Houston oilman and longtime University of Texas
benefactor Jack S. Blanton, for whom the Blanton Museum of Art is named, died on Dec. 28 at the age of 86.
"The university has lost a great friend," said Bill Powers, president of The University of Texas at Austin, in a statement released today. "Jack Blanton served UT in countless ways. He supported programs as varied as the law school, the Wildflower Center, British Studies, athletics, nursing and, of course, the Blanton Museum of Art. Moreover, for decades he contributed his time, energy and vision to UT. And he was a wonderful friend. I will miss him."
Blanton, who earned his bachelor's degree in 1947 and law degree in 1950 from UT, was appointed to the UT Board of Regents in 1985 and was the chairman in 1987.
"Jack Blanton built an enduring legacy at The University of Texas at Austin," said Simone Wicha, director of the Blanton Museum of Art. "Since the Blanton Museum opened the doors of its new facility on campus in 2006, the museum has enabled more than one million visitors to experience and interact with great art. We are honored to carry on Mr. Blanton's vision to serve the university, our city and the state."
According to UT, the university's Archer M. Huntington Gallery became the Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art in 1997, after Houston Endowment Inc. stepped forward with a $12 million building gift in honor of Blanton, its former chairman.
According to the release from UT:
Mr. Blanton and first wife, Laura Lee Scurlock, had three children, Elizabeth Blanton Wareing, Jack S. Blanton, Jr., and Eddy S. Blanton, all graduates of The University of Texas at Austin. He was later married to the late Lucinda Bailey Blanton and is survived by his wife, Virginia Nelson Blanton.
Mr. Blanton was active in many civic organizations and, in addition to higher education, he contributed his efforts to advancing health care and the arts. He served as chair of Houston Endowment Inc. and the Greater Houston Chamber of Commerce and on the boards of Houston Methodist Hospital, the Texas Medical Center, the Houston Zoo and the Jesse H. Jones School of Management at Rice University. He also served on the boards of Ashland Oil, Texas Commerce Bancshares, Baker Hughes, Burlington Northern, Southwestern Bell and other companies.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced by the Blanton family.