On October 3, campus leaders came together with renowned architects and designers—as well as students, alumni, and friends of the University—to mark a momentous day in Penn’s history, and to share new ideas and developments in the field of design.
“The Weitzman School: A Celebration of Design” welcomed hundreds of visitors to campus on October 3 to commemorate the naming of the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design. The School was named this year in honor of Stuart Weitzman, W’63, who built a world-renowned brand of designer footwear and whose continuing support for the University is a model of excellence in philanthropy.
Penn President Amy Gutmann and Weitzman School Dean Fritz Steiner welcomed Weitzman and his family to the celebration, unveiling a bronze bust of Weitzman and announcing the dedication of the central plaza next to Meyerson Hall as the Stuart Weitzman Plaza. The space will soon enjoy an extensive redesign and renovation by renowned landscape architect Laurie Olin, practice professor emeritus of landscape architecture at the Weitzman School.
“For a university president, few milestones are as profoundly game-changing or as rare as the naming of a school,” President Gutmann said that afternoon. “When we celebrate such a milestone, what we in essence celebrate are future generations of students whose lives will be forever transformed, faculty whose work will be forever empowered, and a world forever changed for the better.”
An Exemplar of Academic Engagement
Weitzman’s contributions are helping to ease the financial burden shouldered by the School’s students, providing support for crucial financial aid and extending opportunity to those whose educational options depend upon such funding. Some students who might otherwise have pursued their education elsewhere out of economic necessity—but not out of desire—can now look to the Weitzman School as a viable launchpad for their academic careers.
Weitzman’s backing also allows the School to increase funding and focus for advanced modern technologies, such as 3D printing and robotics—empowering students to build skills and knowledge essential for success in their futures.
This is my way of thanking the University of Pennsylvania for the education that was the foundation of my long and incredibly enjoyable career in design. It is my privilege to support new scholarships, and to invest in the overall academic mission of the School, including the advanced technologies and systems so essential to the future of design.”Stuart Weitzman, W’63
Discussion and Discovery
The Weitzman School’s “Celebration of Design” featured a variety of thought-provoking programs throughout the day, with participants from across the field of architecture.
Two panel discussions illustrated challenging topics in disciplines of design, examining aesthetic design in the public sphere and investigating a broad range of issues surrounding public memorials. Throughout the day, attendees were able to visit a special exhibition in Meyerson Hall, composed of works created by Penn undergraduate and graduate students.
A highlight of the day came as President Gutmann held a discussion with Paul Goldberger, a Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic and the Joseph Urban Chair in Design and Architecture at The New School in New York. Speaking in Irvine Auditorium, their wide-reaching conversation touched on the long list of leaders in design whose academic and professional careers intersected with the University of Pennsylvania. Video of the conversation is available online.
Looking to the Future
For Penn, and for its schools and centers, the impact of The Power of Penn Campaign depends on the devoted support of our alumni, parents, and friends. For Stuart Weitzman, that means channeling a lifetime of success into engagement on numerous levels. In addition to his continued financial backing for the University, Weitzman will continue to contribute directly to academics at Penn; he returns to campus next month as an Executive in Residence at the Weitzman School, sharing insights from his business during multiple sessions with Penn students.
As the momentum of The Power of Penn Campaign continues to build, programs of all sizes and shapes are seeking support from our Penn community in order to thrive. By stepping up to contribute, you help to design a future characterized by leadership, excellence, and infinite opportunity.