Marketing & Communications: Ellen and Richard Sandor Pledge More Than $1 Million for New Scholarships at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

CHICAGO—The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), one of the nation’s leading art and design schools, announced a pledge of more than $1 million from Ellen and Richard Sandor. Ellen is a multimedia artist and an alum of SAIC, having graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in 1975. She received an Honorary Doctorate from SAIC in 2014. Ellen and Richard are longtime supporters of the school and its Gene Siskel Film Center.

Launched during the 2013–14 academic year, the Sandors established the Ellen Sandor Scholarships. These merit-based scholarships are granted to graduate students studying in the departments of Art and Technology Studies or Film, Video, New Media, and Animation to support them throughout the duration of their studies. The Sandors have pledged additional funding, bringing their contribution to student scholarships to more than $1 million.

“Ellen and Richard Sandor have always been tremendous advocates for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago,” said SAIC President Walter Massey. “From the time and effort they have put forth participating on numerous school boards and committees to this generous scholarship for our graduate students, they are making a great impact on scholarship at SAIC.”

Ellen has always had a passion for photography and new media as shown in both her work and the Sandors’ art collection. In 1983, she transformed her studio into a new media art lab called art(n) Laboratory, Inc., where she collaborated with a group of her peers from SAIC. Ellen is a Life Trustee at the Art Institute of Chicago, Chair of the Gene Siskel Film Center Advisory Board, and member of the school’s Board of Governors and Academic Affairs Committee. Additionally, Ellen is a member of the SAIC Fashion Committee and Cochair of THE WALK 2015 the school’s annual fashion show gala to be held on May 8.

“The School of the Art Institute of Chicago taught me how to live life as an artist, emphasizing the importance of collaboration and interdisciplinarity,” Ellen said. “The school has given me so much, and Richard and I want to reciprocate and help draw the strongest graduate candidates in the country to SAIC.”

Richard also serves on the school’s Board of Governors, and he and Ellen are on the Committee on Photography at the Art Institute of Chicago.

About Ellen and Richard Sandor

Ellen Sandor is a multimedia artist whose studio, art(n) Laboratory, has worked with organizations like NASA and universities across the country and has exhibited work at museums and galleries around the world. She is an Affiliate of eDream, National Center for Supercomputing Applications, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. In 2012, she received the Thomas R. Leavens Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts through Lawyers for the Creative Arts, and in 2013, received the Gene Siskel Film Center Outstanding Leadership Award.

Richard Sandor (Ph.D., Dr. sc. h. c.) is Chairman and CEO of Chicago-based Environmental Financial Products, which specializes in inventing, designing and developing new financial markets. He is currently the Aaron Director Lecturer in Law and Economics at the University of Chicago Law School and a Visiting Fellow with the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at Oxford University. He was honored by the City of Chicago for his universal recognition as the “father of financial futures”. In 2002 he was named by TIME Magazine a “Hero of the Planet” and in 2007 as one of the magazine’s “Heroes of the Environment” for his work as the “Father of Carbon Trading.”

Richard holds an honorary degree of Doctor of Science, “honoris causa,” from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH). He is a Board Member of the Clean Energy Trust, a Member of the Advisory Board of the Center for Financial Stability and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, and a Senior Fellow of the Milken Institute. He served on the board of directors of leading commodity and futures exchanges in the United States and Europe. He is the author of Good Derivatives: A Story of Financial and Environmental Innovation, also published in Chinese by People's Oriental Press; and the lead author of Sustainable Investing and Environmental Markets: Opportunities in a New Asset Class published by World Scientific. In October 2013, he was awarded the title of “Chevalier dans l´ordre de la Légion d´Honneur” (Knight in the French National Order of the Legion of Honor), for his accomplishments in the field of environmental finance and carbon trading.

About the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

A leader in educating artists, designers, and scholars since 1866, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) offers nationally accredited undergraduate and graduate degrees and post-baccalaureate programs to more than 3,200 students from around the globe. SAIC also provides adults, high school students, and children with the opportunity to flourish in a variety of courses, workshops, certificate programs, and camps through its Continuing Studies program. Located in the heart of Chicago, SAIC has an educational philosophy built upon an interdisciplinary approach to art and design, giving students unparalleled opportunities to develop their creative and critical abilities, while working with renowned faculty who include many of the leading practitioners in their fields. SAIC’s resources include the Art Institute of Chicago and its new Modern Wing; numerous special collections and programming venues provide students with exceptional exhibitions, screenings, lectures, and performances. For more information, please visit

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