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40 Years of NewSchool

A 40 Year Legacy of Human-Centered Design

2020 is a pivotal year for NewSchool, marked by change, including new ownership, a temporary transition to fully virtual teaching and learning for all programs as well as temporary remote campus operations in response to a global pandemic, the death of our president, the appointment of an interim president, and the search for a new president. This is also our 40th anniversary. It is a time to remember our past four decades and to celebrate our accomplishments and the positive impact NewSchool has had not only on our students but also on San Diego, design communities, and beyond. This is a time to reflect not only on our past but also to look to what the future holds for our institution. In this time of uncertainty in higher education about such matters as the role of technology, the value of a degree, and the demand for workplace-ready graduates prepared to work globally and locally, NewSchool finds itself at an inflection point. Future employability for our graduates and market demands will help to inform our new program offerings. Innovative technology will enhance the student learning experience. Faculty will find new, interesting, and even challenging ways to teach. We will welcome a more global student body while staying true to our San Diego roots. We look forward to designing our future with quality, integrity, and creativity as a design-minded community and with our Board of Directors and Ambow Education while staying true to our mission and values.

This virtual special event highlighted NewSchool of Architecture & Design’s present educational model with Professors of Practice. Members of the NewSchool faculty were featured in a panel discussion focused on their work in the fields of architecture, construction, and design and how their professional careers impact their role in design education. Through story sharing and open dialogue, we explored how NewSchool’s educators play an important role in shaping the future of practicing designers.

This took place on Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 6:30 PM PST.

The panel featured:

  • Beth Amann, Graphic Design & Interactive Media
  • Dan Manlongat, Architecture
  • Julio Medina, Architecture
  • Victor Nacif, Product Design
  • Anjum Razvi, Interior Architecture and Design
  • Kristine Wunder, Construction Management

Moderated by Trevor Stine, Integrative Studies

Click here to watch a recording of the event.

Cartouche was created by NewSchool of Architecture & Design students to provide a forum for analysis and discussion of architecture, urban planning, interior design, landscape architecture, and the fine arts.

*Disclaimer: Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of NewSchool of Architecture and Design, nor is any guarantee made regarding the accuracy of bylined articles and academic papers.

NewSchool of Architecture & Design was built on a dream. NewSchool founder Richard Welsh had a vision to provide students with an accessible, high-quality architectural education. In 1980, NewSchool was founded in a small industrial building in Chula Vista, California, just outside of San Diego.

The institution grew out of the need for a professionally focused, practitioner-based, architecture school in San Diego. This resulted in San Diego’s first architectural degree-granting institution offering a five-year professional bachelor’s degree. In 1988, NewSchool relocated to our current location in downtown San Diego’s East Village neighborhood.

Over the course of the next three decades, NewSchool launched additional undergraduate and graduate programs. First in Architecture, with a number of graduate degrees; later in Construction Management, with both undergraduate and graduate degrees; and most recently undergraduate degrees in design focused on Graphic Design & Interactive Media Design, Interior Architecture & Design, and Product Design.

On November 19, 2020, we kicked off a virtual celebration of NewSchool of Architecture & Design’s four decades of education and design through a panel discussion of accomplished alumni sharing their educational and career experiences. Through the past, present, and future insights from this dynamic panel, we explored the next forty years of our school, our communities, our industries, and beyond.

Stephen Russell, Executive Director at San Diego Housing Federation, Class of ’10


  • David Pfeifer, Principal/Architect at domusstudio, Class of ’87
  • Claudia Salazar, Senior Director of Design at Studio G Architects, Inc., Class of ’98
  • Armando Ramos, Principal at Diverse Projects-MX, NY, Class of ’03
  • Melina Aluwi, Associate Principal at HED, Class of ’10
  • Jake Jaenicke, Project Manager at Balfour Beatty, Class of ’13
  • Athena Valdovinos, Senior Project Engineer at Swinerton, Class of ’16
  • Marcelo Kertesz, SVP of Content, Brand & Design at Manscaped, Class of ’17
  • Chad Skelton, Industrial Designer at Southern California Design Co., Class of ’19