World-renowned artist and alumna Wonsook Kim and her husband, Thomas Clement, committed $12 million to Illinois State in 2019. A portion of their transformational gift was designated to establish three named professorships in honor of ISU art faculty who influenced Kim’s artistic journey: Harold Boyd, Harold Gregor, and Ken Holder.

Tyler Lotz, professor of art in ceramics, has been named the Harold Boyd Professor of Art; Ladan Bahmani, assistant professor of art in graphic design, was named the Harold Gregor Professor of Art; and Dr. Lea Cline, associate professor of art history, was named the Ken Holder Professor of Art.

“Professorships like these enable our faculty to embrace new challenges and explore new ideas, and to do so with the confidence and backing of the broader Illinois State community,” President Larry Dietz said.

Wonsook Kim College of Fine Arts Dean Jean Miller and Wonsook Kim School of Art Director Michael Wille expressed appreciation of Kim’s wish to honor and celebrate the teaching and accomplishments of her former professors, as well as to support the next generation of artists and professors receiving these awards.

The professorships have already had a positive effect on the college named in honor of Kim ’75, M.A. ’76, M.F.A. ’78.

In recent months, Cline has given two virtual presentations about her research on Roman archeology and art history. “I’ve been able to advertise Ken’s legacy, Wonsook and Thomas’ generous gift, and to raise the profile of our institution,” she said.

The professorship funded the purchase of a hydraulic press for Lotz. He plans to use the equipment in a new course titled, “Digital Clay,” that focuses on the convergence of technology and ceramics.

For Bahmani, whose work investigates diversity and fluidity in languages as mediated by technology, the professorship has enabled her to expand her research with emerging technologies and trends. She also sees opportunities to broaden students’ perspectives about design by connecting them with designers working in the field.

“We hope these professorships will continue to inspire them,” Dietz said, “as well as serve as a reminder of their impact on Illinois State students, this campus, and the study of art.”

A video has been created, above, to celebrate the three recipients. Watch the video to learn more about each professor’s work and to hear from students whose lives they’ve touched.

Donor funding broadens the scope of faculty research and enhances faculty-student interactions. To learn more about supporting faculty scholarship at Illinois State University, visit For more information about the impact of named professorships, chairs, directorships, and deanships at Illinois State, contact a development professional today.