April 26, 2022Print | PDF
Wilfrid Laurier University is saddened by the passing of Robert Langen, professor emeritus for whom the art gallery on the university’s Waterloo campus is named. Langen passed away on April 2, 2022, just shy of his 103rd birthday.
Credited with establishing Laurier’s fine arts program, building the university’s collection and advocating for a permanent gallery on campus, Langen was a passionate advocate for the visual arts. He was also responsible for establishing the Laurier Library's collection of art slides and bringing the first guest visual artists to the Waterloo campus.
Langen received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1948 and a Bachelor of Divinity degree in 1952, both from Laurier’s predecessor Waterloo College. In 1955, he joined the university as a professor to start the philosophy department. From 1968 to 1977, Langen was the first chair of the university's art committee. He worked diligently to both encourage young artists and build a well-rounded collection at Laurier that was representative of Ontario and Canada as a whole. In 1999, Langen was the recipient of the university’s Hoffman-Little Award for teaching excellence.
Born in Torquay, Sask., Langen also earned a Master of Arts degree in philosophy from the University of Toronto. In 1984, Laurier recognized his many contributions by awarding him the rank of professor emeritus. In 1993, Laurier further recognized Langen by naming its newly established art gallery the Robert Langen Art Gallery in his honour.
“As a passionate and dedicated champion for arts and culture, Robert Langen created a lasting legacy at Laurier,” said Suzanne Luke, curator of the Robert Langen Art Gallery.
Today, the Robert Langen Art Gallery oversees art collections and policies across Laurier’s campuses and organizes visual arts programming and initiatives that inspire, challenge and expand learning beyond the classroom. As the visual arts centre on Laurier’s Waterloo campus, the gallery hosts four exhibitions by leading contemporary Canadian artists each academic year, as well as ancillary exhibition spaces devoted to the work of students, community members and emerging local artists. The gallery also oversees the university’s permanent art collection of more than 2,500 works, including pieces by Henry Moore, Woldemar Neufeld and other famed artists.
A visitation for both Robert and Ruth Langen – Langen’s wife of 72 years who passed away on Nov. 26, 2021 – will be held at the Erb and Good Family Funeral Home, 171 King St. S. in Waterloo, on Friday April 29, from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. A funeral service for Robert and Ruth will be held at the Erb and Good chapel on April 30 at 2 p.m., with a reception to follow. All relatives and friends must register for the funeral service and reception.
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