Gift of $1 Million Will Grow Visual Studies Program Over Next 10 Years

One of Penn’s most interdisciplinary offerings—the Visual Studies Program in Penn Arts and Sciences—will expand thanks to a generous gift of $1 million over the next decade. New initiatives will include undergraduate research support, internships, course development, and greater connections between current students and alumni.

Now in its 11th year, the Visual Studies Program combines faculty and classes from the Departments of Philosophy, Psychology, History of Art, Fine Arts, and Architecture. Students explore the science of vision and the workings of the brain, as well as philosophical considerations of vision and the history of how humans have used seeing for cultural expression. They also develop skills in the creation of art ranging from the two- and three-dimensional to digital and time-based media.

“Visual Studies prepares students to forge innovative connections across the disciplines,” said Gary Hatfield, Adam Seybert Professor in Moral and Intellectual Philosophy and Visual Studies Program director. “Now this gift will give us the financial stability to undertaking programming we couldn’t before.”

The new funding will provide for initiatives like course development, lectures, visiting instructors and critics, and support for undergraduates’ research and projects. One of the major goals is to grow and strengthen connections between current students and the alumni the program has produced over the last decade.

“We’ll be able to bring visual studies alumni back to campus for workshops and to talk about their own experiences and the value of the degree,” said Hatfield. Earlier this month he heard from a former student offering to do just that, writing, “I'm so happy that I've found a satisfying, creative job where my unique undergrad experience is used and appreciated.”

The term fund will also grow opportunities for student travel and events organized by the Visual Studies Undergraduate Advisory Board (UAB), which gives majors the opportunity to interact beyond the classroom.

The gift was made in honor of Professor of History of Art Michael Leja, who has been involved with the Visual Studies Program since his arrival at Penn in 2005, and served as program director from 2011 to 2014.

“This is a transformative gift that will help us move Visual Studies to the next level,” said Leja. “The program, unique to Penn, has grown steadily in its first decade and continues to attract talented students internationally. With this new gift we can expand and deepen the opportunities Visual Studies offers to Penn students.”

To see senior projects by last year's Visual Studies majors, click here.

 

Arts & Sciences News

Ronald S. Lauder and Leonard A. Lauder Dedicate the Home of the Lauder Institute

The Lauder Institute’s rigorous joint degree graduate program integrates tailored arts and science course work, regional and global academic programs, advanced language study, and cultural immersion experiences.

View Article >
Penn Arts and Sciences Faculty Among First Recipients of India Research and Engagement Fund Awards

Projects focus on climate change, health and sanitation, culture and conservation, and ethnic vs. national identification.

View Article >
Eugene Mele and Charles Kane to Share Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics

The Physicists are recognized for work on topological insulators, materials with unique properties that may help usher in new, ultra-efficient electronic devices, even quantum computing.

View Article >
Aronowitz and Krueger Are Named Walter H. and Leonore C. Annenberg Professors in the Social Sciences

Robert Aronowitz, Professor and Chair of History and Sociology of Science, and Dirk Krueger, Professor of Economics, have been appointed Walter H. and Leonore C. Annenberg Professors in the Social Sciences.

View Article >
Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics Design Pairs New With Old

Located on the northeast corner of Walnut and 36th streets, the project involved the adaptive reuse and expansion of the circa 1925 Art Deco-style West Philadelphia Title and Trust Company building.

View Article >
Turner Schulman Endowed Research Fund Supports the Center for the Study of Ethnicity, Race, and Immigration

CSERI is a first-of-its-kind research center, focusing on the intersecting narratives of ethnicity, race, and immigration in U.S. life and supporting research at the faculty, graduate, and undergraduate levels.

View Article >