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Interior Design Department Recognized for Contributions to Profession

Thursday, September 27, 2012
Marymount’s Interior Design Department has received the 2012 Potomac Award from the Washington Metropolitan Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). This is the first time that a university has received the prestigious award, which recognizes an individual or institution that has made creative and intellectual contributions to the local society. Marymount is in distinguished company Past recipients of the Potomac Award include The National Trust for Historic Preservation, the US Green Building Council (USGBC), the National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum, and Habitat for Humanity International.
 
Dr. Bob Meden, chair of the University’s Interior Design (ID) Department, which was established in 1979, points out, “Marymount has the longest running interior design program in the region. This award is really a recognition of our alumni’s accomplishments. They are now more than 800 strong, have garnered numerous awards, and many have served as officers and in other capacities with the DC chapter of ASID.”

With expertise in areas from lighting and designing for commercial spaces to historic preservation and sustainable design, Marymount’s ID faculty have consistently been leaders in the field. Professor Jean Freeman was already focusing on sustainable design in the 1990s and has ensured that sustainability is a consideration across the ID curriculum. She also teaches the Principles of Sustainable Design course. Professor Freeman points out, “We practice what we preach. Our ID studios, for example, are sustainably designed.”

Marymount offers a B.A. in Interior Design, with classes on the Main Campus or at the Reston Center, and an M.A. in Interior Design, with two tracks: post-professional and first-professional. The Council for Interior Design (CIDA) accredits the B.A. and M.A. first-professional track programs (CIDA doesn’t accredit post-professional programs).

Television shows like HGTV’s Design Star have raised awareness about the profession, but Professor Bridget May worries that they blur the line between interior design and decorating. “They’re a hindrance to professionalization,” she explains. “These shows do a big reveal to clients, but we work closely with our clients throughout the process. And, a lot of research goes into optimal use of space for function.” Looking ahead, she sees evidence-based design becoming standard practice.

From home design to commercial design for spaces as diverse as hotels, airports, and hospitals – interior design impacts our daily lives even if we are not always aware of its influence.

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About Marymount’s Interior Design Department Faculty
Both Dr. Bridget May and Jean Freeman, professors of Interior Design, are fellow of the Interior Design Educators Council (IDEC) – the highest honor given by the international organization. Professor Freeman served on the IDEC Board of Directors for seven years and is a past president. She was also on the Board of Directors for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ), serving as secretary and writing the organization’s Code of Ethics. Dr. May also received the Educator medalist award from the local ASID chapter and is coauthor of several books on the history of architecture and interior design that each received the Polsky Prize from ASID. Dr. Meden has received the ASID Scalamandre Historic Preservation Award, two ASID Dora Brahms Awards, and two Charles E. Peterson Prize selections. He was also chair of ASID’s national Historic Preservation Committee and served two terms as the national Treasurer for IDEC and IDEC’s Foundation. Robin Wagner, associate professor, received the 2007 NCIDQ Louis Trege Award for her work in promoting NCIDQ's mission and was the co-recipient of the 2009 USADesign In-house Design Award for Environmental Graphic Design. Thea Scott-Fundling, associate professor, is a LEED Accredited Professional for Commercial Interiors, and Doug Seidler, assistant professor, is a LEED Accredited Professional for New Construction and Existing Buildings. Seidler serves on the IDEC Board of Directors and is author of Digital Drawing for Designers: A Visual Guide to AutoCAD and coauthor of Hand Drawing for Designs.