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30th Anniversary

In 2021, the ISU Rome Center celebrates its 30th anniversary, which began as a single semester course of study in the autumn of 1991, with one faculty member and a small group of students from the Department of Architecture, has recently grown into a full year-round program, drawing over 120 students annually from the departments of both Architecture and Art & Design. Expansion over the past 10 years has now included the department of Landscape Architecture.  As the program has grown larger and more visible, time has been dedicated to developing new courses and invite other ISU colleges as well as other non-ISU programs which, in turn, has led to the participation of visiting lecturers and instructors, from a wide diversity of nations and backgrounds, also creates professional contacts and opportunities for social and cultural exchange between the ISU Rome Center and the world. 

Teaching in Rome extends well beyond the walls of the studios and lecture rooms. Rome provides the campus—a vast natural and designed landscape, a multi-media interface of visual and verbal communications. All of the courses are related to aspects of the historical and contemporary city and conducted, in large part, on site. Classroom lectures, desk crits, graphic design, painting and drawing take place in the studios, but their function is chiefly as preparation, or follow-up, to the on-site teaching and research. This coincides with the philosophy developed in the College of Design of an integrated learning environment and studio projects that bring together issues of history and the social sciences, structural or technical analysis, literary and artistic theory.

International study is a priority at Iowa State University and the College of Design in particular aims at graduating at least one half of its students with a significant academic experience in a foreign country. The College’s Rome Program, one of only two, established and recognized branch of ISU outside the United States, thus plays a central role in translating into practice the objectives of study-abroad. In order to encourage as many students as possible to avail themselves of this opportunity, the semester is planned so that students do not lose any time in completing the course requirements of their departments for graduation.

Whether you are an alumnus, current student, parent, partner, staff, faculty, or friend, we are excited to share this year with you. Join us by participating in our upcoming events, both virtually and in-person (if circumstances allow), submitting a memory of your time at ISU Rome, or giving a gift to provide opportunity to future students.