Thomas P. Somma Scholarship

Thomas P. Somma Endowment is proud to announce the Thomas P. Somma Scholarship, offered to the University of Mary Washington students who major in Art History and minor in Museum Studies.

Thomas P. Somma came to the University of Mary Washington in 1998 as Director of the University Galleries. Prior to that he had been Gallery Director at Ithaca College from 1994-1998. In 1990 he earned a Ph.D. in art history from the University of Delaware after receiving an M.A. (1983) in art history from Rutgers University and a B.S. (1972) in mathematics and science from Marietta College (Ohio). His first teaching position was at the University of Iowa in 1989. Dr. Somma’s primary expertise was in American art history and public sculpture, especially in Washington, D.C. He had been selected to be the 2008-09 Dorothy K. Hohenberg Chair of Excellence in Art History at the University of Memphis and received numerous other awards and fellowships, including a listing in the 2007-08 Marquis Who’s Who in American Art and was the recipient of the first United States Capitol Historical Fellowship in 1986-87. His publications include The Apotheosis of Democracy, 19081916: The Pediment for the House Wing of the United States Capitol (1995) and American Pantheon: Sculptural and Artistic Decoration of the United States Capitol (2004), which he co­-edited. Also, Tom ‘s academic research interests resulted in many papers and published articles. In addition to his museum duties, he also taught courses in American art history as an adjunct professor for the University of Maryland, Georgetown University, and the Ithaca College/Butler College “Semester in Washington” program. Tom Somma lost his second brave battle against cancer and died at home, in the company of his beloved wife, Marie, on May 10, 2007. He is remembered fondly at the University of Mary Washington for his enthusiasm and long-standing commitment to, and affection for, the UMW Galleries (Ridderhof Martin and duPont Gallery).

Selection of Scholarship Recipients

1. The scholarship shall be awarded to rising juniors and seniors in the following order of priority: a) declared major in Art History with a minor in Museum Studies; b) declared major in Art History; c) minor in Museum Studies.

2. Recipients shall be in good academic standing and shall be selected on the basis of merit.

3. The scholarship may be awarded to one or more students in a single year and is renewable provided the recipient(s) meets all criteria.

4. Selection of the recipient(s) will be made by the Chief Academic Officer in consultation with the Chair of the Department of Art History and the professional staff of the Office of Financial Aid.

5. In the event that no applicant meets the above criteria, the scholarship shall not be awarded and the award funds shall be returned to the endowment.