Four new student fellowships will change the lives of GSD students, thanks to the generosity of donors who share a passion for helping students realize their dream of a design education. Two fellowships were created by GSD alumni—The Phil Freelon Fellowship Fund and the Thomas Payette Financial Aid Fund— and the other two by friends of the GSD—the Robert P. Hubbard AB ’51 Fellowship Fund and the Zaha Hadid/Omniyat Fellowship Fund. Together, the impact of these fellowship funds reaches well beyond the School. They help to spread the GSD’s renowned pedagogy to a larger audience, promote a robust global discourse on design, and sustain a broader legacy of design leadership. The Phil Freelon Fellowship Fund, supported by global architecture and design firm Perkins+Will and the Fund’s namesake, Phil Freelon LF ’90, design director of the firm’s North Carolina practice, expands academic opportunities for African American and other underrepresented architecture and design students. Freelon and Grounded Visionaries Campaign Co-Chair Phil Harrison AB ’86, March ’93 announced the Fellowship to the School community in November 2016. “As the design profession continues to attract a more diverse talent base, this gift will provide students of color with financial assistance that could make pursuing an advanced degree at the GSD possible,” said Freelon, whose portfolio includes the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, Historic Emancipation Park in Houston, and the recently opened National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC.
During its second annual fellowship reception in April 2017, the GSD celebrated the power of financial aid and announced the Thomas Payette Financial Aid Fund. The event brought donors together with students who have benefitted from their financial aid gifts, along with faculty and staff¬, to share a deep appreciation for the support of the next generation of leaders. The Fund, which honors the legacy of Payette Associates, Inc. founder Thomas Payette MArch ’60, was established by three GSD alumni at Payette Associates: President and CEO Kevin Sullivan MArch ’94 and two partners, David Feth MArch ’85 and Leon Drachman MAUD ’93. Thomas Payette’s passion for the GSD moved the trio to start this Fund. According to Sullivan, “The Fund will help assure that many talented students…will have the ability to study at the GSD if they need financial assistance; and hopefully, they will not have to work full time as Tom [Payette] did if they choose to go, or, far worse, decide not to attend.” Robert P. Hubbard COL ’51, a long-time resident of Walpole, New Hampshire, nobly dedicated his life to teaching and philanthropy after attending Harvard College. His passion for art, culture, and the environment will live in perpetuity, thanks to his support of design thinking through the creation of the Robert P. Hubbard COL ’51 Fellowship to support talented, ambitious students.
In 2016, the global design community mourned the passing of Dame Zaha Hadid (1950–2016), the first female recipient of both the Pritzker Architecture Prize and the RIBA Gold Medal. Her untimely passing saddened friends, clients, and admirers, but her legacy inspired the creation of the Zaha Hadid/Omniyat Fellowship Fund. Mahdi K M J Amjad, a friend of the GSD and the executive chairman and founder of Omniyat, one of the Middle East’s leading real estate development firms, established the fund for qualified students who are enrolled in the Master in Architecture program at the GSD and are citizens or residents of the Middle East and North Africa region. The announcement was made following the October 2016 public lecture “Zaha Hadid: A Celebration,” which focused on Hadid’s extraordinary architectural contributions. The GSD is thankful for the generosity of these philanthropic alumni and friends in supporting a key priority of the GSD’s $110-million-plus Grounded Visionaries campaign. Together, they are helping to spur creativity and increase the diversity of the student body. By empowering the next generation of design leaders, these fellowship funds will allow the GSD to increase its impact around the world and help talented designers reach their potential in shaping the built environment.