Congratulations to Martin Prekop on his Retirement!
From the Purnell Center for the Arts to the Kraus Campo, the influence of Martin Prekop’s 25 years of service to Carnegie Mellon University is evident across campus. Martin came to CMU in 1993 from the Art Institute of Chicago and served as Dean of the College of Fine Arts for 12 years before holding the position of Professor of Art. This year, he retired.
During his time as Dean of the College of Fine Arts, Martin modernized the College’s facilities and pushed artistic education forward into the 21st century. For more than 50 years, the College had dreamed of theater facilities that matched the School of Drama’s world-class education. With the construction of the Purnell Center for the Arts in 1999, Martin helped to finally realize that dream, ensuring the School of Drama had the resources to remain a top-rated program for many years to come.
The construction of the Purnell Center for the Arts and a generous gift from Regina Gouger Miller also allowed the University to establish the Miller Gallery. This gallery finally provided an appropriate venue for thesis exhibitions by art, architecture, and design students. In addition, the Miller Gallery’s ambitious exhibition program continues to bring groundbreaking artwork from around the world to campus, sparking cultural and intellectual curiosity in students across the University.
Martin brought art to other parts of the campus too. The Kraus Campos, designed by alumnus Mel Bochner and landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh, was built during Martin’s tenure as Dean and quickly became one of our campus’ most iconic features. He also facilitated adding permanent installations by professors Carol Kumata and Joe Mannino to the exteriors of the Purnell Center and the University Center.
With the relocation of the School of Drama, Martin oversaw major renovation in the College of Fine Arts building, allowing for much-need expansion for the College’s other four schools. These changes included a significant upgrade to Alumni Concert Hall and the transformation of the A-level of the building. Never afraid to tackle problems himself, Martin established the Zebra Lounge and even built and painted all its original furniture!
Under Martin’s academic leadership, CFA’s five departments transitioned to schools, allowing for greater autonomy and opportunity. He also established and expanded the CFA Photography program, completely renovating the photography facilities in Margaret Morrison Carnegie Hall and offering courses to students across the university.
In equal measure, Martin made a lasting impact on the culture of the College of Fine Arts. Always generous, Martin is well known as a consummate host, both at University events and at his unique home. His home, covered with mirrors and fitted with custom furniture and artwork, also provides endless source material for Martin’s innovative photography.
As a professor, Martin is highly regarded for his technical skill and breadth of knowledge in photography and painting and his incisive critique mixed with wit and humor. He is an accomplished artist whose works can be found in the permanent collections of the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Seattle Art Museum, among others.
During his 25 years at Carnegie Mellon University, Martin has left a profound impact on the University, always making sure that the arts were respected and honored as part of the University’s mission and priorities. Please join us in congratulating him on his retirement!