U-M School of Art & Design dedicates studios in honor of Maskells

November 8, 2004
  • umichnews@umich.edu

ANN ARBOR—The University of Michigan School of Art & Design dedicated its recently renovated hot and cold metals studios in honor of Richard and Odette Maskell, whose $1 million commitment to the school made the renovation and other projects possible.

Richard Maskell, a graduate of the School of Art & Design, is president and CEO of M-Tek, an industry leader in modified atmosphere packaging of products, primarily foods, for longer shelf life.

He credits his success, in part, to the skills he learned as an inquisitive undergraduate at U-M where he earned a dual degree in industrial design and sculpture.

“The school changed my life,” Maskell said. “It allowed me to see how to use both the analytical and creative sides of my personality. Now Odette and I have the opportunity to help make the learning environments that will produce the next generation of creative leaders.”

Studio renovation efforts included the hot metals studio that provides facilities for traditional welding, soldering and blacksmithing, as well as the cold metals studio where students work with more contemporary industrial tools to shape and machine unheated metals. Beyond new hardware, the project included upgrading of the studios’ mechanical and electrical infrastructure.

In addition to the metals studios renovations, the Maskell gift has to date supported the installation of hardware to make the entire School of Art & Design wireless, as well as the purchase of a 25-passenger bus for student field trips. The gift will support many additional projects.

“The discretionary funds provided by the Maskells during a period of unprecedented growth and change in the school’s programs were exactly what was needed,” said Bryan Rogers, the school’s dean. “Well-outfitted studios designed for contemporary use help us attract and retain the highest quality students.”

The U-M School of Art & Design traces its roots to 1926 and a program in decorative arts housed in the College of Engineering and Architecture. Through the decades it grew into its own as a discipline, moving through the colleges of engineering and architecture to become the School of Art, an autonomous institution, in 1974. It evolved into the School of Art & Design in 1996.