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William R. Sargent (b. 1945, Haverhill, Massachusetts) received his BFA in Ceramic Design from Massachusetts College of Art in 1968 and his MA in Art History from Marshall University in 1978. After serving in the Navy for three years during the Vietnam War (from the fall of 1968 to January 1972) stationed in Santa Ana, CA, and on board an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean, Sargent applied for and received conscientious objector status in December 1971. Living through the emergence of the AIDS crisis in the 1980's, he lost several friends to the disease.

He has been a museum curator since 1972, has traveled extensively lecturing, researching, and vacationing in the United States, Canada, Mexico, South America, Europe, China, Hong Kong, Egypt, South Africa, and Australia. He has published numerous articles and exhibition catalogs on American art, contemporary prints, and Asian export decorative arts.