A Parkland College arts department received the major lift of a $150,000 donation from a local physician who had taken classes in the department.
On Jan. 7, family members of the late Dr. Victor Feldman presented the Parkland College Foundation with the gift, designated to support Ceramics, a studio-art department within the college's Art and Design program.
A longtime Champaign-Urbana ophthalmologist who passed away last May, Dr. Feldman began taking Parkland Ceramics classes after his retirement, discovering a new skill he enjoyed for many years thereafter.
His generous gift will be used to improve Ceramics course curricula and provide other program support. Associate art professor and Ceramics faculty Chris Berti felt humbled by the gift, calling it a continuation of Dr. Feldman's generosity to the program.
"I'm touched beyond words!" Berti said. "As a continuing student, Victor was a fixture in my Ceramics class. His positive contributions to the class environment were demonstrated by his positive energy, consistent work ethic, skill, and passion for ceramics. Additionally, he generously donated numerous works every year to Parkland Art Gallery (Giertz Gallery) fundraisers and frequently helped other students in the combined beginning and advanced Ceramics class."
A University of Illinois medical school graduate and former US Army captain, Dr. Feldman completed his residency in ophthalmology at the Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary before joining the staff of Champaign's Christie Clinic in 1967. He practiced ophthalmology locally for 35 years.
At the University of Illinois Medical School, where Dr. Feldman taught, he won two Golden Apple Awards as outstanding teacher of the year. He also served on the board of the Busey Trust Company for 30 years. He was known for his philanthropy, serving as a Rotarian and volunteering his services to community nursing homes.
And as a lifelong learner, Dr. Feldman was a model student.
"He set a great example for both traditional and nontraditional students alike," Berti said. "I will miss him."
[Images: Upper left: Dr. Feldman's daughter, Ruth Lyons, second from left, presented his gift to Foundation Director Tracy Wahlfeldt, Art Professor Chris Berti, and Fine and Applied Arts Chair Julie Weishar. Middle right and lower left: Ceramic art by Dr. Feldman.]