July 9, 2001
Former student creates Robins research fund
By Eric Rangus firstname.lastname@example.org
Last fall, Gay Robins, chair of art history, got a call from former student
Brian Winterfeldt. It wasnt an uncommon occurrence; she and Winterfeldt
had remained friends since his graduation from Emory in 1994.
His news, though, went far beyond small talk.
Although Winterfeldt had majored in art history, he did not pursue a
career in the humanities.
Still, he kept his interest in art and art history. To honor Robins,
whom he called a true role model, Winterfeldt planned to create the Gay
Robins Fund for Egyptological Research.
In January, the fund became a reality as the first money from Winterfeldts
$10,000 pledge over the next three years came in. The money comes with
no restrictions, and Robins is free to use it in whatever way she sees
To have a research fund is something you dream of but never think
will happen, Robins said.
I wanted to give back to someone who has served as such an incredible
role model for me, Winterfeldt said. Dr. Robins stands out
for so many reasons. She is an amazing scholar and an incredible teacher.
But also she is caring honest and hard working. She always took time from
her intensely busy schedule to meet not only with me, but all of her students.
Since Dr. Robins did so much for me, I wanted to do something for her.
John Ingersoll, director of development for Emory College, helped Winterfeldt,
who has so far donated $2,000 out of his own pocket, create the fund.
Winterfeldt has not sought outside donations but said he might in the
I think it is extremely important that academics be patronized,
Winterfeldt said. Even at a school as wealthy as Emory, professors
are still paid relatively small salariesparticularly in art historyand
given small research funds. The cost of scholarship is high, particularly
when you are studying ancient cultures that require a great deal of travel
to properly research.
Indeed, one of the first things Robins used the funding for was developing
photographs from a trip she took with about 20 others (including Senior
Vice President of Institutional Advancement Bill Fox and his wife) to
Egypt this past spring. The trip was organized by the Association of Emory
Alumni and travelers were primarily Emory graduates.
Robins recently stepped down as chair of the art history department.
She will teach in the fall, then take leave for all of 2002, when she
hopes to return to her neglected research.
This is where extra funding will really be helpful, Robins
said. Once you start researching there are all sorts of expenses.