November 19, 2002
Lincoln University-Barnes Foundation Relationship in Perspective:
Lincoln University Acts to Protect Integrity of Responsibility
for the Barnes Foundation
Founder Entrusted Lincoln to Nominate 80 Percent of Trustees
UNIVERSITY, PA -- Throughout its history, Lincoln University,
America's first Historically Black University, has developed
strong ties with many significant institutions and individuals.
One of those relationships includes the Barnes Foundation
and its founder. Now the 56-year relationship that involves
artwork worth billions of dollars is deliberately being
October 8, 2002, Lincoln acted to intervene in proceedings
involving the Barnes Foundation before the Montgomery
County Orphans Court Division of the Court of Common
Pleas in Pennsylvania. The University was forced to take
legal action after the Foundation, through its trustees,
filed a court petition on September 24, 2002 to amend
its Charter and Bylaws.
concern is very basic and reasonable: The University wants
to protect the integrity of its special role and responsibility
Dr. Albert C. Barnes, a visionary art collector and patent
medicine millionaire, entrusted to Lincoln the
role of nominating 80% (or four out of five) of
the Barnes Board of Trustees. The Foundation's gallery
houses a priceless collection of artworks, including Renoirs,
Cezannes, Matisses and thousands of other masterworks
of art. Through its current trustees, the Foundation now
wants to set aside Dr. Barnes' will by increasing the
number of trustees from five to 15, thus diluting Lincoln's
Barnes created the Barnes Foundation on December 6, 1922.
He formed a friendship with Dr. Horace Mann Bond, a 1923
Lincoln graduate, who served for many years as President
of the University. Lincoln students interested in ceramics
and biology majors studying plant systems and evolution
attend lectures at the Foundation and its arboretum which
are located about 50 miles from Lincoln's campus.
G. Rhone, chairwoman of Lincoln's Board of Trustees, said:
"We want the Lincoln University campus community
and alumni as well as our friends and supporters to understand
and appreciate the enormity of our responsibility to Dr.
Bond and Dr. Barnes, and what the outcome means to the
petition filed by the University describes the unique
friendship and connection that Dr. Barnes formed with
Dr. Bond, then President of Lincoln, beginning in 1946.
During his lifetime, Dr. Barnes wrote of weld[ing]
Lincoln University and the Foundation in an educational
enterprise that has no counterpart elsewhere. To
ensure that the institutional alliance between the Foundation
and Lincoln would continue in perpetuity, Dr. Barnes amended
his Foundations Trust Indenture on October 20, 1950.
Dr. Barnes had designated Lincoln as the institution that
would eventually nominate four out of five of the Foundations
trustees. The trustees would then oversee what Dr. Barnes
had envisioned as part of his legacy: a teaching institution
-- and not what its focus has narrowly become: an art
gallery or museum.
the University has been thrust into the throes of a complex
and costly legal maneuver essentially for nominating control
of the Barnes Foundation, Chairwoman Rhone said. Essentially,
Lincoln has the power to nominate trustees for the Foundation;
current trustees and others, perhaps to spite Dr. Barnes,
and in envy of Lincoln, now want to wrest control and
power from the University. It is a struggle that has been
framed as a classic battle of "David versus Goliath."
In this case, Lincoln University is "David,"
a small, Historically Black University. The giant Goliath
is in the guise of the Foundation and its wealthy and
well-connected interests in Philadelphia and vicinity,
ironically, the types of persons that Dr. Barnes had come
to despise, Rhone said.
University wants to preserve and protect the Bond and
Barnes legacy. That is what is at stake here," Chairwoman
Rhone said. "The enormous burden of proof to break
this bond rests with the Barnes Foundation Trustees and
wealthy and well-connected Philadelphia interests. Their
legal hurdles are high. On the other hand, our defense
bills also will be significant. However, state funds are
not appropriate to cover our legal fees. We go forward
to fight the good fight."
University is represented by Carol A. Black, a 1967 Lincoln
graduate, and partner in the law firm of Black and Adams;
Edward N. Cahn, former Chief Judge of the U.S. District
Court for Eastern Pennsylvania, and Christopher A. Lewis,
former Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,
and partners in the law firm of Blank Rome Comisky &
court is expected to issue its decision sometime next
in 1854 as America's first Historically Black University,
Lincoln University provides the best elements of a liberal
arts and sciences-based undergraduate core curriculum
and selected graduate programs to meet the needs of students
living in a highly technological and global society. Lincoln
enrolls approximately 2,000 undergraduate and graduate
April 2003 through May 2004, Lincoln will celebrate
its sesquicentennial, or 150th anniversary.
For more information about the University, visit Lincoln's
Web site at www.lincoln.edu.