Global architecture and design firm Perkins&Will, along with Phil Freelon, Managing and Design Director of the firm’s North Carolina practice, announce today the creation of the Philip Freelon Fellowship Fund at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD). The fund will provide expanded academic opportunities to African American and other under-represented architecture and design students at the GSD.
“I am honored to have this fellowship established in my name,” says 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, D.C. “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. It’s an important step in broadening the GSD’s reach.”
Freelon has long-standing ties with the GSD, having been a recipient of the Loeb Fellowship from 1989-1990. He is still actively involved at the school, giving lectures, contributing research, assisting with student and faculty recruitment, and serving as a role model for aspiring young minority architects.
In 2003, Freelon was elevated to Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. He won a Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture from the AIA in 2009, an honor bestowed on a private-sector architect with a record of designing architecturally distinguished public facilities. In 2012, he was appointed by President Barack Obama to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts. His firm, The Freelon Group, joined Perkins&Will in 2014.
“Phil Freelon is one of the leading American architects practicing today,” says Perkins&Will Chief Executive Officer Phil Harrison, AB ’86, MArch ’93, and co-chair of the GSD’s Grounded Visionaries campaign. “His combination of design talent, entrepreneurship, and social commitment to the profession and academy make him a role model for us all. Since Phil founded his firm after a formative experience as a Loeb Fellow, it is fitting that we establish a GSD fellowship in his name. We’re thrilled to enable future design visionaries to be inspired by him.”
The Philip Freelon Fellowship will allow the GSD to continue to attract, enroll, and support students who will be leaders in transforming the built environment and in using design to advance positive social outcomes, according to GSD Dean Mohsen Mostafavi.
“Phil Freelon is a passionate advocate for equity and diversity in the design sphere. These values are deeply supported and ingrained at the GSD,” says Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean and Alexander and Victoria Wiley Professor of Design, “I thank Perkins&Will and Phil Freelon for their generosity in establishing this Fellowship as the creativity, dynamism, and success of our GSD community are enriched by and even contingent on an increasingly diverse student body.”
Launched in 2014 as part of Harvard University’s $6.5-billion capital campaign, the GSD Grounded Visionaries campaign aims to boost access to innovative learning at the GSD while offering unrivaled experiences; broaden the reach of design knowledge through transformative pedagogy, research, and discourse; and build the GSD’s future through leading-edge faculty and facilities for the next century.