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Chancellor Milliken statement on the loss of Rick Brettell, UT Dallas arts leader and scholar

Nana and I were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Rick Brettell, a friend whose visionary leadership enriched two UT institutions and helped transformed the arts landscape in Dallas.

In the 1970s, Rick spent four years teaching at UT Austin, rising to become the head of the art history department. He went on to serve as director of the Dallas Museum of Art for several years.  But it was at UT Dallas that he created his unmatched legacy and raised UTD’s national profile in the arts immeasurably. As founding director of the Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History, he was instrumental in bringing the Barrett Collection of rare Swiss art to the university, and in the acquisition of the Crow Museum of Asian Art in the Dallas Arts District. His impact on the future of UTD will benefit generations. 

Throughout his career, Rick harnessed his enormous energy and talent to share his love of the arts with Dallas, Texas, and the world.  And the same spirit that made him a professional force made him a beloved and unforgettable friend to thousands. It was a privilege to be one of those thousands, and our hearts go out to his wife Caroline, the entire Brettell family, and all who loved Rick. He truly was one of a kind.

-- Chancellor James B. Milliken

News Contact Information

Karen Adler: • 512-499-4360 (direct) • 210-912-8055 (cell)