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2020-2021 | Giving Report

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Innovation. Flexibility. Adaptiveness. Those three words became our keystones for 2021. I am grateful for how your generosity sprang those words to life this year at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Peggy Burns Associate Dean, Development & Alumni Relations

An Update from Peggy Burns, Associate Dean, Development & Alumni Relations

An Update from Peggy Burns, Associate Dean, Development & Alumni Relations

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.

Peggy Burns headshot
  • Gund Hall sculpture with mask

    2020-2021 Highlights from the GSD

    The 2020-2021 academic year was about flexibility and adapting to change. Thanks in part to virtual events, connections, and innovations, we were here for each other and encouraged the next generation of design leaders. What follows are highlights from the unforgettable year.

  • Exterior of Gund Hall
    With the launch of the Student Emergency Fund in spring 2020, the GSD took swift action to present comfort, care, and opportunity amid the fear, emergencies, and job losses of COVID-19. During the 2020-2021 academic year, 415 students received emergency aid to assist with the loss of income or loss of family support due to the pandemic’s effects on the economy, as well as work-from-home support for tech or other costs incurred due to remote education. 
  • Druker design gallery projection
    The GSD turned the Druker Design Gallery, established by Ron Druker LF ’76, and other spaces within Gund Hall inside out with installations shown through a series of exterior projections on the building's facade. The series, aptly entitled “Inside Out,” spanned the spring semester and rotated through a weekly roster of shows that revealed timely preoccupations among GSD faculty and students.
  • Alumni and Friends website homepage
    During a year when many of our activities moved online, the GSD refreshed and relaunched the GSD’s Alumni and Friends website. The site enhanced how alumni and friends can listen, learn, and engage with the GSD. Community members can visit the site to engage with the Development & Alumni Relations team, meet members of the various volunteer councils, join virtual events, and much more.
  • The GSD’s Alumni Council is the primary representative body of GSD alumni. We were thrilled to welcome the following new members to the council during the 2020-2021 academic year.  
    • Jennifer Esposito
      MArch ’12
    • Hazel Edwards
      MAUD ’89
    • Christina Harris
      MLA ’11
    • Stacey Pennington
      MUP ’05
    • Adriana Rojas
      MAUD ’01
    • Mari Balestrazzi
      MArch ’97
    • Judith Heintz
      MLA ’78
    • Euneika Rogers-Sipp
      LF ’16
  • Founded by the GSD Alumni Council, the Harvard Graduate School of Design Alumni Award honors outstanding leadership by GSD alumni, underscoring the essential role that GSD graduates play in leading change around the world. The award recognizes and celebrates the diversity, range, and impact of GSD alumni within their communities and across their areas of practice. In March, the Alumni Council proudly announced the inaugural award recipients:

    Jack Dangermond MLA ’69
    Everett Fly MLA ’77
    Deanna Van Buren LF ’13
  • Jaqueline Tyrwhitt headshot

    Honoring the legacy of an urban design pioneer

    The GSD renamed the 50th Anniversary of Urban Design Program Lecture for Jaqueline Tyrwhitt, a GSD associate professor who worked to establish and fortify the urban design program during its founding years. The Jaqueline Tyrwhitt Urban Design Lecture will be delivered each year by a visionary urban planner, designer, scholar, or leader who has opened novel directions in urban-design thinking and traced new intersections between urban design and other disciplines. Moshe Safdie, Lee Cott MAUD ’70, and Jay Chatterjee MAUD ’65 played a key role in establishing the original lecture in 2010 and fortifying its energy since. 
  • The Unsung Hero Book Prize celebrates GSD students who act in selfless ways to make the School a better place. The four 2021 Unsung Heroes were recognized for being instrumental in creating community during a year of virtual instruction, building connection and engagement however possible. These women also worked tirelessly to elevate the perspectives of women and BIPOC in design, and they showed leadership in their many roles, including teaching assistant, resident adviser, and student government representative.

