The prevailing themes at the GSD Alumni Council’s spring meeting in April were the GSD’s leadership roles in tackling critical global challenges through great design and building collaborative initiatives across the University’s schools to elevate art and design in the interdisciplinary curriculum. A packed agenda, including Dean Mostafavi’s inspiring vision for the future and Michael Hays’ compelling plan for expanding the GSD’s influence throughout the globe and the University campus, framed a lively dialogue about the school’s aspirations and growth plans. Council business also included a fond farewell and thank you to outgoing Chairman C. Ronald Ostberg (MAR ’68), who assumed his role as Chairman in 2010.
Ron Ostberg was the Director of Design at The Stubbins Associates until 2008, joining the firm in 1984 after designing projects for ten years in the Middle East while based in Italy. His considerable professional experience provided the Council with much-needed organizational structure and raised the Council’s profile within the university, the school, and the GSD alumni and friend base. Ron’s tenure introduced council subcommittees focused on student and alumni outreach and ambassadorship, and the Council recently initiated an alumni mentoring program, a portfolio review initiative, and the J-term internship program.
While Ron is stepping down from the Council, he will continue to serve the GSD as an Appointed Director to the Harvard Alumni Association, and will make remarks at this year’s GSD Class Day. Alumni Council members applaud his strategic and visionary leadership and his quiet determination, which earned him the nickname “the velvet hammer” among council members.
The GSD Alumni Council is the primary representative body of Graduate School of Design alumni, with a fundamental goal of promoting the GSD’s advancement throughout the world. The 2012-13 council includes 46 GSD alumni members from 15 states and 8 countries, sitting on 4 committees. Council members represent 8 degree programs and hold degrees spanning 6 decades. They are distinguished practitioners and academics whom are intimately engaged in contemporary design, planning issues, and their communities’ professional, governmental, civic, and business affairs. These prominent alums provide a critical link between Gund Hall and the world beyond.
The Alumni Council is deeply committed to building a vibrant community within the alumni and student base. This year’s graduating students will be next year’s alumni, and it’s critically important for former students to stay connected to the GSD and consider it a vital resource throughout their professional careers. This year’s alumni weekend in California, Harvard Design: Los Angeles, illustrated the value, strength, and pervasive impact of a strong alumni community. The Council sponsored several smaller alumni events this past year, including an event at the Olympic Stadium in London and a hardhat museum tour in Denver.
In July, we will welcome incoming Chairman-elect Michael Lehrer (MArch ’78), a Principal at Lehrer Architects LA, who will lead the Council for the next three year term, 2013-2016. We are also thrilled to welcome 7 new members of GSD Alumni Council for the 2013-16 term: Renee Cheng (MArch ’89), Collette Creppell (MArch ’90), Sarah Graham (MArch ’82), Reggie Graham (MArch ’78), Bill Hammer (MUA ’68), Brenda Levin (MArch ’76), and Cathleen McGuigan (LF ’93). Keep an eye out for upcoming events sponsored by the Alumni Council.