The Professor Who Ran Away

By Professor ‘X’

How it started

I was a newly-minted Ph.D. Just prior to graduation I had accepted a job with a large federal agency; one which actually did very good, cutting-edge, research. As graduation approached I was simultaneously looking for housing at the new location, getting ready for my defense, searching for a moving company….Upon graduation I used the short amount of downtime between my academic stint and my new role as public servant re-locating and trying to make the transition as smooth as possible. My selected agency was responsible for dealing with all aspects of air-travel: ground operations, controller operations, in-flight, airport capacity .…The division in which I would be working performed research into the measurement and understanding of wake-vortices. The phenomena of wake vortices directly affects how closely spaced two aircraft can be when approaching the runway for landing. This spacing in turn directly affects airport capacity. Continue Reading »The Professor Who Ran Away

Taking Health Communication to Zimbabwe

By James Gachau
Philip Merrill College of Journalism

Dr. Muhiuddin Haider, Clinical Professor in Global Health in the University of Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health and the Horowitz Center for Health Literacy, was featured on the home page of UMD’s website earlier this year for his work in global health. Dr. Haider possesses a unique and rare combination of skills which enables him to design health programs, sell those programs to communities and assess the behavioral and health changes that occur. The featured story was about his September 2014 mission to Zimbabwe, where he helped build the capacity of Zimbabwean journalists for better health communication. The Faculty Voice caught up with him earlier this semester for a sit-down interview to discuss how he acquired his own capacity for effective health communication. Continue Reading »Taking Health Communication to Zimbabwe

Bill Hanna, Social Activist, Humanitarian and Editor of The Faculty Voice

By Judith Hanna
Wife, Lover and Friend

Bill--obit photo

William John Hanna (Bill), resident of Bethesda, Maryland, was born in Cleveland and later moved to Los Angeles. He passed away from cancer and was buried in Hollywood Forever Cemetery near his parents’ graves. He did not want any funeral or memorial service. Continue Reading »Bill Hanna, Social Activist, Humanitarian and Editor of The Faculty Voice

Tribute to Bill Hanna

Brit Kirwan

Bill Hanna was a dear friend and valued colleague for over 30 years. I first met Bill while serving as Vice President and Provost. From the moment of our initial encounter, I was impressed by his dedication to building a stronger community both within and without the campus’ boundaries. Over the ensuing years, I benefitted enormously from his ability to offer forthright but always civil admonitions when he felt the administration had erred. Continue Reading »Tribute to Bill Hanna

Senryū by Robert Deluty, UMBC/Psychology

a sophomore
wondering what part of
speech is Zup

her right-wing Dad
regarding Vassar and Smith
as expensive cults Continue Reading »Senryū by Robert Deluty, UMBC/Psychology

News and Notes

Chinese Students

A startling number of Chinese students are getting kicked out of American colleges. According to a white paper published by WholeRen, a Pittsburgh-based consultancy, an estimated 8,000 students from China were expelled from universities and colleges across the United States in 2013-4. The vast majority of these students—around 80 percent—were removed due to cheating or failing their classes. As long as universities have existed, students have found a way to get expelled from them. Continue Reading »News and Notes

Book Notes

The Faculty Voice hopes to note the publication of books by faculty and staff members, so readers-authors are encouraged to send us the necessary information. In this issue, we note a book on the future of the arts.
Curtains? The Future of the Arts in America
By Michael M. Kaiser
Chairman of the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland


Image courtesy of

Earlier this year, my book, Curtains? The Future of the Arts in America, was published by Brandeis University Press. The book reviews the history of arts institutions in this nation, examines the many factors that have been affecting these institutions in the past decade, and projects into future to ask: if prevailing trends continue, what will the arts ecology look like 20 years from now? Continue Reading »Book Notes

Dr. Maravene Loeschke, President, Towson University, 2012 – 2014

By Dean Esslinger
Professor Emeritus of History, Assoc. V.P. for International Education (Retired)
Towson University


