Betty Cooke is a 1946 graduate of Maryland Institute College of Art. Her jewelry—pure, precise, and sculptural—has a unique place in the history of modern design. William O. Steinmetz, Class of 1950, was an artist, designer, and entrepreneur as well as a MICA faculty member and trustee. Betty and Bill were married for over 60 years; they contributed immeasurably to the life of Baltimore and MICA. The Betty Cooke and William O. Steinmetz Design Chair, established by Betty Cooke in 2020, extends Betty and Bill’s remarkable creative and philanthropic legacy by celebrating design; commemorating an artful life of design; and raising MICA’s global reputation as a leading art and design college, with proud roots in Baltimore.
The Inaugural Betty Cooke and William O. Steinmetz Chair in Design will be Ellen Lupton, Professor in the Graphic Design MFA program. Lupton joined MICA’s faculty in 1997 as chair of the undergraduate graphic design department. In 2004, she founded the Graphic Design MFA program, with Jennifer Cole Phillips.
"It is an honor to serve MICA encircled by the shining light created by Betty and Bill. These supremely talented designers and artists have given so much to MICA and to the world," says Lupton.
Lupton is a sought-after speaker, presenting her research to students, scholars, and practitioners at universities and conferences worldwide. She has published numerous books about design practice, many of them in collaboration with MICA students and faculty, including D.I.Y.: Design It Yourself (2008), Indie Publishing (2010), Graphic Design Thinking: Beyond Brainstorming (2010), and Graphic Design: The New Basics (2015, with Jennifer Cole Phillips). Lupton also serves as Senior Curator of Contemporary Design at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City, a position she has held since 1992. Recent projects with Cooper Hewitt include Herbert Bayer: Bauhaus Master (2019–20), Face Values: Understanding Artificial Intelligence (2019–20), The Senses: Design Beyond Vision (2018), Beauty—National Design Triennial (2016), How Posters Work (2015), Beautiful Users (2014), and Graphic Design—Now in Production (2014). Lupton holds a BFA from The Cooper Union (1985) and a Doctorate in Communication Design from the University of Baltimore (2008). Lupton received the AIGA Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement in 2007, the highest honor given to a graphic designer or design educator in the U.S. In 2019, she became a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.