The Indiana University Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design community mourns the death of Anthony J. “Tony” Moravec of Columbus, owner of Blairex and Applied Laboratories and philanthropist. Moravec, who died Tuesday, November 8, was a generous patron of the arts, architecture, higher education, and community development.
“The faculty, staff, and students of the Eskenazi School join with me in expressing our sincere condolences to the Moravec family,” said Founding Dean Peg Faimon. “Tony’s investment in our program was a strong show of faith in our academic mission and the community. The excellence of art and design education at Indiana University will serve as his living legacy.”
Moravec played a pivotal role in the Eskenazi School’s J. Irwin Miller Architecture Program, established in Columbus in 2017. Together with that of several local families, Moravec’s financial support matched a pledge from the city’s Redevelopment Commission to rehabilitate The Republic Building as the program’s headquarters.
“Our friend and community leader Tony Moravec provided so much support to so many causes, especially education and community development initiatives,” said John M. Burnett, president of the Community Education Coalition (CEC) in Columbus. “When IU and the CEC formed a partnership to pursue the startup of the J. Irwin Miller Architecture Program, Tony was among a handful of key community leaders who stepped forward immediately and excitedly to contribute generously to the program. Our hearts go out to his family and the broad friendships he made along life’s way. We are forever grateful to Tony.”
In its remembrance, the IU Eskenazi Art Museum described the major role Moravec played as donor and advisor. After taking his first tour of the museum in 1998, Moravec worked with then-director and Domenico Tiepolo scholar Heidi Gealt to increase support for an exhibition and research project on Tiepolo drawings. In time, Moravec assembled one of the world’s most important collections of Old Master drawings, which he gifted to the museum in 2010. Moravec co-funded the museum’s academic liaison position, created an endowment in support of the museum’s art conservation department, and supported the museum’s capital campaign for its recent renovation. Additionally, he chaired the museum’s national advisory board from 2007 to 2015.
Moravec was recognized for his contributions to IU with numerous awards including the Bicentennial Medal (2020), Partners in Philanthropy’s Cornerstone Award (2016), the Presidents Circle Laurel Pin (2016) and the Chancellor and Provost Medallion (2011).
Moravec’s investments in higher education extended to Ivy Tech Community College. In October, Moravec attended the ribbon-cutting for the Columbus campus’ new main building, the approximately $32-million, 80,000-square-foot Moravec Hall. Moravec was a state trustee of Ivy Tech, as well as a donor.
In addition to his contributions to higher education and the arts, Moravec will be remembered for his placemaking initiatives in Columbus. Notably, in 2007 he undertook the restoration of the beloved ice cream parlor Zaharako’s, complete with historic pipe organ. Burnett said he was especially thrilled when the landmark reopened in 2009. “I told Tony at the time that as a little girl, my daughter would sit at a table in there and say ‘this is my place,’ but that he had created something that was everyone’s place. Tony created a lasting imprint on the community.”
The Republic published this remembrance of Moravec Thursday.