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Eckerd College Trustee and Entrepreneur Helmar Nielsen Endows Film Studies Professorship

posted on 03/06/2007

Helmar NielsenLocal businessman Helmar Nielsen, a longtime trustee of Eckerd College, has given a substantial gift to Eckerd College to establish a professorship in film studies. The gift, when matched by the (Miles) Collier Challenge, will total $1 million and will be named the Christian Nielsen Professorship in Film Studies after Helmar Nielsen's late brother.

The Nielsen Professorship in Film Studies will allow Eckerd to add a film studies major to its curriculum. In addition, it will act as a bridge between film studies students interested in theory and interdisciplinary arts students interested in acting, directing or photography. Through the offerings of faculty in other disciplines, students will have the opportunity to consider the subject matter of several fields of study, such as philosophy, religion, history, anthropology, languages and area studies, from the perspective of film, and also the opportunity to take courses in film/video production.

"Film in the 20th and early 21st centuries speaks to and shows in a unique way the condition of our time and our lives," Mr. Nielsen said. "Personally, I love going to good movies. Film may indeed be the most vibrant and prophetic of the arts of this time and place. I am pleased to help fund this professorship. It is altogether fitting that students who benefit from a superior education in the liberal arts at Eckerd should be able to apply their knowledge, values and character to film studies."

Mr. Nielsen is a retired businessman. He has a B.A. from Bucknell University, a J.D. from Boston University, and engaged in graduate work in philosophy at The John Hopkins University.

"Helmar Nielsen is a renaissance man who engages himself in the daily life of Eckerd," said Donald R. Eastman III, president of Eckerd College. "We are grateful for Helmar's support and his commitment to help strengthen the College's academic program."

Mr. Nielsen has served as an Eckerd College trustee since 1994. His commitment to Eckerd is visible through the many trustee committees on which he serves, his keen interest in Eckerd's Center for Spiritual Life Lecture Series, and his membership in the Academy of Senior Professionals at Eckerd College (ASPEC).

Eckerd College is no stranger to the world of film. Eckerd College has established itself in the Tampa Bay area as a venue for showing thoughtful and provocative films during the Friday night International Cinema Series and the annual Environmental Film Festival shown each February.

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