Events + Exhibitions

  • Anne Whiston Spirn and Amber Farrow

2021 Weitzman Commencement Webcast

Saturday, May 15, 2021 7:00pm
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Virtual Event: Weitzman on YouTube

Dean Steiner invites graduates, their guests, and friends of the School to join him, the department chairs and program directors, and guest speakers Anne Whiston Spirn (MLA‘74) and Amber Farrow (MArch‘21) in celebrating the Weitzman Class of 2021.

The webcast will be recorded for those who are unable to watch live, and students will receive a printed program commemorating their achievements by mail in June. For those without access to YouTube, the webcast will be streamed at the bottom of this page.

The webcast will include a preview of the Year End Show, an extensive online gallery featuring work by the Class of 2021 that goes live on May 15. (Because of COVID-19, the Department of Fine Arts is presenting work by the Class of 2020 as well.)

Webcast Program
Dean’s Message: Fritz Steiner
Keynotes: Anne Whiston Spirn (MLA‘74) and Amber Farrow (MArch‘21)
Faculty Greetings and Presentations of Degrees
Winka Dubbeldam: MArch 
Ali Rahim: MSD-AAD 
William Braham: MSD-EBD 
Robert Stuart-Smith: MSD-RAS
Lisa Servon: MCP
Ken Steif: MUSA
Ken Lum: MFA 
Frank Matero: MSHP
Richard Weller: MLA 
Eugenie Birch: PhD, City and Regional Planning
Daniel Barber: PhD, Architecture

About the Keynote Speakers
Anne Whiston Spirn
(MLA‘74) is an award-winning author, landscape architect, photographer, teacher, and scholar. Her work is devoted to promoting life-sustaining communities: places that are functional, sustainable, meaningful, artful, and just, places that help people feel and understand the relationship of the natural and built worlds. She is the Cecil and Ida Green Distinguished Professor of Landscape Architecture and Planning at MIT, where she teaches courses on ecological urbanism, landscape literacy, and photography as a form of inquiry. She is the author of four books: The Granite Garden; The Language of Landscape; Daring to Look and The Eye Is a Door. In the 1970s, Spirn worked as a landscape architect and planner in professional practice at Wallace McHarg Roberts and Todd (now WRT) in Philadelphia on projects ranging from plans for an entire region to a single city to designs for parks. Spirn was on the faculty of Harvard University from 1979 to 1986, then moved to Penn, where she succeeded Ian McHarg as chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning. Since 1987, Spirn has directed the West Philadelphia Landscape Project, an action research program integrating research, teaching and community service, which was cited as a Model of Best Practice at a 1999 White House summit for leading scholars and artists in public life. The Buried River: Restoring Nature, Rebuilding Community, Spirn’s book-in-progress, describes this research-in-action and its lessons for building safer, healthier, more beautiful, and more equitable communities. In 2001, she received the International Cosmos Prize for “contributions to the harmonious coexistence of nature and mankind.” In 2018, she won the National Design Award and the Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe Medal from the International Federation of Landscape Architects. In 2020, the American Society of Landscape Architects presented her with the ASLA Gold Medal.

Amber Farrow is a 2021 Master of Architecture candidate at the Weitzman School of Design. While at Penn, she founded the student club, Dinner Discourse, which fosters an interdisciplinary conversation between students over a shared meal, and since 2019, she has been the professional development and programming chair for the group Penn Women in Design, whose mission is to promote equity in the profession and encourage a more inclusive pedagogy in academia. Her work revolves around the intersection between science and design and she is particularly interested in boundaries, matter, and aesthetics. She is a co-editor of the forthcoming book, Bio/Matter/Techno/Synthetics: Design Futures for the More than Human, which collects important female voices who articulate alternative visions for the field of design in increasingly complex aesthetic, ethical, environmental, and socio-political contexts. Farrow received the 2020 Van Alen Traveling Fellowship, which is awarded annually to one architecture and one landscape architecture student at Weitzman; she was also awarded the 2018 Stanley G. Kennedy Architectural Award by the Institute of Bermuda Architects. She earned her Bachelor of Architecture degree from Newcastle University and she has worked at firms in Tokyo, New York, and Bermuda. 


If you require any accessibility accommodation, such as live captioning, audio description, or a sign language interpreter, please email to let us know what you need. Please note, we require at least 48 hours’ notice. If you register within 48 hours of this event, we won’t be able to secure the appropriate accommodations.