Yesterday, former Director of the Rose Art Museum Michael Rush passed away at the age of 66 after battling pancreatic cancer for two years. Rush is remembered as an award-winning curator and co-founder of the Contemporary Art Museum Directors Association.

By the time of his death, Rush had recently completed the opening of the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University, where he had worked since 2010. According to an article on MSU’s website, Rush’s work with the museum served “to exploring global contemporary culture and ideas through art” and establishing educational connections.

Rush served as the Director of the Rose from 2005 to 2009, including the controversial and tumultuous years when the University was deciding whether or not to sell off pieces from the museum’s collections. However, Rush holds a crucial place in the Rose’s history and, during his tenure, greatly increased the modern and contemporary art holdings of the museum. He left his position at the Rose in 2009, joining MSU a year later.

Prior to starting his career as a museum curator, Rush dabbled in other fields, including founding an experimental theater company, guest starring on popular television and being ordained as a priest, according to the Lansing State Journal. According to ArtNews, Rush worked as a Jesuit priest for 15 years and received a doctorate in psychology from Harvard University in 1980.

During his career, Rush also served as the founding director of the Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art from 2000 to 2004. He was published in several art catalogues and magazines throughout his career, in addition to publishing three books on various art topics and contributing to various other publications. The curator also hosted an Internet radio show entitled Rush Interactive where he interviewed notable artists.

Rush is survived by his partner Hyun-Jae Pi and his three siblings. A memorial service for Rush will take place in New York City, in addition to other honors at MSU.