Dr. Maravene Loeschke during her inauguration; photo courtesy Towson University

When Dr. Maravene Loeschke passed away on June 25 last summer, the University System of Maryland lost one of its best and most beloved university presidents. Chosen to succeed Dr. Robert Caret in 2012, President Loeschke’s tenure as the head of Towson University was cut short by cancer after only three years in office. Although her presidency was brief, her time at Towson covered 38 years and her impact on the University was significant. Continue Reading »Dr. Maravene Loeschke, President, Towson University, 2012 – 2014

The Underrepresentation of Women Teachers in Sub-Saharan Africa

By Nelly P. Stromquist
Professor, International Education Policy, UMCP

In countries with substantially fewer girls than boys in education, there is often a cycle of gender disparity that is difficult to break: few girls in school means few women teachers; few women teachers means few girls in school. Increasing the presence of women teachers in such countries has been found to promote girls’ enrollment and permanence in school, as parents trust women teachers and girl students have a role model. Continue Reading »The Underrepresentation of Women Teachers in Sub-Saharan Africa

Two Poems by Bill Hanna

The Waiting Room

Nine old men
Waiting for the doc
And one of those old men
Is me!

Maybe some day soon
There will be only eight
One by one we’ll disappear
We must obey our fate.

What am I to do?

My body feels like ninety,
My brain’s like thirty-two.
When one outlives the other,
What am I to do?

African Women in the Past Five Decades

By Gloria Chuku
Professor of Africana Studies and Affiliate Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies, and Language, Literacy and Culture Ph.D. Program
University of Maryland, Baltimore County


The past five decades have witnessed a dramatic expansion of studies and literature on African women’s history. There have equally been ongoing critical debates on the connections between African women’s history and their current status in society; as well as on the issues of economic development, aid and women’s agency; and on women’s political participation in different African countries. Efforts are being made to correct and present more balanced and nuanced accounts of African women’s history against the typical portrayal that they totally lack in autonomy and are objects and victims of customary subjectivity and patriarchal control. This essay explores some of these debates on African women’s roles and status since independence by focusing on three key areas: formal education, political participation and economic development. What role have African women played in these three spheres and how have they been impacted by Western-style education and by political and economic policies pursued in their respective countries? What were the gains made, the challenges and lingering problems facing African women as they navigate the rough and complex terrains of modern Africa and global world? Continue Reading »African Women in the Past Five Decades

Remembering Bill Hanna

B and J dancing at wedding S

Bill and Judy dancing at a wedding

bill at B.N.

Bill at Barnes and Noble

Bill and Judy in Nigeria 1962

Bill and Judy in Nigeria, 1962

Bill Hanna

At one of the community fairs Bill organized


Bill at Hollywood Professional School

Foolin around B 2014

Bill fooling around


Bill and Judy in retirement












Action Langley Park is a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in and around Langley Park, Maryland. Our efforts include information exchange, advocacy, and the organization of health services – primarily with “Health Check” in the Fall and the health fair that is part of Langley Park Day in the Spring. Barrio de Langley Park is published by Action Langley Park with support from the Langley Park Project of the University of Maryland. For information about Action Langley Park and/or its biweekly newsletter, Barrio de Langley Park, write to

William E. “Brit” Kirwan

DSC_7468 Kirwan now small

In a few days, Brit Kirwan will retire from his position as System Chancellor. The position has been the highest achievement of his long career with higher education in Maryland. He began as an Assistant Professor in UMCP’s Department of Mathematics in 1964, and with a short out-of-state interruption he has moved steadily upward as a Maryland academic and then academic leader. We are proud to publish comments about Brit in this issue, and not just because he was instrumental in launching The Faculty Voice way back when. Brit is a warm and supportive leader who has good ideas and knows how to implement them working with faculty members (a tough lot) and others. The accomplishments of higher education in Maryland can in large part be traced to his leadership. Thanks, Brit. Below are several observations by people who know Brit well. -Bill Hanna

