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PennDesign Teaching Awards
May 13, 2008, Volume 54, No. 33

G. Holmes Perkins Award for Distinguished Teaching


The School of Design has awarded the 2008 G. Holmes Perkins Award for Distinguished Teaching to Professor John Moore, the Monroe and Edna Gutman Professor of Fine Arts and chair of the fine arts department. Professor Moore is a representational painter whose work largely features urban landscapes. He has painted extensively in Philadelphia, Boston, Tel Aviv, and in the declining industrial cities of the northeast. His works are in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and dozens of other institutions. Throughout his career he has combined teaching with painting. He was chairman of painting, drawing and sculpture at Tyler School of Art, and has taught at the University of California, Berkeley, and Boston University, prior to coming to Penn. He has a painting studio on campus and is a constant presence and model for Penn’s community of young artists, providing critical feedback and encouragement. In his teaching, Professor Moore has “a unique way of focusing on the fundamental joy that a rigorous commitment to making art can bring. He is open-minded, sensitive and helpful to students at all levels and areas. Under his leadership, the Master of Fine Arts degree program has blossomed and grown in stature. As he prepares for retirement, the School is pleased to have this opportunity to acknowledge his contributions to the education of many generations of fine artists.”


Award for Teaching by Practitioners

This year, the G. Holmes Perkins Award for Distinguished Teaching by a member of the practitioner faculty is awarded to two instructors: Mr. Donovan Rypkema, lecturer of historic preservation, and Mr. David Gouverneur, lecturer of landscape architecture.


Mr. Rypkema teaches preservation economics in the historic preservation department and is principal of Place Economics, a Washington, DC-based real estate and economic development-consulting firm. As a practitioner in the field, Professor Rypkema’s firm works with both public and non-profit sector clients involved in neighborhood commercial district revitalization and the adaptive reuse of historic structures. Mr. Rypkema’s “depth of knowledge and wealth of experience in the field is imbued with a true passion for teaching that inspires every student fortunate enough to participate in his course. By showing a sincere interest in the career plans and future goals of his students, the beginnings of a true colleague relationship is fostered.” One student noted that “when I chose the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation as the place where I would pursue my master’s degree, I expected to learn from the best practitioners in the field and acquire the skills that would prepare me for a very competitive job market. Donavan Rypkema’s course has far exceeded my greatest expectations. His enthusiasm inspires his students and he has been instrumental in placing many in internships and jobs after graduation.”




Mr. David Gouverneur, lecturer of landscape architecture, teaches both foundation and elective studios and courses in landscape architecture. He is “an energetic, enthusiastic and inspiring teacher who is always generous with his time and caring with his manner.” He has held highly prominent professional roles, especially in Venezuela, where he was the national director of city planning in the ministry of urban development, and served as the director of the Mayor’s Institute on City Design in Latin America. He founded the urban design program at the Universidad Metropolitana in Caracas, was dean of the architecture school at the Simón Bolívar University, and maintained his own urban design consulting practice in Venezuela. Mr. Gouverneur was the advisor for the PennDesign winning and finalist teams in this year’s Urban Land Institute’s Hines Urban Design Competition. In the words of one student, “David gives his all to his students. He consistently transmits his limitless energy to students and the resulting products are not only “urbanistically” intellectual, but beautifully designed, rendered and socially responsible.”

Award for Teaching in Undergraduate Program


The Award for Distinguished Teaching in the Undergraduate Programs is awarded to Mr. Matt Neff, lecturer of fine arts. In addition to teaching printmaking, he is largely responsible for having transformed the Morgan Building print studio from a basement facility to an active student-centered lab and process center for new ideas in print and works on paper. Over the past two years, he has integrated the Common Press, the letterpress printing studio at Penn, with the rest of the printmaking facility. He has facilitated collaborative projects across the University, including those with the Kelly Writers House, the Rare Book & Manuscript Library and the School of Design. Mr. Neff not only teaches his students how to screen print, etch, and letterpress; he also teaches them how to become better, more successful artists and how to enjoy all forms of art. One student noted that his “I’ll help you with whatever you want to do” attitude makes his classes an outlet for experimentation. His involvement with various projects, including the Common Press, Folio, and Philagraphika, has done a great deal to make the printmaking lab a presence on campus and in the printmaking community nationally, all the while incorporating the students.


These awards, named in honor of G. Holmes Perkins, dean of the school from 1951-71, are given in recognition of distinguished teaching and innovation in the methods of instruction in the classroom, seminar, or studio. The Perkins Award was established in 1993 by former Dean and Paley Professor Patricia Conway. The undergraduate award was established by the School. The teachers will be acknowledged at the PennDesign’s award ceremony on May 18.

Almanac - May 13, 2008, Volume 54, No. 33