New art scholarship honors couple devoted to each other, and education
Author: School of Art + Design
Posted: November 1, 2018

The School of Art and Design is excited to announce a new endowed scholarship. This exceptional gift honors the memory of Leonard and Evelyn Kimbrell who shared a life devoted to each other and, as a couple, a commitment to education.

Announcing the Leonard & Evelyn Kimbrell
School of Art + Design Endowed Scholarship

Originally from Louisiana, the Kimbrells moved to Oregon following service in WWII. It was here that they continued their education and began their academic careers. Leonard taught at the former Eastern Oregon College in La Grande, and Evelyn taught elementary school in LaGrande, and then in Portland after they relocated there upon Leonard’s hiring at PSU in 1961.

Dr. Kimbrell developed the initial Art History curriculum at PSU. He introduced and initially taught all of the upper level courses while also creating a library of resource materials. Among many other achievements during his long tenure at PSU, Dr. Kimbrell served for several years as the head of the Art Department and was responsible for bringing in many distinguished faculty members. 

The Kimbrell’s desire and ability to inspire and care for others extended beyond the classroom.  Their home was a frequent scene of family, friends and colleagues treated to a menu of delicious homemade food and gracious southern hospitality. Their family, in the Kimbrell name, is happy to help continue to provide opportunities for others to follow their dreams and achieve their aspirations.


“I was a student of Dr. Kimbrell back in the mid-80s and later became a colleague when I started working as Slide Librarian for the Art Department. I just adored him. That first class founded my love of Art History, a discipline I naively didn’t know existed. I’m sure many who sat in his classes still remember his compelling lectures punctuated with wry humor. Over the years I myself was treated to the Kimbrell’s legendary hospitality and can even now taste a delightful lemon chicken soup that he and Evelyn served. I was always impressed with how sweetly he spoke of Evelyn. He truly was devoted to her.”
~ Mary McVein


“Professor Leonard Kimbrell often liked to present himself as stern and grumpy. But this was a façade; Leonard was actually generous, tolerant and funny. At the opening session of one of his courses, Leonard issued dire warnings about students coming late to class. However, at the next session he could not find a parking spot and was, much to his embarrassment, ten minutes late. It is characteristic that no one told this story with greater relish than Leonard himself.”
~Jane Kristof, Professor Emerita

The scholarship will be given on a competitive basis and will benefit undergraduate or graduate students majoring in Art + Design, including those studying art history, art practice, or graphic design. Financial need and academic standing will be considered with preference given for a student interested in illustration and animation.

This scholarship will be awarded beginning in 2020-2021.


To make a gift or discuss options for supporting PSU art students and programs, contact: Jaymee Jacoby, Senior Director of Development, College of the Arts

503­.725­.3396 |
Or, make a gift online at­arts/give