Brit Kirwan’s Leadership of UMCP

By J. R. Dorfman, Emeritus Professor, UMCP/ Physics and IPST

Brit Kirwan is without a doubt one of the most admired and effective university presidents or chancellors in the country. I served as Dean of the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Physical Sciences when he was Provost of UMCP and then as Provost during his first years as President, before I returned to teaching and research. Consequently, I was able to see him up close, so to speak, and could see how the University benefitted from his leadership. His integrity, his academic values, as well as his ability to find solutions for the many issues that arose involving campus personnel and students all made him very effective and a very respected leader. One could not fail to be impressed by Brit’s attention to the fairness of the tenure and promotion process and his regard for the importance of tenure in the university setting. His personal warmth and approachability enabled him to develop strong friendships with governors, national and state legislators, and other government officials of both political parties. Brit could discuss the university and its needs in a very personable, honest, and convincing way. As a result, the University was able to compete successfully for state funds during the several years of restricted or falling state budgets. Under Brit’s guidance, the University secured Flagship status, and its reputation as an excellent educational and research institution reached a very high level. These achievements naturally led to an improved ability to recruit students with high academic credentials and to substantial increases in research funding and outside donations. Brit also guided the expansion and innovations in honors programs for gifted students, as well as the growth of support and retention programs for all students. I am certain that the University System benefitted in a similar way from Brit’s leadership, his warm and open personality, and his integrity.

One of the admirable features of Brit’s administration was his insistence that the entire university community be involved, in one way or another, with aspects of decision-making and in planning. This applied when decisions were made about the allocation of enhancement funds as well as when decisions were made about the best way to respond to difficulties caused by cuts to the University’s budget.

It was under Brit’s direction as President of UMCP that the University constructed the Clarice Smith Center for the Performing Arts, the Eppley Recreational Center, and Van Munching Hall, and carried out many renovations and improvements to existing buildings. The new centers and buildings brought new cultural, educational, and recreational opportunities to the campus with a concomitant improvement of the quality of life for all the members of the campus community.

Brit’s tenure as President, and no doubt also as Chancellor, was marked by his devotion to the wellbeing of the University. This concern can be illustrated by the following incident: Late one evening as Brit and Patty were in their pajamas about to go to sleep, Brit happened to change the television station to one that was broadcasting deliberations of the College Park City Council. They were discussing an issue that affected the campus so Brit quickly got dressed and went to the Council meeting in order testify on behalf of the Campus.

I am proud to say that while I served as Dean and Provost, Brit and I managed to accomplish some things that seemed quite difficult at first. These included finding funds that enabled our astronomers to participate in the still expanding Maryland-Berkeley-Illinois radio telescope array. We were able to move the entire Department of Computer Science to the A. V. Williams Building after many years of its being located in three or four separate buildings, and we were able to find innovative ways to respond to the financial opportunities and difficulties that inevitably arose from time to time. Brit’s enthusiasm and optimism helped him and those who worked with him find ways to overcome difficulties, to maintain and improve the quality and morale of the campus community, and to convince government officials and potential donors of the vitality and abilities of the members of the university’s faculty, staff and student body. I will always be grateful for the wisdom and support that Brit provided to Ray Gillian, the committee members, and me when we worked on studying and making recommendations about the academic lives of student athletes in 1986, following the death of Len Bias. This experience certainly came to bear in Brit’s subsequent roles with the NCAA and the Knight Commission that gave him a national forum for encouraging positive changes in intercollegiate athletics.

As Brit and Patty enter this new phase of their lives, they both deserve our thanks for their devotion to the University, the University System, and to those of us who have had the privilege of working with them and of seeing the growth of the University during Brit’s tenure as President and as Chancellor.


