Dr. Bourgeois (1940-2021) held B.A. and M.A. degrees in humanities from Wayne State University, and a Ph.D. in African/Pre-Columbian/Oceanic art with a minor in medieval art from Indiana University. It was at Indiana University that he became acquainted with Marilyn Ann Jones who was completing a Masters degree in piano performance. They were married in 1974. Dr. Bourgeois was University Professor of Art History at Governors State University, University Park, IL from 1977 to 2012. Upon his retirement he was awarded the status of Professor Emeritus. He taught courses in non-western art, namely African, Native American, Pre-Columbian, Oceanic and Asian contexts where art is viewed in a cultural matrix of ceremony, religion and mythic narrative.
His primary research interests were in African art of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, specifically of the Yaka, Suku, and their neighbors, among whom he conducted his doctoral research. He will be remembered by his many students and colleagues as a dedicated and innovative teacher and an internationally recognized expert in his field. He is the author of 6 books and more than 30 articles in professional journals, and lectured widely throughout the United States. Dr. Bourgeois organized and curated numerous exhibits at Governors State University and at Tall Grass Arts Association, Park Forest, IL. An upcoming exhibit at Queensborough Community College, “Art of the Yaka and Suku” contains significant pieces from his collection and archives. He also provided written commentary for an upcoming exhibit at the Quai Branly Museum, Paris, France. He had a broad range of interests, and topics he was ever ready to discuss. He enjoyed traveling and visiting sites of historical interest. As an artist he was an accomplished painter.