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Stamps Community Celebrates the Legacy of Penny W. Stamps

An exciting whirlwind brought together faculty, staff, students, and alumni from across the country to celebrate the 10th Naming Anniversary of the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design.

Penny Stamps (19442018), was a prominent alum and philanthropist. Along with her husband Roe, Penny worked tirelessly to support the students, faculty, and staff at the school and across the campus. The Stamps School is the only school at the University of Michigan named after a woman. The events were designed to honor her legacy. 

The festivities of the week kicked off on Thursday, September 22 with the unveiling of a new installation in the Art &Architecture Building on the second floor next to the Stamps Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Advisory Council joined Roe Stamps, the husband of the late Penny Stamps for the tribute. The new monument features a sculpture of Penny Stamps, designed by sculptor and alum J. Brett Grill (BFA 01) with input from the Stamps family. The display includes a quote from Penny from her 2018 commencement speech:

Now go out there and break the rules. Make the world a better place for your being here. Create fantastic art. Design products which will change the way we look at the world. Dream, engage, imagine. Live a glorious and fantastic life, and do it with courage, grit, and determination.”

Later that evening, Stamps alum and world-renowned artist Michele Oka Doner (BSDes 66, MFA 68) was the featured speaker at the Michigan Theater for the Penny W. Stamps Distinguished Speaker Series. Oka Doner’s talk entitled, Carrying Golden Threads was a reflection on all of the influences in her life and work, including the impact of her education at the University of Michigan. She spoke to a packed house, and at the end of the event, surprised the crowd with a rousing rendition of Hail to the Victors” by the University of Michigan Marching Band.

On Friday, September 23, the centerpiece event of the weekend was held in the courtyard of the Art & Architecture Building to commemorate the anniversary, and to look forward to the future. Stamps alum Joseph Keckler (BFA 04) began the event with a poignant rendition of Pennies from Heaven.” President Mary Sue Coleman, Dean Carlos Jackson, and Roe Stamps shared remarks in honor of the occasion. A film created by Stamps students Olivia Ortiz and Madison Grosvenor highlighted the history of the school. The wordmark, Create the Future,” designed specifically for the anniversary, was featured on new Stamps merchandise and a large cake at the event.