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10-03-19-dean-frederick-fritz-steiner-weitzman-school-of-design-naming-ceremony-kylie-cooper
Dean Frederick "Fritz" Steiner speaking during the Stuart Weitzman School of Design naming ceremony on Oct. 3, 2019. Credit: Kylie Cooper

Frederick “Fritz” Steiner, the current dean of the Stuart Weitzman School of Design, has extended his contract as dean through June 30, 2025 — two years longer than initially planned. 

Penn President Amy Gutmann and Interim Provost Beth A. Winkelstein announced the extension of Steiner’s contact on Oct. 18 in Penn Today.

“We are confident that, with Dean Steiner’s continued leadership, the Weitzman School of Design will maintain its historic and abiding commitment to creating positive change in Philadelphia and around our nation and the world,” Winkelstein told Penn Today.

Steiner began his tenure as dean on July 1, 2016. During his time as dean, the School of Design has seen many changes and expansions to its programming.

In 2019, the school — formerly known as PennDesign — was renamed in honor of fashion designer and 1963 Wharton alumnus Stuart Weitzman. Weitzman’s donation to the school had alleviated financial burden and allowed for investments in academic programs and physical remodels, according to the Daily Pennsylvanian.

The donation also allowed the school to increase its financial aid. Under Steiner, several new scholarships were introduced, including the Moelis Scholars Program, the Witte-Sakamoto Prize in City and Regional Planning, and the Julian Abele Fellowship in Architecture.

Some other changes include a new Advanced Research & Innovation robotics laboratory, relocated Center for Architectural Conservation, updated Integrated Product Design program, and new studio spaces for architecture and city planning students, according to Penn Today.

Steiner’s background includes two master's degrees and a doctorate in city and regional planning from Penn’s School of Design. Before becoming a dean at Penn, he was the dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin. Steiner has taught at the University of Colorado at Denver, Washington State University, Arizona State University, and Tsinghua University in Beijing.

Gutmann and Winkelstein emphasized Steiner’s leadership and accomplishments as the reason behind extending his term as Weitzman’s dean, according to Penn Today. 

“The years to come will present both opportunities and challenges, and we are confident that Dean Steiner is the right person to lead the Weitzman School community in responding to them,” Winkelstein told Penn Today.

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