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Art collector, UB supporter Annette Cravens dies at 93

Annette Cravens at the opening in 2010 of the Cravens World exhibit in the UB Anderson Gallery. Photo: Douglas Levere

By MARY COCHRANE

Published February 9, 2017

Art collector, artist and philanthropist Annette Cravens, MSW ’68, a longtime supporter of UB, died Feb. 5. She was 93.

In 2010, Cravens donated her extensive collection of archaeological and ethnographic objects — dating back to 4,500 BC — to UB. She had amassed the 1,100 pieces, including ceremonial African dolls and ancient anthropomorphic figurines, during four decades of travel to Asia, South American and Europe. She worked with staff of the UB Anderson Gallery on the design of the special exhibit, “Cravens World: The Human Aesthetic,” which features much of the collection on permanent display. The gift nearly doubled the size of the university’s art holdings and broadly extended its reach from contemporary and modern to ancient times.

Peter Biehl, professor and chair of UB’s anthropology department who served as director of the Cravens World project, said Cravens’ gift has allowed students of all ages to view, enjoy and learn from the collection.

“She cared deeply about education and about teaching students to appreciate the world around them and the makers of objects,” Biehl said. “Her legacy continues to reach the thousands of school children who visit her collection at the UB Anderson Gallery every year.”

College of Arts and Sciences Dean Robin G. Schulze agreed.

"Annette’s legacy will endure through the students she inspired and the generous gifts she gave to our community,” Schulze said. “The collection reflects the magnitude of her commitment to UB, and her devotion to our educational values. I encourage everyone to see it.”

The gift continued a family legacy of philanthropy at UB that began when Cravens’ stepfather, Thomas B. Lockwood, built the original Lockwood Library on the South Campus. He later gave the university his collection of rare books.

Cravens gave the original renderings of Lockwood Library to UB in 1984, and established a lecture series in the Poetry Collection in memory of her mother, Mildred McGuire Lockwood. In memory of her father, Edgar McGuire — a professor of surgery and medicine at UB until his death in 1931 — Cravens gave the university his medical instruments collection, which dates from the early Roman period to the late 19th century. In 2007, the UB Alumni Association bestowed its highest honor, the Samuel P. Capen Award, on Cravens for her contributions to the university. A memorial service will be held this spring.