Ignite the change at the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design by supporting our growing legacy of rigorous graduate education and a commitment to excellence, designed for impact.


Letter from the Dean

As a graduate student at Penn, my mentor was a charismatic, outspoken Scotsman by the name of Ian McHarg. A professor, then chair, of landscape and regional planning for five decades, he was arguably the most important environmental planner and landscape architect of the 20th century. McHarg, Louis Kahn, Ann Strong, David De Long, Terry Adkins, and other visionary faculty members introduced powerful concepts for design, planning, and art to the world. Their students have since reshaped the skyline in cities from Chicago to Hong Kong, protected natural resources and cultural landmarks around the world, and helped strengthen communities in Philadelphia and beyond.

Our accomplishments are great, and our ambitions even greater. How do we add value to the places in which we live, work, and play? How do we reconnect with the natural world on which we depend? And how can we leave the world a better place for future generations? From big data and computational design to remote sensing and robotics, technology offers new tools to take our imagination and problem solving further than ever before. It’s our time to lead. I hope you will join me.

Frederick “Fritz” Steiner (MRP’77, MA’86, PhD’86)
Dean and Paley Professor
Co-Director, The Ian L. McHarg Center

Our Priorities
Bringing the most intellectually powerful, innovative, and  diverse group of students to the  Weitzman School creates a  culture of creativity that infuses every aspect of its community.  Increasing the availability of endowed graduate fellowships ensures that stellar students—today and long into the future—will be able to choose Penn, thrive while here, graduate without burdensome student loan debt, and forge impactful careers. 
The quality of a design school, like the Stuart Weitzman School of Design, is often defined by the caliber of its faculty and center directors. For those who have achieved great distinction, there is no higher honor than a named endowed professorship or center director. Endowed professorships and center directors are an indispensable tool the Weitzman School uses to help recruit distinguished faculty and to retain current faculty by formally recognizing their achievements.

Weitzman centers of excellence are issue-focused engines of applied and theoretical research, rooted in design. They tackle issues that are crucial to our collective welfare, from diversifying our energy mix and increasing equity to facilitating ecological design and sustainable development. 

As experts on the built and natural environments, we recognize the need to re-imagine our spaces on campus to meet the needs of growing programs and centers, and unlock their full potential. Expanding our footprint and upgrading the tools available to students and faculty are crucial if we are to support innovation well into the future.

Why Weitzman?
The Weitzman School is responding to the challenges of urbanization, climate change, and social inequity.

Through education, research, and direct action, we have moved beyond the traditional confines of academia. Our faculty and students lead the way, with innovative and sustainable design that aims to address today’s pressing problems, while retaining the vigor and scope of our legacy in design.

We are leading the effort to make change. By seeing opportunity where some might only see obstacles. Providing the data to back it up. And generating plans to mitigate the existential dangers to our species.

Matching Program

Matching funds are available for a limited time to accelerate the growth in endowed fellowships (scholarships), faculty positions, and center directors.

Learn more here


Events | April 20, 2021 2:30 pm

BIPOC Alumni Career Conversation Series (BACCS): Addressing DEI Issues in the Workplace and the Job Search Process

Faculty, students, and staff at the Weitzman School of Design have been increasingly focused on the impact of race and systemic racism on the design community, and the need to increase BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) representation in the design professions. 

Culture & Heritage

MFA Alum Examines the Materials and Images of Labor in ICA Solo Exhibition

Artist and Weitzman alum Jessica Vaughn examines the spaces, architecture, and cultures of the American workplace her first major solo exhibition, now on view at the Institute of Contemporary Art.

Events | May 14, 2021 11:00 am

Weitzman School Virtual Talk | The Design Legacy of Julian Abele

Join Frederick Steiner (MRP’77, MA’86, PhD’86), dean and Paley Professor of the Weitzman School of Design for a virtual talk on the work and legacy of Julian Abele.

Events | May 15, 2021 2:00 pm

Preserving Penn Hospital

Established in 1751, Pennsylvania Hospital been in continuous operation at the current site in Philadelphia’s Society Hill neighborhood since 1755. Yet people who live a few blocks away may have no idea about its legacy.