The Dean's Letter

January 11, 2021

A Significant Milestone for AAP

Dear AAP community,

It is my pleasure to announce a significant milestone for AAP. The Gensler family, as Cornellians with a longstanding commitment to the college, have made a $10 million gift to the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning. Theirs is the largest endowed gift in the college’s history. We are grateful and honored that the family entrusts AAP with this landmark contribution and the legacy it entails.

The Gensler family’s gift to name and endow the Gensler Family AAP NYC Center ensures that our New York City–based offerings and opportunities remain an essential and increasingly complementary component of the AAP experience. Their contribution of $9 million for the endowment and $1 million for current use distributed over the next five years supports operating costs such as programming and personnel, including the Gensler Sesquicentennial Executive Director for AAP NYC. 

Art Gensler, a prolific architect and visionary leader in the architecture discipline today, attended AAP for five years, earning his B.Arch. in 1958. In his nearly 65-year career, Art has impacted the profession at every scale—from people and communities to cities and society. In 1965, he founded Gensler in San Francisco, a firm that now operates in 50 cities and 16 countries with over 5000 teammates. A proponent of advancement and adaptation, Art’s keen sense of how the forward movement of the discipline depends on the education of young architects, planners, and artists has been key to expanding the experiences we offer our students.

When Art graduated in 1958, he could not have known the wide-reaching effect he would have on the discipline—probably even less the impact his endlessly open, inclusive vision would have on the college. The AAP NYC program is the result of a shared vision between Art and then Dean Mohsen Mostafavi. In 2006, they laid the foundation for a pilot program in New York City (now AAPNYC) where students would add direct experience and professional practice opportunities to AAP’s traditional programming in Ithaca. Today, approximately 120 students from across the college study in New York City each year—a figure that continues to grow with the participation of parallel disciplines such as landscape architecture and those at Cornell Tech.

For years, the Gensler family has supported the college, growing AAP NYC under the tenure of former Dean Kent Kleinman, and securing as well as donating the design of the studios located at 26 Broadway. To this day—15 years after his plans for the program were set into motion—Art and his family remain wholly dedicated to AAP, seeing that this critical program is now supported in perpetuity. Well beyond the AAP NYC program, Art Gensler has given generously to the college, endowing the Gensler Visiting Critic, the Gensler Visiting Lecturer of Professional Practice, the Gensler Scholarship for undergraduate architecture students, and AAP’s annual fund. I encourage you to read more about Art and his family’s most recent and unparalleled endowment in the Cornell Chronicle.

At the start of a new year, it is with excitement and optimism that I share news of a gift that will only strengthen the college’s commitment to engagement with the urban built environment. The Gensler family’s generosity and support promise to ground the education of the next generation of architects, artists, and planners in experiences that enable them to make a deep and lasting impact on our communities, cities, and the world.



J. Meejin Yoon
Gale and Ira Drukier Dean of Architecture, Art, and Planning


Contact Office of the Dean

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Phone: (607) 255-9110
Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

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"Knowledge at its best"

January 22, 2024

Sharing Gratitude

December 14, 2023

Hope for the Possible

August 21, 2023
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