    Bailey Morgan Brown MArch ’22, MDes ’22
    Bailey Morgan Brown MArch ’22, MDes ’22
    Heidi Brandow MDes ’21
    Heidi Brandow MDes ’21
    Headshot of Mary Taylor MUP ’21
    Mary Taylor MUP ’21
    Headshot of Kathlyn Kao MArch ’22
    Kathlyn Kao MArch ’22
  • Rising to the challenge

    Solving global challenges through design is at the heart of all the GSD’s work. To make a positive impact in the lives of students and the larger design community, the GSD committed this year to funding the following initiatives:
    An initiative to promote the presence of African Americans in design and address representation gaps in the industry. The Nexus showcases the craft of Black designers, explores different geographies of design practice, and works to inspire change within design institutions by elevating Black designers.
    The most crucial and esteemed course that design students undergo at the GSD. The Regional Studio Fund fosters growth and design education for students, while at the same time supporting a design solution for a community.
    A collaborative platform that investigates the challenges and opportunities at the intersection of design technology and the built environment. It advances design as a catalyst of change and leverages innovative research methods to understand the architecture of complex issues.
  • Annual Report cover
    Committed to addressing systemic racism and inequity at the GSD, the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DIB) implemented programming and initiatives to:
    • Promote anti-racist practices
    • Expand recruitment and retention strategies of historically marginalized individuals
    • Deepen internal DIB competencies as part of a holistic approach to institutional transformation

    The 2020-2021 DIB Annual Report was created to serve as a step toward building a shared understanding of the progress, partnerships, and initiatives of the Office.
  • Image of Alex Krieger speaking
    For his Urban Design 50th Anniversary Lecture, Alex Krieger MCP ’77, professor and former chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design, took viewers on a virtual version of his tour of Boston. Stopping at locations key to the growth of the city—from East Boston, which was once five islands that were consolidated in the late 18th to 19th century, to the Shawmut and South Boston Peninsulas—Krieger spoke of the historic and contemporary geographical, infrastructural, and racial conditions of Boston, a city in “constant need to create land.”
  • Commencement visual
    On May 27, 2021, the GSD gathered virtually to honor the 298 members of the class of 2021 and confer their hard-earned degrees. The GSD remains committed to holding in-person events for our 2020 and 2021 graduates in the future.

Take a quick look at the Graduate School of Design in 2020-2021 from a bird’s eye view.

Photo by Jovi Ripert, courtesy of Elizabeth Price MDE ’21.

Giving Back and Building Community

Giving Back and Building Community

GSD fellowship and financial aid recipients are making their unique, vibrant, and outstanding marks on the school and the world of design, thanks to the generosity of the larger GSD community.

Headshots of students and donors

In Inaugural Cycle, REA Fund Supports Diverse Projects United by Pursuit of Equity and Anti-Racism

In Inaugural Cycle, REA Fund Supports Diverse Projects United by Pursuit of Equity and Anti-Racism

The inaugural Racial Equity and Anti-Racism Fund projects, ranging from the individual to the institutional, have come to fruition in recent months, illustrating the diversity and depth of inquiry the fund has supported.

Map of the US from 1900 cencus

Buckminster Fuller’s Legacy Honored at Harvard GSD with New Chair

Buckminster Fuller’s Legacy Honored at Harvard GSD with New Chair

The R. Buckminster Fuller Professorship of Design Science will be awarded to an eminent scholar working to advance innovation in design and promote a sustainable future.

Amy C. Edmondson with colleages and Fuller in front of geodesic dome

Visit the GSD Through Virtual Gund Hall

Visit the GSD Through Virtual Gund Hall

The GSD’s Fabrication Lab brought Gund Hall to the 3D virtual world, with Virtual Gund Hall, an experience created using Epic Games’ Unreal Engine, a real-time 3D tool used to create cutting-edge content, immersive virtual worlds, and immersive experiences.

Virtual gund entrance

Building a Future at Harvard: The Henry B. Hoover Fellowship

Building a Future at Harvard: The Henry B. Hoover Fellowship

The children of Henry B. Hoover MArch ’26, pioneer of New England modernist architecture, established the Henry B. Hoover Fellowship at the GSD and generously give additional gifts in order for their father’s legacy to live on at the GSD.

Resilient, Lively, Innovative: A New Option Studio at London’s Regent Quarter

Resilient, Lively, Innovative: A New Option Studio at London’s Regent Quarter

Thanks to a generous gift from Nan Fung Development Group and Managing Director Vanessa Cheung MLA ’10, GSD students will have a chance to study the Regent Quarter of London, an area brimming with dynamism and opportunities for exploration in one of the world’s oldest cities.

Headshot of Vanessa Cheung

In Memoriam and Tribute Gifts

In Memoriam and Tribute Gifts

At the GSD, we carry with us the memory of the alumni, faculty, and friends of the school who died during the 2020-2021 academic year. Each of them made an imprint on the world of design and on our hearts. For that, we are eternally grateful.

Photo of Cornelia Hahn Oberlander BLA ’47 in a small group