Historic Preservation

Posted May 20, 2020

A Letter to the 2020 Class

Dear Historic Preservation Graduates of the Class of 2020,

If there ever was a moment when the preservation profession has something to contribute to the current state of the world, it is now.  In addition to the tragedy of lives lost, environmental degradation, loss of human rights, the destruction of cultural heritage, and an economic free fall will define this time for years to come. Conservation and preservation have always been about repair, whether it is ecological restoration, building rehabilitation, or urban regeneration. Repair and reparation are an old response to that which is damaged, broken and dysfunctional, yet the global nature of today’s challenges is unprecedented.

Each discipline and profession in the School has an obligation and opportunity to confront these challenges through thoughtful reflection and decisive action.  Sustainability, human equality, and social justice are all necessary solutions to what ails us as a society.

2020 will forever be remembered as the Pandemic Year but it is my hope that you, the graduating class of 2020, will be remembered instead as the emerging professionals who went on to repair a broken world. Your successful response to the challenges you have confronted this semester will define you individually and collectively in the years to come.  We are confident that you have the knowledge, skills and potential to contribute to the positive change that must now come.

The next year will be difficult for everyone, especially those re-entering the professional world.  With that in mind, we will be bringing together a group of Preservation alums to help you transition through a series of career workshops to be announced soon in the coming month.   As your faculty, we wish we could be with you personally to help celebrate this commencement.  Instead we hope the tangible joys of a book that celebrates preservation and Philadelphia, your home for the last two years, will remind you of your accomplishments now and in the years to come.

Good luck, good health, and do good work.

Frank Matero
Professor of Architecture and Historic Preservation and
Chair, Graduate Program in Historic Preservation

and the Historic Preservation Faculty & Staff
Francesca Russello Ammon, Micah Dornfeld, Andrew Fearon, David Fixler, Kecia Fong, Pamela Hawkes, Michael C. Henry, John Hinchman, Laura Keim, Courtney Magill, Melissa Meighan, Randall Mason, Cassie Myers, Anne Nelson, Eduardo Rojas, Donovan Rypkema and Aaron Wunsch