Mourning a progressive leader, colleague and friend
It is with profound sadness that the Stamps School of Art & Design announces that former dean Bryan Rogers (photo right) passed away on May 28 following a lengthy illness.
“The engaging learning that students experience in the Stamps School of Art & Design is due to the vision and leadership of Bryan Rogers,” said University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman. “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.”
Born in 1941 in Texas, Bryan graduated in 1963 with an MS in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, where he also went on to receive an MA in sculpture, and a PhD in Chemical Engineering in 1971. Prior to coming to the University of Michigan Bryan held positions at the University of California, Berkeley, San Francisco State University and Carnegie Mellon. Both a practicing artist and a writer, Bryan published and exhibited his work nationally and internationally.
Bryan was appointed dean of the Stamps School in 2000, following a successful tenure as head of the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University. As soon as he arrived on campus, Bryan set about to transform the School and the arts at Michigan.
His vision for the Stamps School was three-fold: (1) to make the arts part of the intellectual DNA of the wide-ranging domains that compose the University of Michigan, (2) 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, and (3) to send into the world well-rounded individuals with a strong set of technical and conceptual skills, a deep well of 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.
His pioneering vision — honed during his time as Carnegie Mellon and fully realized at the University of Michigan — 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.
Bryan’s successes in achieving his vision are everywhere – 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/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; and, a hard-won recognition of the importance of art and design on campus, including the founding of ArtsEngine.
“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 Guna Nadarajan, current Dean of the Stamps School of Art & Design.
“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,” he said. “Bryan has left both a professional and human legacy that we can all aspire to.”
A celebration of Bryan’s life will be held at a later date, and information will be shared as soon as it is available. Cards and notes for Bryan’s family may be sent to Stamps School Dean’s Office, 2000 Bonisteel Blvd, Ann Arbor Michigan 48109.
— Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design