The Dennis Kuronen Scholarship

The Dennis Kuronen Scholarship Fund is named in loving memory for Professor Dennis Kuronen, founder of the Graphic Design Communication program at Philadelphia University.

Dennis loved teaching—particularly at Philadelphia University—where he was the Interim Dean of the School of Design and Media. Professor Kuronen died on Saturday, February 6, 2010, following a year-long, valiant battle with pancreatic cancer. A memorial service celebrating Dennis’ life was held at Philadelphia University on Sunday, February 14.

Dennis had hoped to have a scholarship started in his memory to support students in the design field. Thanks to the kind and generous contributions from family and friends, a scholarship has begun. We are hoping that we can reach the goal of making this fund into an ongoing scholarship in Dennis’ name, ensuring his legacy at the place he liked to refer to as his second home and family.

Dennis Kuronen was born May 1, 1947, in Deadwood, SD. He graduated from high school in Sturgis, SD in 1965, where he was the student body president, member of the band and choir and a champion wrestler. Dennis graduated in 1969 with a B.F.A. degree from the University of South Dakota and then studied in India for a year before enrolling in the University of Nebraska where he earned an M.F.A. in 1973. Dennis returned to the Black Hills following graduate school and worked for two Rapid City advertising agencies before moving to Manhattan, Kan., in 1977, where he started teaching as an Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at Kansas State University.

Dennis was the founding director of the Graphic Design Communication, Interactive Design and Media, and Animation programs at Philadelphia University, where he joined the faculty in 1994 and was the Interim Dean of the School of Design and Media. Prior to his work at Philadelphia University he served as Graphic Arts Instructor from 1979 to 1994 at Arcadia University. There he was chairman of that school’s art department. As an educator, Kuronen frequently led student art groups to Glasgow, London, and Paris and developed a partnership with the Altos de Chavon School of Design in the Dominican Republic.

During a four-decade career as an artist, designer, sculptor and educator, Kuronen received numerous honors and created works on public display at the Philadelphia International Airport, the Sioux City (Iowa) Art Center and the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Neb. He and his wife, Rebecca Michaels, also were partners in the design firm of Kuronen + Michaels. Kuronen held an active interest in music throughout his life and frequently invited friends, faculty, and students to jam sessions in his home studio.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by daughters, Jessica and Natassia; a son, Steffen; and his former wife, Patricia Goddard Mikle. His siblings include Kay Huffman Jung; Gary Huffman; and Darcy Kuronen. Click here to visit the blog about Dennis' journey.