CSU, Chico News

$3 Million Gift Will Benefit Museum of Anthropology

Date: 08-21-2008

Joe Wills
Public Affairs

California State University, Chico has received a gift commitment of $3 million from emeritus faculty member Valene Smith Posey to benefit the University’s anthropology program and its Museum of Anthropology.

The gift was announced by CSU, Chico President Paul Zingg at the fall 2008 Convocation for faculty and staff of the University on Thursday, Aug. 21.

Smith Posey taught in the anthropology department from 1967 to 1998. An expert on tourism and a frequent world traveler, Smith Posey has been a major supporter of the University’s Museum of Anthropology since its inception in 1971.

“Valene is a pioneer in the field of anthropology and cultural heritage tourism,” said Stacy Schaefer, chair of the Department of Anthropology and co-director of the Museum of Anthropology. “Her worldly knowledge and generosity to the Museum of Anthropology began decades ago when, as a faculty member in the department, she began collecting objects for the museum on her field travels around the globe. Valene is keenly aware that objects have stories to tell about peoples, cultures, inspiration, and artistic creativity. She also recognizes the vital role the museum has to educate children, University students and the public about humanity and the museum’s mission to train our students for careers in museums and in the field of anthropology.

“Valene’s generous gift will enable the Museum of Anthropology and the anthropology program to soar to new heights of excellence that build bridges of understanding about our place as humans in the world and in the universe,” said Schaefer.

A long-time Chico resident, Smith Posey has been involved in campus and community organizations for many years. She was founding president of the Chico Museum Association, a founding member of the Enloe Hospital Foundation and has been a member of Soroptimist International, Chico, since 1968. She currently sits on the University Foundation Board of Governors.

In addition to her $3 million bequest benefiting the anthropology program and the Museum of Anthropology, Smith Posey has made numerous prior gifts to support the campus and the community.

“Valene’s wonderful gift is all about vision,” said Zingg. “It supports the University’s mission to serve our students, community and region, and provides a powerful invitation and reason for others to do the same. We are thrilled that through such a gift Valene has found another way to support the work of the University and to accomplish her personal goals.”

The Museum of Anthropology, housed in Langdon Hall, was established by Keith Johnson, professor emeritus. Leadership funding included gifts from Smith Posey, who had extensive experience with museums beginning with the famed Southwest Museum in Los Angeles. Additional museum funding has come from bequests of Smith Posey’s two prior husbands, who shared her dream of supporting the museum: the late Edwin C. Golay (1916-1980) and the late Stanley G. McIntyre (1916-2000).

“I am very excited about the future of our anthropology program and the Museum of Anthropology,” said Smith Posey. “For example, I’m looking forward to how we can expand and enhance the museum certificate program, the graduates from which are now professionally employed in major museums across the USA as well as several in foreign national museums.

“The museum will become Chico’s ‘window to the world,’ as it adds to the existing holdings of artifacts from the Arctic, China’s historic past and local archaeology,” said Smith Posey.