Penn School of Design Receives $2.5 Million for Faculty and Program Support in Fine Arts

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Media Contact:Megan Schmidgal | | 215-898-2539 October 10, 2011

PHILADELPHIA -- The University of Pennsylvania announced today a $2.5 million gift for faculty and program support in its School of Design from alumni Keith L. Sachs and his wife, Katherine Stein Sachs.  The gift will enable the School to increase the impact of the visual arts across the University and throughout the arts community, as well as encourage collaborative interaction among departments and centers at Penn.

“Keith and Kathy Sachs have chosen to support two of the highest priorities for Penn Design –- faculty support and programming –- in a critically important department, Fine Arts, and we are grateful for their generosity,” Penn President Amy Gutmann said.  “Their gift highlights the importance of integration across the University, strengthening ties across schools and raising the visibility of the visual arts. It is especially fitting that they have done so in a way that highlights the importance of interdisciplinary scholarship, which is one of Penn’s unique strengths.”

The Sachs gift will create a visiting professorship in the fine arts and will fund fine arts programming across the University.

The Keith L. and Katherine S. Sachs Endowed Visiting Professorship in the Fine Arts will strengthen ties between the School of Design, the Department of the History of Art, in the School of Arts and Sciences, and the Institute of Contemporary Art. The rotating professorship will be held by well-respected practicing artists who will draw on the many fields of the University to facilitate collective study in the visual arts.

The Keith L. and Katherine S. Sachs Fine Arts Program Fund will help attract excellent visiting faculty by enhancing the resources available to develop innovative programming which will be appealing to a wide audience.  It will provide incentive to collaborate with Design, the Department of the History of Art and the ICA and to raise the profile of visual arts.

“We were happy to support the School of Design in expanding the impact of fine arts through world-class faculty and interdisciplinary collaboration so that students from many fields of study may benefit from exposure to the fine arts,” Keith Sachs said.

“Furthermore, we saw it as being important to assure that the School of Design can serve as an incubator for fine arts collaboration in the region and that they were able to continue to attract world-class faculty.”

As avid supporters of the fine arts at the University, the Sachses previously established the Sachs Professorship in Contemporary Art in the Department of the History of Art and the Sachs Guest Curator Program at the ICA.  This new gift to Penn Design of a visiting professorship in the fine arts and funding for fine arts programming supports their philanthropic vision to make arts more accessible across the University and throughout the region.

“This gift will greatly contribute to expanding the scope and impact of fine arts across the Penn campus, enhance the value of a Penn fine arts education, introduce a generation of students in other disciplines to the fine arts and strengthen interdisciplinary partnerships across University departments,” Dean Marilyn Jordan Taylor of Penn Design, said.

Keith Sachs is CEO of Saxco International LLC, a principal distributor of packaging material to the producers of alcoholic beverages in North America.  At Penn, he serves as chairman of the School of Design Board of Overseers.

Katherine Stein Sachs is a member of the University Board of Trustees and the ICA Board of Overseers.

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