A Letter of Thanks
It is a true pleasure to share stories of inventiveness, of resilience, of belief in the power of design innovation in the 2020-2021 GSD Giving Report.
Dear Alumni and Friends,
Innovation. Flexibility. Adaptiveness. Those three words became our keystones for 2021, and I am grateful for how your generosity sprang those words to life this year at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD). It is a true pleasure to share those stories—of inventiveness, of resilience, of belief in the power of design—in the 2020-2021 GSD Giving Report.
I and my team at the Office of Development and Alumni Relations at the GSD want to thank you, our alumni and friends, for modeling this spirit to our students and so willingly offering the support they need to thrive in our ever-evolving landscape. Your gifts to the school, your attendance at our virtual events (and our virtual Gund Hall!), and your warm welcome to the 299 GSD students who graduated in a time unlike any other showed us that the bonds in our community are as strong as ever.
You’ll see stories in this report about how you honored the design community’s pioneers through gifts to establish the R. Buckminster Fuller Professorship of Design Science and grow the Henry B. Hoover Fellowship. You’ll hear from our fellowship recipients, who embody the definition of nimble, enthusiastic, and creative as they write the next chapters of design. You’ll have a chance to dive into a brand-new option studio, which invites our students to adapt, to explore, and to make their mark on one of the world’s oldest cities. And you’ll learn more about how the Racial Equity and Anti-Racism Fund is working to address injustice and discrimination at the GSD and beyond. Plus, you can experience Gund Hall virtually, in a 3D virtual world created by the GSD’s Fabrication Lab.
Thanks to the opportunities your gifts have offered, our students can imagine themselves as the next generation of innovators, working alongside you to pivot and find new pathways toward a more sustainable, equitable, and beautiful world. We look forward, thanks to the impact of your gifts. We also look back, remembering alumni we have lost this year through our In Memoriam feature.
Before I let you move on to the stories, a couple more thanks are in order: to the Alumni Council for all their work over the past year, and to the Dean’s Leadership Council for their guidance to the Dean and the School. We’re grateful for the active role they play in advancing the visibility and importance of the GSD at the University, among the School’s many design fields, and in the world at large.
In these extraordinary times, I keep thinking of what Carrie Alice Johnson MArch ’93 said when discussing the fellowship she established in honor of her parents: “Education will help bring about the most change for our country and the world. It’s what we need to move forward, together.”
It brings me great joy that the GSD alumni and friends have taken Carrie’s words to heart. As a design community, we are accomplishing so much by working together. I hope you enjoy reading these stories of generosity, and thank you again for making it possible for the GSD to achieve its invaluable education and mission.
Associate Dean, Development & Alumni Relations
Harvard University Graduate School of Design