philanthropist Michael C. Carlos, who donated
nearly $20 million over two decades to the Emory
museum that bears his name, died of lung cancer in
December at age seventy-five.
Carlos was much more than a benefactor, says President
William M. Chace. He was an extraordinary friend
of the University and an important contributor to the
intellectual life of Emory. He leaves a lasting influence
on the growth and programs of the museum.
was chairman and chief executive officer of National Distributing
Company, a wine and spirits wholesaler founded by his
father, a Greek immigrant who came to Georgia in 1900.
As a tribute to his heritage, Carlos last and largest
gift to the museum was a $10 million pledge in 1999, for
the acquisition of Greek
and Roman masterpieces.
the funds, the museum was able to purchase rare artifacts
from all over the world, including a terracotta drinking
cup painted by one of Athens finest artists, a Grecian
vessel depicting Odysseus escaping the cave of Polyphemus,
a Minoan bathtub (one of three on display in America),
a bronze Hydria vessel, and a Roman sarcophagus with depictions
of Romulus and Remus on the lid. The museum also hired
a full-time Greek and Roman curator, Jasper
Gaunt, to oversee the collection, which is on permanent
display in the Carlos Court galleries.
has shaped the museums space and collections since
his initial pledge of $1.5 million in 1981. The facility
was named in his honor after a 1990 pledge of $3.5 million,
the impetus for the museums 35,000-square-foot expansion,
designed by architect Michael Graves, which opened in
vision helped transform Emorys museum from a ragtag
collection to one of the most significant university museums
in the country, says Board of Trustees chair Ben Johnson.
There was a certain unscripted, spontaneous spirit
to him, Johnson says. When he thought it was
time to move a project along, he would . . . give the
received an honorary degree from Emory in 1989, and was
named Georgia Philanthropist of the Year in 1992. He
was the most decisive philanthropist Ive ever known,
said former Emory President James T. Laney. In his
personal life, he wanted to be private, but his name,
he wanted recognized. M.J.L.