Quickly, Carnegie Mellon’s CFA became one of the nation’s – and the world’s – leaders in architecture, art, design, drama and music. This is the college that brought the world Andy Warhol; “Wicked” and “PIPPIN” composer Stephen Schwartz; stage and screen stars Ted Danson, Megan Hilty, Christian Borle, Judith Light, Cherry Jones and Zachary Quinto; renowned architects Oscar Harris and Roger Duffy; Boston Pops Conductor Keith Lockhart; pianist/composer Ricky Ian Gordon; award-winning soprano Lisa Vroman; and countless others.

Well into its second century of existence, CFA continues to set the standards for excellence in professional education within a top-tier research university setting. Each day, CFA brings a special energy to Carnegie Mellon, the region, the nation and the world with objects and performances of beauty and power. The entire university takes great pride in the creative contributions of its students, faculty, staff and graduates to the arts and design in America and around the world.

Notable events in CFA’s history:

  • 1906: The School of Applied Design is founded; The Department of Architecture is established.
  • 1907: Two years after offering only architecture courses, the School of Applied Design expands to include applied design and interior decoration; Henry McGoodwin appointed Acting Dean (serving until 1911).
  • 1911: The Department of Painting and Illustration is established; Henry Hornbostel appointed Dean (serving until 1915).
  • 1912: The Department of Music is established; The cornerstone is laid for the Applied Design building (now the College of Fine Arts building); The first Beaux Arts Ball takes place.
  • 1914: The Department of Drama is established.
  • 1915: The Department of Sculpture is founded; Edward Raymond Bossange appointed Dean (serving until 1923).
  • 1916: Upon completion of the Applied Design building, only one of its planned five niches – the Renaissance – was fully carved.
  • 1918: The School of Applied Design is renamed the Division of the Arts.
  • 1921: The Division of the Arts is renamed the College of Fine Arts.
  • 1923: Henry McGoodwin appointed Chairman of the CFA Faculty (serving until 1925).
  • 1925: Programs in ceramics, printmaking and metal crafts are absorbed by the Department of Painting and Illustration; Glendenning Keeble appointed Chairman of CFA Faculty (serving until 1944).
  • 1933: The Department of Painting and Illustration is renamed the Department of Painting and Design.
  • 1934: Department of Painting and Design incorporates industrial design.
  • 1935: The Department of Music begins offering a master’s degree in music education.
  • 1936: The world’s first undergraduate degrees in industrial design are awarded to three women and two men.
  • 1944: The Department of Painting and Design is renamed the Department of Pictorial Design; Wilfred Readio appointed Acting Chairman of CFA Faculty (serving one year).
  • 1945: Drama and Engineering students team up to create a student-run radio station, WCIT. Three years earlier, drama faculty began offering courses in radio acting and presentation; B. Kenneth Johnstone appointed Director/Dean (serving until 1952).
  • 1947: The Department of Music begins to offer a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in music composition.
  • 1949: The Interior Decoration Program is discontinued.
  • 1954: Norman Lewis Rice appointed Dean (serving until 1971).
  • 1957: Department of Painting and Design renamed Department of Painting, Design, and Sculpture.
  • 1960: The Department of Graphic Arts is established with the College of Fine Arts, as the Printing Management Program is phased out; The Studio Theater is built.
  • 1961: The Department of Architecture initiates a graduate program in Urban and Regional Design.
  • 1964: The College of Fine Arts embarks on Project Fine Arts, an initiative to improve arts education in Pittsburgh’s public schools.
  • 1967: Department of Painting, Design, and Sculpture renamed Department of Painting and Sculpture; Programs in graphic arts and industrial design are organized into a unified Department of Design.
  • 1971: Akram Midani appointed Dean (serving until 1989).
  • 1972: Department of Painting and Sculpture renamed Department of Art.
  • 1983: The School of Architecture organizes its first computer-aided design studio.
  • 1985: The Center for Art and Technology is founded.
  • 1987: Work begins on carving the remaining niches in the CFA building (completed in 1995).
  • 1988: Following years of unchecked revelry – and tens of thousands of dollars in damage to the College of Fine Arts building – the Beaux Arts Ball comes under close scrutiny.
  • 1989: The College of Fine Arts and Heinz College collaborate on establishing the Master of Arts Management Program; The Center for Art and Technology is renamed the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry; Lowry Burgess appointed Dean (serving until 1993).
  • 1993: Undergraduate degree options are expanded to include the Bachelor of Humanities and the Arts (BHA), the first of several intercollege degrees within what is now called the BXA Intercollege Degree Programs.
  • 1994: The Department of Design introduces two new master’s programs: Interaction Design and Communications Planning and Design.  The latter is offered jointly with the Department of English; Martin Prekop appointed Dean (serving until 2005).
  • 1996: The five departments within the College of Fine Arts are formally designated as “schools.”
  • 1997: The Jill Watson Festival Across the Arts (wats:ON?) was created to honor the life of Jill Watson, whose interest in the arts inspired others through her work and her teaching.
  • 1998: The School of Drama and School of Computer Science collaborate to create the Entertainment Technology Center.
  • 2000: The Purnell Center for the Arts opens. The facility includes the Philip Chosky Theatre, Richard Rauh Theatre, John Wells Video Studio and the Regina Gouger Miller Gallery; The Center for the Arts in Society, a collaborative effort of scholars and artists affiliated with the College of Fine Arts and the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, is founded.
  • 2005: The College of Fine Arts and Heinz College collaborate on a second graduate degree: the Master of Entertainment Industry Management; Hilary Robinson appointed Dean (serving until 2010).
  • 2010: Dan J. Martin appointed Dean (currently serving).
  • 2012: In recognition of significant support from alumni Ed Frank and Sarah Ratchye, the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry is renamed the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry.
  • 2013: The College of Fine Arts is a core campus partner in establishing IDEATE, an undergraduate opportunity for students to undertake significant integrative activities in the areas of digital media, media design, learning media and intelligent environments; Carnegie Mellon, with the generous support of the David Steiner (CIT alumnus) and the City of New York, secures classroom, studio and research space at Steiner Studios in Brooklyn for the establishment of the Steiner Integrated Media (SIM) Center. The SIM Center will host graduate initiatives in Arts/Technology and other related efforts.