University News

Western Illinois Mourns Death of Dean Butterworth

November 21, 2002

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 James M. Butterworth.

James M. Butterworth. (Download print-quality photo)

Macomb - James M. Butterworth, dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication and professor of art at Western Illinois University, died suddenly Nov. 20 at his home in Macomb. He was 66.

Butterworth began his Western Illinois career Aug. 1, 1987 as dean of Western Illinois’ College of Fine Arts, which included the departments of art, music and theatre. In 1994 with a University administrative reorganization, the department of communication arts and sciences became part of the college. Under his leadership the departments, faculty and students have been recognized for their accomplishments, performances and talents. Numerous individuals and groups have earned international acclaim.

He orchestrated numerous facility improvements, the latest being the College of Fine Arts and Communication Recital Hall, located in the northern wing of historic Simpkins Hall. The 500-seat recital facility opened in February (2002) and was dedicated this Sept. 13.

Butterworth worked extensively with promotion of the fine arts throughout the western-Illinois region. He had also taught American studies, interdisciplinary humanities and art-related subjects.

Butterworth earned his bachelor’s degree (1963) in philosophy and theology from North Park College and his master’s in fine arts (1967) from the University of Minnesota. Prior to coming to Western, he was director of the School of Art and Design at Northern Arizona University (1984-1987); dean of academic affairs at Mendocino College, CA (1976-1984); chairperson of arts and ideas at Western Michigan University (1971-1975); assistant professor of humanities at St. Olaf College (1969-1971); and assistant professor of humanities-art at the State University of New York Plattsburgh (1967-1969).

He is survived by his wife, Cassandra, and two adult children, Christine and Michael.

Information regarding services for Butterworth is pending.

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