BLOOMINGTON - Indiana University says an anonymous $1.5 million gift will create the first endowed faculty chair within the Department of Art History on the Bloomington campus. The Tanner-Operman Chair, named in honor of former IU professor Roy Sieber, will support the continued study of African art at the university.

Sieber spent more than 30 years at IU as a professor and distinguished scholar. He was the first person to earn a Ph.D. in African art and served as curator of African art for the university's museum. He also served as associate director for collections and research at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African Art, according to IU.

"This gift represents a transformative moment for our Department of Art History and for the entire College of Arts and Sciences," said Larry Singell, executive dean of the college. "With the establishment of this new chair, Indiana University will vastly enrich and deepen its long-standing dedication to the study of African art, and in doing so, this chair will also serve as a remarkable way to honor the enduring memory and scholarship of Roy Sieber."

Diane Reilly, chair of the Department of Art History, says the gift will allow the College of Arts and Sciences to "take the lead in scholarship" in the field of African art by training curators and future faculty.