08 May 2020

In Memoriam: VCUarts Qatar Founding Director Paul Petrie

One of VCUarts Qatar’s founding directors, Mr. Paul Petrie, has passed away. 

Paul served as Founding Director for Shaqab College of Design Arts (SCODA) in 1998 and continued on until 2005 in academic leadership positions as the College developed into VCU Qatar, the fully accredited sister campus of the VCU School of the Arts in Richmond, Virginia.

Under Paul’s leadership, the Qatar campus achieved its Council for Interior Design accreditation in 2005, making it the only university outside of the continental United States and Canada to achieve this honor.

Paul often spoke highly over the years about the special bond that was created among faculty and students from the beginning, and he remained close to faculty, staff, students and alumni in Qatar, visiting and working with the team on the ground in Qatar on occasion over the years. His last visit was in 2015 where he worked for a time in the Dean’s office.  

He will be missed by everyone who had the pleasure of knowing him and working closely with him.

Paul was associated with Virginia Commonwealth University for over 40 years.   

He began teaching at the University of Manitoba (Canada), where he was a faculty of architecture and professor of interior design from 1967 to 1984. At Virginia Commonwealth University, he was a professor and chair of the interior design department from 1984 to 1996. At the VCU School of the Arts, he was the associate dean for academic affairs from 1995 to 1998, the director at VCU Qatar from 1998 to 2001, the associate dean for VCU Qatar from 2001 to 2003, and the professor and area head for interior design at VCU Qatar from 2003 to 2005. Most recently, he was the CIDA Accreditation Coordinator in the interior design department of Virginia Commonwealth University from 2014 to 2015.

In addition, Paul Petrie was recognized as a professor emeritus at the VCU School of the Arts in 2005 and recognized with the VCU Presidential Medallion in 2006.

Let us take a moment to remember a beloved colleague whose meaningful contributions to our community will continue to live on for years to come.

More information about Paul, including when he joined Christina Lindholm, another former dean of VCUarts Qatar, for a StoryCorps.me interview where they recalled the history of the school, can be found at the below link: 

From left: Mary McLaughlin, Chair of the Art Foundation Department with Dean Paul Petrie and Kathleen Franck, Communication Arts & Design (Graphic Design) faculty. Circa 2000-2001.

VCUQatar Graduation, May 27, 2006. VCU Presidential Medallion Recipient Paul Petrie with his children. Petrie was the founding director of Shaqab College of Design Arts, which became VCU School of the Arts in Qatar. He remained a Director from 1998 to 2001. Far right, John Petrie, son of Paul Petrie and VCUQatar Math Faculty member.

Shaqab College of Design Arts (early VCUQatar) circa 1999. From left to right: Peter Martin (Graphic Design); Kathleen Franck (Graphic Design); Dr Eugene Trani, President of VCU; Dr Richard Toscan, Vice Provost for International Affairs and Dean School of the Arts (VCU); Paul Petrie (Founding Director, Shaqab College of Design Arts/VCUQatar 1998-2001; Associate Dean of VCUarts, Qatar 2001-2003).

VCUQatar faculty members at the 2nd VCUQatar Graduation, which took place at the Sheraton, Doha on June 12, 2003. Left to right: Chair of Interior Design Allan Hing; Chair of Fashion Design Sandy (Sandra Wilkins); VCU Associate Dean for Qatar Paul Petrie; Art Foundation faculty member Kipp Greene.

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