Donald Lent (American, 1933-2020)

After serving in the US Army as a Russian translator in Germany, Lent earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and BFA and MFA from Yale University. He joined the Bates faculty as Dana Professor of Art in 1970, retiring in 1999. He was the first tenured professor of art, marking the birth of the modern visual arts program at Bates and the Senior Thesis Exhibition, still an annual program at the Museum of Art today.

Lent taught painting, drawing, and printmaking at Bates and served as department chair. He encouraged his students to undertake murals in the community, and his own work often focused on nature and figure drawing. His recurring theme of bridges was inspired by the geometric patterns he observed during commutes over rivers to Bates. Lent also designed sets and costumes for Bates theater productions, wrote for the weekly Maine Times, and served two terms in the New Hampshire House of Representatives.