Editor’s Note: The following uses excerpts from a biography of Freundlich by Syracuse University’s Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) at the Libraries, which holds an inventory of his papers. An obituary was also published by the Tampa Bay Times.
August L. Freundlich, founding dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts and past dean of the School of Art, died on Oct. 24 in Bloomington, Ind. He was 94.
Freundlich was born on May 9, 1924, in Frankfurt, Germany. He received a bachelor’s degree in art from Antioch College in Ohio in 1949 and went on to obtain a master’s degree in art history from Columbia University Teachers College. While serving as chair of the art department at George Peabody College for Teachers, Freundlich worked to complete his Ph.D. in art administration from New York University.
By 1970, Freundlich was appointed the dean of Syracuse University’s School of Art. He came to the School of Art with ambitions to improve the program from sixth in the country to first within a short period of time. In addition, he felt that the overall Syracuse community could benefit from a more interactive, richer relationship with the School of Art. In order to achieve that goal Freundlich wanted to strengthen the ties that the University had to the Everson Museum of Art and work in tandem with it, as opposed to competing with it.
At the time of his appointment, Freundlich felt that the Lowe Art Center, currently the southeast section of the Schine Student Center, was an inadequate and outdated gallery space. He made it one of his personal goals to procure funding for a new gallery facility for the School of Art. Freundlich felt that featuring the Syracuse University Art Collection would make the School of Art more prominent, attracting new students to the program.
In 1971, Chancellor Melvin A. Eggers chose to merge the School of Art, School of Music, Department of Speech and Department of Drama into a new College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA). Chancellor Eggers named Freundlich dean of the new college. In 1971, Freundlich was granted a research fellowship from the Kress Foundation in order to further his research pertaining to German art, which was his personal passion. By 1975, he served as a consultant on the Arts, Education, and Americans Panel, sponsored by the American Council of the Arts in Education, which promotes art as an essential component of school curriculum.
On June 30, 1982, Freundlich resigned as dean in order to complete a book concerning James Earl Fraser. In the summer of 1983, Freundlich officially left the Syracuse faculty to take a position as the executive director for the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts.