The Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), along with global architecture and design firm Perkins+Will and Phil Freelon (LF '90), Managing and Design Director of the firm’s North Carolina practice, announces the establishment of the Phil Freelon Fellowship Fund at the GSD. The Phil Freelon Fellowship Fund will provide financial aid to students attending the GSD with the intent to expand academic opportunities for African American and other under-represented architecture and design students.
“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.”
The Fellowship Fund supports a key priority for the GSD’s $110-million-plus Grounded Visionaries campaign—enhancing student access to innovative learning. This fellowship will also enable the GSD to continue to attract, enroll, and support the brightest and most talented scholars who will be the leaders in transforming the social and built environment.
“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.”
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 (MArch ’93), co-chair of the GSD’s Grounded Visionaries campaign. “His combination of design talent, entrepreneurship, social commitment, and broad involvement in 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, the GSD is the perfect place to establish a fellowship in his name that will enable future design visionaries to be inspired by him.”
Freelon has long-standing ties with the GSD, including a year as a Loeb Fellow in 1989 and 1990. He is still actively involved at the School, presenting lectures, contributing research, assisting with student and faculty recruitment, and serving as a role model for aspiring young minority architects. “Phil Freelon is an inspirational leader including his leadership in groups such as the AIA, NOMA, and our own Loeb Fellowship Alumni/ae Council,” said James G. Stockard, Jr. (MCP ‘68/LF ‘78), former curator of the GSD's Loeb Fellowship. “He is the kind of leader — strong, clear, selfless, and principled — who helps the rest of us find the courage to join him in striving for the best we and our society can be. He asks us to be the best designers, the best colleagues, and the best citizens we can imagine.”