Raclin Murphy Museum of Art announces death of Business Leader, Philanthropist and Arts Patron, Ernestine Raclin dies.

Author: Raclin Murphy Museum of Art

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The University of Notre Dame mourns the loss yet celebrates the life of long-time arts patron Ernestine Morris Carmichael Raclin, who passed away at 95. Deeply engaged with the South Bend and Notre Dame community, "Ernie" - as she was lovingly known, was long a collector of 17th - early 19th century European art and supporter of the Museum. Although she had been deeply engaged with the University's former Snite Museum of Art, in 2017 she announced a major gift for a new museum together with her daughter, Carmi and son-in-law Chris Murphy. The new Raclin Murphy Museum of Art at the entrance to Notre Dame's storied campus is set to open in late November, 2023.

“Mrs. Raclin had exquisite taste and a discerning eye, but ultimately her head and heart were deeply committed to enhancing the vitality and beauty of her community, family and friends,” shares director, Joseph Antenucci Becherer. “The new museum is evidence, and it was one of the great honors of my career to share the designs and installation plans of the Raclin Murphy Museum of Art with her, with Chris and Carmi at her side.”

Raised in South Bend, Raclin attended Briarcliff College in New York and Saint Mary’s College. She was married to O.C. Carmichael, also a Notre Dame Trustee who passed away in 1976, and the late Robert Raclin, both of whom joined her in numerous philanthropic and service endeavors. The chair emerita of the board of 1st Source Corp. and 1st Source Bank of South Bend, Raclin was one of the first women elected to Notre Dame’s Board of Trustees (1976) and the first woman to run a major University fundraising campaign. She became a Trustee Emerita in 1998 and a Hesburgh Trustee in 2019.

In addition to her lead gift for the Raclin Murphy Museum of Art she and her family were also instrumental in the construction of Raclin-Carmichael Hall, located adjacent to the campus and home to the University’s W.M. Keck Center for Transgene Research and the Indiana University School of Medicine-South Bend.

Raclin was equally generous in the local community supporting many worthy causes, including the Center for Hospice Care in Mishawaka and Indiana University South Bend’s School of the Arts, which bears her name. She was a founding member of WNIT and Stanley Clark School; served as a director for the United Way of America, the Chamber of Commerce of St. Joseph County and the Indiana Chamber of Commerce; and chaired the board of Project Future, an economic development agency for the region. She also served on the advisory board of Indiana University South Bend, and as a trustee of the Indiana University Foundation and Converse College, a Spartanburg, South Carolina, institution at which Carmichael served as president.

Raclin was an astute collector of French, Italian and British art – paintings in particular. All genre were embraced. Many of her gifts have long been favorites of museum visitors and the subject of admiration and inquiry of scholars and students alike.

“Ernie’s steadfast support of the Museum has been foundational to the growth and development of the European collection over the decades. Marshalling her keen eye, impeccable taste, and generous spirit, Raclin made gifts of Italian and French paintings and sculptures that have captured the imaginations of generations of students and faculty across the University of Notre Dame’s campus and the interest of scholars worldwide. Rarely is a donor’s aesthetic sensibilities and humanistic values so closely aligned with a museum’s curatorial vision,” shares Cheryl K. Snay, Curator of European and American Art before 1900.


The Raclin Murphy Museum of Art

With origins dating to 1875, the Raclin Murphy Museum of Art (formerly Snite Museum of Art) is one of the oldest and most highly regarded university art museums in America. Founded on the principle that art is essential to understanding individual, shared and diverse human experiences and beliefs, the Museum encourages close looking and critical thinking. Experiences with significant, original works of art are intended to stimulate inquiry, dialogue and wonder for audiences across the academy, the community and around the world—all in support of the University of Notre Dame’s Catholic mission. The renowned permanent collection contains more than 30,000 works that represent many cultures and periods of world art history.

For more information on the new building, visit raclinmurphymuseum.nd.edu

The Raclin Murphy Museum will open late November, 2023.

MEDIA CONTACT: If you would like high-resolution images or in-depth information, please contact Gina Costa, Communications Program Director at (574) 631-4720 or gcosta@nd.edu.

Raclin Murphy Museum of Art
St. André Way
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN 46556–0020
(574) 631–5466 telephone
(574) 631–8801 fax