In Memoriam - Professor Bill Sandusky

Bill Sandusky, a well-known painter, printmaker and longtime Saint Mary’s College professor, died Tuesday, December 20. He was 71.

Bill Sandusky

Professor Sandusky's expertise spanned disciplines. He taught classes in painting, drawing, book arts, etching, lithography, 2D Design. From 1981-1987, he served as Saint Mary’s Gallery Director, a joint position with his wife, Giovanna Lenzi. In 1991, Professor Sandusky was the recipient of a prestigious Lilly Open Fellowship which allowed him to work in Italy on a series of Artist’s Books. Known by many as “Billy Ray” he was known to take the same approach to art as he did to life: “have no fear.”

“Everybody always tells me I’m terrifying at first,” Sandusky once said, “but that doesn’t last very long.” Saint Mary’s graduates considered him a mentor and friend. Rather than cultivate a “master-apprentice” relationship with students, Sandusky preferred to work with young artists to cultivate and communicate their own vision. Sandusky said students “have their own particular life experiences and ambitions, so they should also have their own way of doing things.”

A native of Bowling Green, Kentucky, Sandusky received a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Indiana University Bloomington and a Master of Fine Arts from Tulane University. Sandusky taught at Saint Mary’s from 1981 until 2014. Throughout his 33 years at the College, he combined teaching with a successful career as an artist. Before coming to Saint Mary’s, Sandusky worked in Italy for nearly a decade at the Santa Reparata Graphic Art Centre in Florence, where he taught etching, lithography and drawing, and was a principle printer of etchings and lithographs. From 1976-1977 he taught printmaking for the Graduate Program of Loyola University in Florence and from 1977-1980 he taught painting for Saint Mary’s Rome Program.

Sandusky is survived by his wife, Giovanna Lenzi, two sons, Marco Sandusky of Tampa, Florida, and Matteo Sandusky of New York City, and four grandchildren. Funeral services will be held on Friday, December 23 at Welsheimer Family Funeral Home, 521 N. William St. Visitation begins at 10 am, with a memorial service at 11 am. 

Memorial contributions may be made to the "Billy Ray Sandusky Study Abroad Scholarship" at Saint Mary's College, 110 Le Mans Hall, Notre Dame, IN 46556. Donations may also be made online at Please note in the "direct to other fund" box that the gift is for the Bill Sandusky Scholarship.