Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Monday, April 8, 2013

Art & Design celebrates Stamps' transformative gift with naming festivities

The U-M Fanfare Band, banners, giant puppet heads, a jazz quartet, cookies and a five-tiered "art" cake all were part of the uniquely creative celebration Thursday and Friday at the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design.

The university's art and design community celebrated the naming of the school in honor of Penny and Roe Stamps' transformative $40 million gift.

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A jazz band led a parade Friday of puppet heads created by art and design students, including these two fashioned after Penny and Roe Stamps. (Photo by Mark Gjukich Photography)

Banners across the university announced the naming celebration, which began Thursday during the Penny Stamps Speaker Series presentation at the Michigan Theater by Museum of Modern Art curator Paola Antonelli.

As the lights dimmed the Fanfare Band filed onto the Michigan Theater stage playing "Hail to the Chief " for Penny Stamps, as her family, friends and an audience of more than 700, clapped in unison.

The festivities continued Friday afternoon at a tented celebration in the Art and Architecture Building Courtyard, where more than 400 members of the art and design community heard remarks by students, faculty, the community, and U-M administration.

Regent Julia Donovan Darlow, received a round of applause when she stated that the school was the first at the university to be named for a woman.

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From left, Art & Design Dean Gunalan Nadarajan, Penny Stamps, Roe Stamps and President Mary Sue Coleman enjoy the naming ceremony Friday. (Photo by Mark Gjukich Photography)  

"So many of us here at the university care so deeply about women's opportunities and attainments, and this is a wonderful milestone," Darlow said, commending Penny Stamps for her "support of scholarships … (that) will mean enduring, invaluable opportunities for creative students … (and) address the urgent need to make college affordable and accessible for all students."

President Mary Sue Coleman called Stamps' philanthropy "creativity personified."

"The vision of Penny Stamps to transform the experience of art and design students and faculty has been unique among Michigan alumni. Together with Roe, she has made a powerful, lasting statement about the indispensible role of creativity and the arts at a research university," Coleman said.

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Stamps alumna Heather Anne Leavitt designed this cake that added a stylish — and tasty — touch to the festivities. (Photo by Amy Rose)

Rounding out the remarks, previous Penny Stamps Series speakers — including Oliver Stone, Ken Burns, Bill T. Jones, Marina Abromovic, Robert Wilson and Paula Shear — sent videotaped thank you messages and congratulations.

The celebration culminated with a jazz band-led parade of huge puppet heads created by Stamps students for Sunday's FestiFools celebration, including two heads created to look like Penny and Roe Stamps.

While the jazz band played the crowd munched on a huge "art" cake and artfully decorated cookies created by Stamps alumna Heather Anne Leavitt.

The Stamps' philanthropy provides long term support for the Penny Stamps Speakers Series, the Work • Ann Arbor exhibition space, Roman J. Witt Visitors program and Stamps Creative Work Scholarships."