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Dean of Syracuse University’s School of Architecture steps down to return to teaching
Dean of Syracuse University’s School of Architecture steps down to return to teachingJanuary 18, 2002Kelly Homan Rodoskikahoman@syr.edu
Bruce Abbey, dean of Syracuse University’s School of Architecture since 1990, announced Jan. 17 that he is stepping down from his position, effective July 1. After a short sabbatical, Abbey will return to the school to teach and participate in the creative life of the school community. An international search for a new dean will begin immediately.
“My decision is based on the fact that the timing is right for both the school and me personally,” Abbey said in a letter to students announcing his resignation. “After nearly 20 years of administrative focus, I want to concentrate on my professional interests and on teaching.”
“I accepted Bruce’s resignation with regret and my best wishes,” says Chancellor Kenneth A. Shaw. “I am grateful to him for the great work he has done for the School of Architecture and for the University. We are fortunate that he will remain with us on our faculty.”
“He has been a passionate and incredibly effective dean,” says Vice Chancellor and Provost Deborah A. Freund. “I really looked forward to working with him more, yet his art is calling him back. And I respect that. He will be missed in his current role but welcomed with open arms back to the faculty.”
The school has thrived under Abbey’s leadership. The school achieved fourth place among 120 architecture schools in the recent rankings by The Almanac of Architecture & Design andDesign Intelligence. The poll is one of the most trusted rankings of college and university architecture degree programs in the nation.
Abbey was instrumental in the establishment of the school’s Community Design Center (CDC) in 1998. Through the center, an interdisciplinary team of students works on architectural and human service projects that have a direct impact on a neighborhood or community group. Last year, the center won $25,000 for Syracuse’s Wilson Park Community Center through the JP Morgan Chase Community Development Competition.
Among Abbey’s other accomplishments are the establishment of the school’s Office of Career Services and the creation of a new curriculum. Several new lectureships, such as the annual Werner Seligmann Lecture and the Francis E. Hares Preservation Lecture Series, have been established. The number of scholarships has increased, and the school’s endowment has tripled.
Abbey has also overseen the hiring of 70 new faculty members and created three additional staff positions within the school. The percentage of female faculty members has increased from 20 percent in 1990 to 33 percent currently.
During his tenure, the expansion of facilities and the renovation of Slocum Hall, home to the School of Architecture, began. Abbey also oversaw the reorganization of the school’s Advisory Board, encouraged and supported the productivity of the faculty resulting in new scholarship and publications, and created new school publications.
“It has been a great privilege to have served as dean for these past 12 years and to have seen the school grow in reputation thanks to the efforts and accomplishments of the faculty, students and alumni,” Abbey says. “This is a wonderful school and one that I am very proud to say is in the top ranks of schools of architecture in the United States.”
Abbey received a bachelor of architecture degree from Cornell University in 1966 and a master of architecture degree from Princeton University in 1971. Between undergraduate and graduate school, he served three years as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Republic of Tunisia, working for the Bureau of Public Works in El Kef and the Bureau of Historic Monuments in Bizerte.
He joined the University of Virginia faculty in 1974, and served as chairman of the Department of Architecture and as associate dean until joining SU in 1990. He worked in the offices of Dan Kiley, the office of Michael Graves and for Geddes, Brecher, Qualls, Cunningham prior to opening his own practices in Princeton, N.J., and Charlottesville, Va. His professional work includes the Library of Anesthesiology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, numerous residential renovations, competitions and unbuilt designs.
His professional work and writings have been published in Space Design, Architecture, Art in America, Modulus, The Princeton Journal and Process Architecture. Besides serving on the advisory board of the School of Architecture at Princeton, he has been the chair of the ACSA Cranbrook Teacher’s Seminar and served on the editorial board of the Journal of Architectural Education.