Celebrating a visionary, 21st-century global arts-and-design perspective

March 28, 2013
  • umichnews@umich.edu

ANN ARBOR—The formal dedication of the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan looks beyond brick-and-mortar realities to celebrate a distinctive and visionary approach to art/design education—expanding the critical role of creative practice.

Faculty, students and special guests will gather along with Penny Stamps and her husband, E. Roe Stamps, at 2 p.m. April 5 for the formal dedication of the naming of the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design. The commemoration will be held in the second floor courtyard of the U-M’s Art & Architecture Building, located on north campus.

“This is a day of celebration, and a day to bring the whole university community together to mark a point of arrival,” said Guna Nadarajan, dean of the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design. “Thanks to the generosity of Penny and Roe Stamps, the school is now better positioned to become a national leader in art/design education.”

The U-M Board of Regents approved in September the renaming of the School of Art and Design. Total commitment to the school—where Penny Stamps is an alumna (she received a bachelor’s degree in design in 1966)—is $40 million, with $32.5 million from the Stamps family foundations and a $7.5 million match from the university.

This financial support makes the Stamps the most generous donors in the school’s history and among the most charitable benefactors to any school of art and design in the U.S. Further, through their funding of scholarships, the Stamps address an urgent need for universities to be affordable to a wider range of students.

The Stamps’ contribution coincides with U-M’s recent efforts to recognize the vital role of the arts within the university. In the past eight years, the university has committed $84 million to the arts, including $5 million in support of studio space for the school’s faculty and graduate students.

In the last decade, Penny Stamps has been increasingly active in shaping the school’s strategic mission. As chair of the Dean’s Advisory Council, she has provided key support as the school re-envisioned, not just its own mission, but the very idea of art/design education in the 21st century. Today, Penny Stamps continues to lead the council and serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council for U-M’s School of Education and the President’s Advisory Group.

“The renaming of the School of Art and Design,” said Nadarajan, “celebrates Penny Stamps’ many years of commitment to advancing art/design education, and recognizes the Stamps’ most recent transformative gift in support of the Penny Stamps Speakers Series, the Work • Ann Arbor exhibition space, Roman J. Witt Visitors program and Stamps Creative Work Scholarships.”


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