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Honoring Mary Epstein

November 29, 2012 — The cornerstones of the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design are the professors, staff, and mentors who have worked so hard to make the college a creative, caring learning environment through the years. Mary Epstein, who graduated from the College of Home Economics' Interior Design Program in 1946 and subsequently headed Drexel’s Department of Design from 1966 to 1980, is the very model of such a teacher who inspired hundreds of students making a profound impact on their careers and lives.

At Drexel University for 31 years, Mary served as a Professor of Interior Design, Head of the Department of Art, Applied Art and Textiles and Clothing; Assistant Professor of Applied Art, and Director of the Home Management House. She was a member of the Interior Design Educator’s Council and the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). After retiring in 1980, she returned to freelance interior designing. Mrs. Epstein received the 1989 Education Award from the Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter of ASID and was presented with an achievement award during Drexel’s Centennial celebration in June 1991. In 1996 she received the Gallimore Memorial Award from the Interior Design Council of Philadelphia for establishing the first FIDER accredited Interior Design Program in the Philadelphia region. In 1998, she joined her daughter’s firm in Great Falls, Virginia and she retired in 2010.

A group of Mary's former students, led by Floss Barber, Ellen Hamilton, and Kristen Norris, chose to honor Mary's extraordinary influence and legacy by dedicating a space to her in Westphal's new URBN Center building. Thanks to a lead gift, an Interior Design classroom and lounge have been named in Mary's honor. Plans are to mirror Mary's timeless elegance and style, with the lounge and classroom to be designed by current Westphal students, giving them an opportunity to combine a school project with a wonderful philanthropic initiative. Three groups of students will develop designs and Mary herself will choose the winning design. Professor Epstein will be on campus on December 6th at 2:30 PM for the dedication of the Mary Epstein classroom and lounge. Please come by and take a look at the new space and to thank Mary for her extraordinary contributions to Westphal.

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