International Design Visionary Bill Moggridge Headlines 133rd Commencement

May 19, 2011

International design visionary Bill Moggridge delivered the keynote address and received an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts (HDFA) at the 133rd Commencement of the University of the Arts, held May 19, 2011, at the Academy of Music on Philadelphia's Avenue of the Arts.

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President Sean T. Buffington presided over the ceremony that featured more than 500 graduates, including Modern Dance senior and President's Award recipient Ashleigh Whitworth, who delivered the valedictory address.

A design pioneer, Moggridge designed the first laptop computer – the Grid Compass – launched in 1982. He is the director of the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and is co-founder of the groundbreaking design firm IDEO. A Royal Designer for Industry, Britain's highest accolade for designers, Moggridge pioneered interaction design and is one of the first people to integrate human factors into the design of software and hardware.

In addition to Moggridge, Emmy Award-winning independent documentary filmmaker Louis J. Massiah also received an HDFA. The founder and executive director of Philadelphia's Scribe Video Center is the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, a Pew Fellowship and two Rockefeller Intercultural Fellowships. Massiah is currently the Eugene M. Lang Visiting Professor for Issues of Social Change at Swarthmore College.

Representing the tradition of educational and artistic excellence that the University's faculty works hard to achieve, this year's Silver Star Outstanding Alumni Award recipients included painter/printmaker Leonard Lehrer '56 and School of Music faculty member Evan Solot '67, MM '75.

Lehrer, whose award-winning work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, served as co-director of the Foundation program at the Philadelphia College of Art (PCA), now the University of the Arts. A Fulbright Scholar, he received his BFA from PCA in 1956 and his MFA from the University of Pennsylvania in 1960.

The work of Professor and Composition Department Chair Evan Solot has earned accolades and support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the American Composers Forum. He has collaborated, worked and/or toured with such luminaries as Stevie Wonder, Mel Torme, Ben Vereen, Bette Midler, Burt Bacharach and Frank Sinatra. Solot served as lead trumpet in more than 50 Broadway shows and his music underscores the award-winning documentary "Standing in the Shadows of Motown."

Highlights of the 133rd Commencement ceremony included a stellar performance by the UArts' Transfusion Ensemble, who brought the crowd to its feet with a gospel-influenced rendition of "With a Little Help from My Friends," and the irresistible salsa dance troupe Alo Brasil, who closed the ceremony by leading the new graduates and their families back down Broad Street to Hamilton Hall for a post-ceremony celebration.

Student Award Winners List (PDF) >>

Bestowed by President Buffington, this award is given to one graduating senior from each college and the University's graduate programs who over the course of his or her time at UArts has demonstrated academic and artistic excellence of the highest order:

College of Art and Design
Tyler S. Held (Sculpture)

College of Media and Communication
Kylie M. Hoffman (Multimedia)

College of Performing Arts
Ashleigh Whitworth (Modern Dance)

Graduate Programs
Christine Leilani Yuka Petz (Book Arts/Printmaking)

Each year, the University recognizes the highest academically ranked student within each college. These students have exemplified dedication, discipline and excellence:

College of Art and Design
Leandra Tidwell (Graphic Design)

College of Media and Communication
Sean Thomas Spencer (Writing for Film and Television)

College of Performing Arts
A.J. Luca (Piano)

Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award
John M. Baker
Associate Professor, Liberal Arts

Richard C. von Hess Faculty Prize
Joseph L. Girandola
Assistant Professor and Director, MFA in Studio Art

Mary Louise Beitzel Award for Distinguished Teaching
Kim Y. Bears-Bailey
Associate Professor, Dance

President's Distinguished Teaching Award
Lowell Boston
Adjunct Associate Professor, Media Arts

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