Mary Colleen Heil named President Emeritus for her 25 years of dedication to PCA&D

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Friday, May 4th, 2018

Mary Colleen Heil names President EmeritusRobert Brandt, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Pennsylvania College of Art & Design announced today at the at the 36th Commencement of Pennsylvania College of Art & Design held today, May 4, that the Board unanimously appointed retiring PCA&D President May Colleen Heil as President Emeritus, for her outstanding and distinguished service going beyond the normal duties and responsibilities of the appointment, and which has had  an extraordinary impact on the College and the Lancaster community. President Heil will be retiring in June after 25 years of dedicated service to  PCA&D and the Lancaster Community.

In her honor, the Board of Trustees named a special award, the Mary Colleen Heil Vanguard Award, to be given to a graduating students showing leadership, work ethic and ability. The 2018 Mary Colleen Heil Vanguard Award was presented by Brandt to Austin Lord, Mechanicsburg, PA, an Illustration major graduating Cum Laude.

46 PCA&D students received their Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in one of five majors: illustration, graphic design, fine arts, digital media, and photography, during the May 4th commencement ceremonies, held at the DoubleTree Resort, 2400 Willow Street Pike, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 17602. More about Commencement

In addition during the ceremony, Robert L Pfannebecker, a Lancaster attorney whose collection of American arts & crafts is nationally recognized, received an honorary degree, Doctor of Fine Arts honoris causa..  Pfannebecker is an attorney with the Lancaster law firm of  Zimmerman, Pfannebecker, Nuffort & Albert, LLP.  He is also the Solicitor for the City of Lancaster and has been involved with government since the 1960s.  Early in his legal career, he represented Lancasterians who wished to desegregate several of Lancaster County’s swimming pools. Pfannebecker is Honorary Fellow of the American Crafts Council, has served on the board of the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, and is a Member of the External Advisory Committee of the International Museum of Ceramic Art at Alfred University.  His collection has been exhibited at Moore College of Art, Delaware Center for Contemporary Arts and Cranbrook School of Art.  He has served widely as a lecturer, juror and panelist.  An interview conducted by famed gallerist Helen Drutt English is in the Archives of American Art of the Smithsonian. Pfannebecker served as a member of the board of Pennsylvania School of the Arts (now PCA&D) from 1984-87.

The Commencement speaker was Kaitie Trout, who graduated from the Pennsylvania College of Art & Design in 2014. After graduation Trout moved to New York City to attend the MFA Design: The Designer as Author & Entrepreneur program at the School of Visual Arts where she created and pitched a design-driven venture.  Shortly after earning her Master’s degree in Design Trout, became a designer at Snapchat on the Sponsored Ad Product side where she created holistic campaigns for clients like Hollister, Maltesers, Heineken, Champions League, Under Armour and many others looking to utilize Snapchat’s unique ad platform. She also led the design for Sponsored Ad Products for the 2018 Winter Olympics on Snapchat and was responsible for creating the narrative used to pitch the Olympics Package on Snapchat to advertisers.  Trout now works as a Senior Designer at Ceros, a technology company which created a platform that gives designers and marketers the power to create, publish and analyze stunning interactive content for the web without writing a single line of code. Additionally, she is the New York City Brand Lead and Ambassador for all-natural sweetener company, The Base, which has a presence at Smorgasburg in NYC and Los Angeles and debuted at Coachella this year.

Heil joined PCA&D as President in 1993 and has led the college through its development to an accredited College offering BFA degrees, and has overseen the College’s growth and increased presence in the region.  Through her leadership, the College grew from a little-known ten-year old diploma-granting art school to a nationally known 4-year professional art college.

In recent years, the College has launched new branding, a new digital media degree, and dedicated student housing. This work, along with PCA&D’s investments in technology, facilities and its educational philosophy, Communication as Currency, has boosted its enrollment 22% over the last three years. Student placement in work and graduate school averages 95%.

Heil has put into place a rigorous system of strategic planning and fiscal discipline with excellent ratios and a low tuition discounting rate. She has expanded PCA&D’s presence in Lancaster, as well, including the acquisition of the Art Garden at Prince and Chestnut Streets. She also developed the College’s identity, hosting important exhibitions and lectures by major artists and designers, including Jerry Pinkney, Gail Anderson, Seymour Chwast, Toyin Odutola and Laylah Ali. Many of these artists were part of The Mosaic Project, a multicultural exhibition and education program for students and families in Lancaster County.  PCA&D’s Senior Show & Celebration is the largest visual arts event in the City. The College’s Continuing Education program has also grown during Heil’s tenure and provides a solid professional development platform for Lancaster’s creative workforce.

Heil is a member of the Board of Directors of National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD), the national organization dedicated to improve educational practices and maintain high professional standards in art and design education. She previously served at her alma mater, Moore College of Art & Design, Philadelphia, and at Corcoran School of Art, Washington, D.C., and the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York.

Among various professional affiliations, she has served as Visiting Evaluator and Team Chair for NASAD and  locally has served on boards for the initial Lancaster City Public Arts Advisory Board (PAAB), Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences, LancasterArts, United Way of Lancaster County, and the James Street Investment District. She has served as a member of Lancaster General Health’s Audit and Compliance Committee, as a judge for numerous art exhibitions and competitions, and as a Fancy Brigade costume judge for the Philadelphia Mummers Parade.