The Brendan Kutler Center
The Brendan Kutler Center opened in September 2012 to cultivate and sustain interdisciplinary studies and independent research at Harvard-Westlake. Kutler Center programs, classes, and opportunities intellectually bridge the understanding of multiple disciplines. Since its inception, the Kutler Center has been an innovative academic hub located on Harvard-Westlake’s Upper School campus. The center has brought new classes to the Upper School curriculum, invited intriguing visiting scholars to campus, and provided exciting student opportunities both in our local community and around the world.
The Kutler Center supports the Interdisciplinary Studies and Independent Research (ISIR) Department at the upper school, which offers many academic courses and independent study opportunities. The Kutler Center also supports the Junior Summer Fellowship program, Cinema Sundays, and many other special programs.
The Kutler Center facility is a metaphor for its work. Classrooms form a bridge between Mudd Library and the Upper School history department in the Seaver Building. Large open windows visually create a learning greenhouse where interdisciplinary ideas can sprout and grow, and those windows speak to the expanse of knowledge that transcends the traditional classroom. Etched bamboo within the glass walls reminds students of the globalized nature of the world they inhabit as well as the importance of stewardship for its natural habitats.
Brendan Kutler was a member of the Harvard-Westlake class of 2010 who died suddenly and unexpectedly on December 29, 2009. Throughout his life, Brendan thrived in situations where he could pursue intellectual truths and make connections between disciplines. He enjoyed independent research and study, often taking classes without credit for the sheer joy of learning. Brendan's wide variety of interests and activities are reflected in both the interdisciplinary studies focus of the Kutler Center and the metaphors embedded in the design of the building.
Each year, the Kutler Center gives the Two Hats Award to a member of the junior class who reflects Brendan’s personal values, including pursuing interdisciplinary studies. The name of the Two Hats Award comes from Brendan's interest in multiple fields of study as well as his habit of wearing two baseball caps, one atop the other. Brendan embodied the notion of intellectual curiosity, but he did not confine himself to a single discipline. Instead, Brendan found a way to pursue his many passions, including computer science, cinema studies, Japanese language and culture, music, and photography. Brendan was able to accomplish a great deal in his short life but never sought accolades. He pursued learning for learning’s sake and chose to highlight the successes of others.
If you would like more information about the Brendan Kutler Center or if you would like to visit us, please contact:
Director of the Kutler Center