Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Bryan Rogers, former dean of Art & Design, dies at age 72

Bryan Rogers, professor and former dean of what is now the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design, died Tuesday at home, after a lengthy illness and in the care of his wife, Cynthi, and son, Kyle. He was 72.

  Bryan Rogers

Born in Texas, Rogers graduated from Yale University in 1963 with a Bachelor of Engineering degree. He also received a Master of Science, Master of Arts and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1966, 1969 and 1971, respectively.

"The engaging learning that students experience in the Stamps School of Art & Design is due to the vision and leadership of Bryan Rogers. His belief in a program that is global, creative and connected led to dramatic changes that advanced the Stamps School. We will miss his gentle spirit, and will continue to benefit from his important work as a scholar, dean and leader," said President Mary Sue Coleman.

Prior to coming to U-M, Rogers held positions at UC-Berkeley, San Francisco State University and Carnegie Mellon University. Both a practicing artist and a writer, he published and exhibited his work nationally and internationally.

Rogers was appointed dean of what was then the School of Art & Design (now the Stamps School) in 2000, after leading the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon. He stepped down June 30, 2012, and was the school's longest-serving dean.

His vision for the school was threefold:

• To make the arts part of the intellectual DNA of the wide-ranging domains that comprise U-M.

• To connect A&D students and faculty with their creative pursuits and the wider world through interdisciplinary collaborations, regional outreach programs and global learning exchanges.

• To send into the world well-rounded individuals with technical and conceptual skills, creative confidence, a capacity for continuing self-education, an appreciation for other cultures and perspectives, a well-honed critical intelligence, and an abiding passion for engagement with their communities and their world.

"For those who worked closely with Bryan, he is remembered most for his wry and often wicked sense of humor, his grace and devoted friendship, his love of music and reading, and the many acts of kindness that he performed without an expectation of thanks or recognition," said current Stamps School Dean Gunalan Nadarajan.

"I will always remember fondly and with deep appreciation the generosity of spirit and support he extended me as I transitioned into my position as dean at the school. Bryan has left both a professional and human legacy that we can all aspire to."

Rogers' vision has led the way in transforming art-design education at American universities and in championing the critical role of creativity in education.

His work has inspired a generation of creative thinkers and practitioners to move beyond centuries-old conventions and embrace new paradigms grounded in critical engagement, community and global awareness, and an understanding of the significant role artists and designers play in society.

Rogers' successes in achieving his vision include:

• An endowment for the school that ensures a bright future for the visual arts on campus.

• A curriculum that encourages thoughtful, creative, interdisciplinary problem-making and problem-solving.

• A tenured and tenure-track faculty that doubled in size during his tenure and reflects the range of contemporary creative practice.

• Expanded and improved facilities including private studio space for faculty, graduate students and seniors.

• Thriving national and international engagement programs that move art-design out of the classroom and into the local and global communities.

• A dedicated and professional staff capable of supporting ambitious programs and services.

• A hard-won recognition of the importance of art and design on campus, including the founding of ArtsEngine.

A celebration of Rogers' life will take place at a later date, and information will be shared as soon as it is available. Until then, cards and notes for the family may be sent to the Stamps School Dean's Office, 2000 Bonisteel Blvd., Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109.