GSD’s Inaugural Fellowship Reception

04132016_grounded_fellowships1835_webThe GSD held its Inaugural Fellowship Reception on Wednesday, April 13, 2016, which honored the contributions of fellowships and financial aid support for GSD students. This powerful evening in Piper Auditorium convened 33 donors, friends, and faculty with 84 students who were mutually inspired by stories of impact and inspiration.

During the Reception, Bart Voorsanger MArch ’64 shared the motivation behind the Voorsanger Fellowship Fund was to stimulate the connections between these design disciplines envisioning a future in which architecture, urban planning, landscape architecture, and design studies increasingly intermingle. The Voorsanger Fellowship Fund will support four top-performing students, one from each of the GSD’s disciplines—architecture, urban planning, landscape architecture, and design studies—who hold “great promise for making a significant contribution to these fields.” In giving the gift, he felt that “It’s incredibly important that we step up and really financially support this place in such a way that we can change the dynamic between GSD, and strengthen that dynamic with University.”

Other highlights of the evening included remarks from Dean Mohsen Mostafavi, Dana McKinney MArch ’17, MUP ’17, and Irene Figueroa Ortiz MArch ’15, MUP ’15. “There is a direct relationship between your support and the opportunities that lie ahead for these graduates,” said Dean Mostafavi. “I want to thank you for everything you are doing for the school and urge you to support us to ensure that many of the students here will have opportunities in the design sphere that provide them with the greatest degree of freedom.” The event featured the premiere of the GSD’s student fellowship video featuring five students, Dean Mostafavi, and faculty to showcase the power of fellowships and financial aid in attracting the most talented, creative, and wildly ambitious students to the GSD.

Student speaker Dana McKinney shared her aspiration to change communities through their built environment after graduation through her four and a half years of studying architecture and urban planning at the GSD. “I want to serve as a socially conscious architect in places that otherwise lack a strong design value—or strong design voice—and as an advocate in spaces of design that often lack social consciousness,” stated McKinney. It is through the generosity of so many GSD alumni and friends that she can graduate to achieve her vision to serve both as an architect and developer in under-serviced communities: “I’m incredibly grateful for the GSD community and the contributions to my education. Without the generosity and support of donors like yourselves, I would never have had this amazing experience. And I’m truly and sincerely thankful for it.”

Irene Figueroa Ortiz was the first recipient of the Gregory S. Baldwin Fellowship, which allowed her to explore the potential of physical interventions to enable or disable larger socioeconomic and political processes, with the final goal of creating a more sustainable and fair built environment. The Gregory S. Baldwin Fellowship was created in 2012, with a gift from his family’s Lamb-Baldwin Foundation, whose board includes his wife Joan and children Benjamin and Sera. The Fellowship was created to honor, celebrate, and perpetuate his legacy. It is intended to support a top-performing student in their final semester of study in Architecture, Landscape Architecture, or Urban Design.  Ortiz is currently the Project Manager for Go Boston 2030 Public Realm Planning Study, which aims to transform Boston’s public realm into a more equitable, sustainable, and vibrant place where Bostonians come together as a unified community. Financial aid played a fundamental role in shaping her career path and that of so many other students:  “Your support to the GSD goes beyond students; your support shapes the entire profession. I see all of you as ambassadors in innovation and diversity in the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, and planning.”

For more information on how you can make a commitment to future generations of talented design leaders, through supporting fellowships and financial aid at the GSD, please contact alumni@gsd.harvard.edu.

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