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John E. Irving family donation kickstarts the Harvard Graduate School of Design campaign


December 29, 2013
by Canadian Architect

The Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) recently announced that John K.F. Irving  ’83, M.B.A. ’89, and Anne Irving Oxley have donated $10 million to the School in honour of their father, John E. (Jack) Irving.

This leadership gift will kickstart the Graduate School of Design’s campaign efforts with support for Dean Mohsen Mostafavi’s vision for the School by deepening and broadening the faculty’s intellectual reach, lowering the barriers of cost to its students, and responding to an evolving design pedagogy to bolster transdisciplinary scholarship and an ambitious research agenda. The John E. Irving family gift will enhance the School’s leadership position in 21st-century design.

For the Irvings—longtime champions of the School who endowed a professorship in landscape architecture in 2008 to honour their father—the gift builds on a tradition of giving, reinforcing their commitment to the GSD and honouring the family’s dedication to both the built and natural environments.

John K.F. Irving, who plays an active role in the life of both the School and the University, reflects upon the family’s intentions: “This gift is not about promoting a single program—this gift is about the future of the School in a world facing increasingly complex challenges. We believe in the leadership of the Dean, the unmatched teaching and groundbreaking research of GSD faculty, and the capacity of the student body to make a real impact. Our gift supports this amazing place. It’s a gift to sustain the School’s pre-eminence.”

Carefully designed to provide both immediate impact and sustaining support, the John E. Irving family gift is spread across a broad spectrum of activities within the School, representing both endowed and current-use funds. The endowed portion includes three funds: the John E. (Jack) Irving Fellowships, bringing the very best students to the GSD with a preference for applicants from the Irvings’ home country of Canada; the John E. (Jack) Irving Dean’s Innovation Fund, to build a cornerstone for the future by improving research funds for junior faculty, providing seed funding for University-wide collaborations, and supporting other new initiatives that the Dean considers to be central to the School’s mission; and the John E. (Jack) Irving Professorship in Landscape Architecture Faculty Support Fund to provide discretionary funds to support cutting-edge research on landscape architecture’s relationship with contemporary urbanism.

John K.F. Irving is president of Ocean Capital Investments, a holding company for the family’s businesses in real estate, construction, energy, and others areas, based in Saint John, New Brunswick. He is currently co-chair of the GSD Campaign Committee, while holding seats on both the University Campaign Planning Committee, and the Committee on University Resources. From 2009 to 2012, he sat on the Dean’s Advisory Council at the GSD.

Anne Irving Oxley, who studied in the School’s summer Career Discovery Program before embarking on her design education, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toronto ’93 and a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Guelph (Ontario) ’98. She is the director at Ocean Capital Investments in New Brunswick and shares her father’s passion for landscape and the environment.

To learn more about the gift and the programs it will support, please visit www.gsd.harvard.edu/#/news/john-e-irving-family-donation-kick-starts-harvard-gsd-campaign.html.


harvard GSD announcement
harvard GSD announcement


Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect is a magazine for architects and related professionals practicing in Canada. Canada's only monthly design publication, Canadian Architect has been in continuous publication since 1955.
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