Century house, a showplace for his extensive art collection. / He is survived by his brother Stephen, Palmetto FL; his sister, Janine Dover, Camilla, GA.; two nieces and a nephew. Hundreds of friends also survive and will miss his quick wit and impeccable sense of style. / Dr. Norman P. Gambill, died from heart failure on July 12, 2016, at the Neighborhoods at Brookview in Brookings.


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