Carnegie Mellon University
Dan Martin in an architecture studio.

Letter from Dean Dan Martin

To suggest that 2020 has been a year of change is certainly a gross understatement. For the College of Fine Arts, the changes we are experiencing are more than those directed toward critical social and racial justice initiatives or our response to the COVID pandemic. Several long-serving, impactful and admired leaders in the college recently completed their terms of service:

  • Terry Irwin stepped down as head of the School of Design last fall, and Bruce Hanington was appointed to lead the school.
  • Steve Lee stepped down as head of the School of Architecture in the spring, and we welcomed Omar Khan to Carnegie Mellon as the new head.
  • Peter Cooke announced his retirement from Carnegie Mellon this summer. Megan Monaghan Rivas and Kyle Haden share interim leadership duties in Drama while the school undertakes an organizational assessment and searches for a new head.

Speaking of changes, this is the last issue of CFA Magazine in which you will hear from me, as I will step down as the dean of the College of Fine Arts at the end of this academic year (June 2021) after 11 years in this position.

I am unable to name everyone who helped make this last decade such a fulfilling experience and the pinnacle of my career; I would leave someone out and would regret it forever. There are, however, a number of people I must acknowledge:

  • Mark Kamlet, a strong advocate of CFA as provost, and someone who believed in my potential to serve the college well;
  • Jerry Cohon, Farnam Jahanian and Jim Garrett, all of whom also have understood what CFA means to Carnegie Mellon and have been so supportive;
  • The heads of school, associate deans, assistant deans and directors, whose committed leadership keep the college, its schools and its related units at the forefront of contemporary arts, design and architecture education, research and creative practice;
  • The resilient and ever-resourceful CFA staff and faculty who provide the quality education for which the college is known;
  • The absolutely exceptional students whose creativity and spirit continue to awe and inspire me; and
  • The CFA alumni who promote our schools within their professions and assist recent graduates with their transitions into professional careers.

There are two people who also must be noted for their long, unfailing service to and support of the college: associate deans Patti Pavlus and Eric Anderson, both of whom contribute greatly (often unnoticed and unacknowledged) to the success of the college, and they do so with grace, good humor, humility and remarkable insight.

The work done by this community of artists, scholars, researchers and administrators — sharing beauty, affecting social change, mapping the future, shaping cities and telling the stories that define and inform our lives — is making our world a better place. I consider myself blessed for having been able, in some small way, to support them.

Dan J. Martin

Stanley and Marcia Gumberg Dean
College of the Fine Arts