Friends, Architects… Lend Me Your Ears!

THE SPQR FELLOWSHIP FOR TRAVEL AND STUDY IN ROME is offered to students enrolled in the Architecture program at the University of Minnesota.  The obligations of fellowship are: a two week minimum stay in Rome, proof of entry to the Mamertine Prison, two drawings of the Pantheon (interior and exterior), 10 blog or Instagram posts, and actively promoting the next year’s fellowship. The 2018 six week summer program Study and Intern in Rome is under development.

The SPQR Fellowship is funded by past fellows and their supporters with donations to the University of Minnesota College of Design.

Milo ThompsonThe Architecture Department at the University of Minnesota has a long history of students studying in Rome during the last quarter of their penultimate year. (See footnotes*) This was a terrific opportunity for those who could afford it, usually less than half the class. The SPQR Prize was founded in 1985 to support those students who might not be in a position to travel with their classmates. Kenneth Smith (class of 1968) initiated this with matching funds  from Time Inc. and contributions from Ronald Benson (class of 1969). Professor Milo Thompson (left, class of 1962) oversaw the Prize and selecting the winner. Fourteen students (see below) received the Prize before it was discontinued in 1995.

In the Spring of 2010, Joseph Lambert and David Arkin proposed that the Prize be revived and contacted Kenneth Smith. The goal would be to make it a self-perpetuating scholarship supported by the past winners. Thus, the SPQR Prize became the SPQR Fellowship. Past winners were contacted and a support campaign in the fall of 2010 resulted in raising enough funds to begin again. Renee Cheng (left), then Head of the School of Architecture oversaw the selection process and Kelly Maritnez was the first “fellow.” See SPQR 2011 for more information about Kelly. David and Jenna Johansson were the SPQR 2012 Fellows.

In the 2012, the college initiated the University of Minnesota Rome – Istanbul Study Abroad program headed by Ozayr Saloogee (left). This program was a terrific fit with the SPQR Fellowship. Students studied four weeks in Rome (February) before going to Istanbul for eight weeks. During those four weeks in Rome, the students had access to local architects and lecturers as well as weekend trips to Florence and other Italian cities. Satavee Kijsanayotin was the SPQR 2013 Fellow. Ben Dose in SPQR 2014. Yun Koo in SPQR 2015. Amy Poburka in SPQR 2016. Sadly, this program was suspended in 2016 when violence in Istanbul threatened the safety of American students.

In 2017, the university inaugurated a cross disciplinary program for students within the College of Design, Study and Intern in Rome. It is overseen by Gayla LIndt, the school’s Director of Design in Architecture.


SPQR Fellowship

Jocelyn Dougan (page)

Amy Poburka (page and blogposts)

Yun Koo (page and blog posts)

Ben Dose (page and blog posts)

Satavee Kijsanayotin (page)

Jenna Pittman Johansson
David Johansson (page and blog posts)

Kelly Martinez (page and blog posts)

SPQR Prize
Mike Christenson – currently NDSU Fargo, ND

Andrew Dull – currently St. Paul, MN

Deborah Richmond – currently Venice CA

Scott Natvig – currently Los Angeles, CA
Renee Irlbeck – currently Minneapolis, MN

1991 (study in Mexico)
Ted MacLeod – currently Minneapolis, MN
Allan Amis – currently Minneapolis, MN
Dan Beyer – currently Milwaukee, WI

Jay Jasnoch – currently Northfield, MN

Tim Johnson – currently Brooklyn, NY

Joseph Lambert – currently Oakland, CA

Cheryl Fosdick – currently Duluth, MN
Ken Potts – currently Edina, MN

David Arkin – currently Berkeley, CA



*The Class of 1967 persuaded Dean Ralph Rapson to begin a Rome Study Program in the spring quarter of 1966. Dale Mulfinger has written about this in Pasta, Piazzas, and the Pantheon for AM Insights magazine.

**It should also be noted that the University of Minnesota School of Architecture has been well represented at the prestigious Rome Prize given by the American Academy in Rome each year. Past winners include:Spero Paul Daltas 1951, Dewey Thorbeck 1964, Roger Martin 1964, Thomas N Larson 1964, Milo Thompson 1965, William Pedersen 1966, Robert Mittelstadt 1966, Austris Vitolis 1967, Thomas Oslund 1992 and John Cary 2008.