Statement on Brit Kirwan’s retirement

By Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, President, UMBC

“It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow.” – Robert H. Goddard, 1904


Credit: John T. Consoli

Credit: John T. Consoli

When talking about Brit’s leadership in American higher education, we’re reflecting on a 50-year period that is among the most important in the history of the country. I like to think of this period as one of experimentation, a special time when we started to believe that people of all races – men and women from all economic backgrounds – should have the opportunity to become educated citizens. This experiment has demonstrated the importance of higher education to the future of individuals, families, American society, and beyond. No one has been more instrumental in bringing about this success than Brit Kirwan.

When Brit has spoken at UMBC leadership retreats, he has often reminded us that when the first students started taking classes on our campus in 1966, he had already been an Assistant Professor at College Park for two years. In 1964, when Brit started, only 10 percent of Americans had earned college degrees. Throughout his career, in so many ways, he has focused on expanding higher education opportunities for all and on closing the achievement gap. He fought for the opportunity for students of all races to study at College Park, focused on racial justice at Ohio State, and has insisted that all campuses in the University System of Maryland make closing the achievement gap a top priority.

Fifty years ago, none of us could have imagined this country and the University System of Maryland as they are today. As Chancellor, Brit has encouraged institutions to explain to public officials the importance of teaching and of research — applied and basic. He has encouraged us to get involved and help solve the problems of the state and beyond. Brit is a national spokesperson on a range of issues. Perhaps most important, he has helped the public appreciate the value of a strong public higher education system.

His tenacity and unquestionable authenticity have made him believable. You know he’s sincere. He has this passion for life and for helping people. He has empowered countless people to excel, and he has helped many others build and sustain substantive relationships.

All of us are products of our childhood experiences. Brit’s father, Albert Dennis Kirwan, was a historian whose long career at his alma mater, the University of Kentucky, included a period serving as the university’s president. As the UK trustees noted, President “Ab” Kirwan followed the precept that “we are here to add what we can to life, not to get what we can from it.” Similarly, Chancellor William “Brit” Kirwan lives by that same precept.

Brit’s career reflects the essence of enlightened leadership. For him, leadership is about shared governance and a deep appreciation for the power of education to solve problems. What problem is stickier in America than closing the achievement gap? As a professor, college president and university system chancellor, Brit did not turn his head from this challenge. He faced it squarely, and he continues to do so.

On Kirwan

By Sharon Fries-Britt & Marvin Titus, UMCP/Higher Education

President Kirwan on McKeldin mall in 1994. Credit: John T. Consoli

President Kirwan on McKeldin mall in 1994.
Credit: John T. Consoli

Dr. William L. Kirwan is an extraordinary leader who brings superior intellectual and leadership capacity to his work with every constituency at the local, state, national and international levels! His influence over five decades in higher education is reflected in every aspect of higher education policy and practice nation- wide. His record of accomplishment is astounding and of the highest caliber. Even more important his work rests on a solid foundation from which many others have built programs and initiatives to improve educational excellence, equity, and social justice.

Any one of Dr. Kirwan’s many accomplishments as a mathematician and senior leader in higher education could stand alone as reason to admire and respect his work. We offer two examples that we believe have changed the nature of higher education. His Maryland’s Effectiveness and Efficiency (E&E) initiative, which was mentioned by President Barack Obama, became a model for changing the perspective of higher education with respect to its accountability to taxpayers. Launched in 2003, the E&E initiative forged a new way forward for the state, students, faculty, and administrators to work together to realize common goals and objectives. More specifically and relevant to the University System of Maryland, the E&E initiative resulted in a substantial increase in enrollment, need-based financial aid, and a reduction in students’ time-to-degree. Brit also recognized the importance of diversity in higher education and the important role that colleges play with respect to economic growth as well as social equity. He elevated this discussion at the national level, as evidenced by serving as chair of the National Research Council Board of Higher Education and Workforce and his presidential appointment to the Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

As impressive as Brit’s professional record is, what we both admire most about him is his generosity, sincerity, humility, ethic of care and astonishing ability to make others feel valuable. We have each enjoyed a personal relationship with Brit and like so many others we feel honored and blessed to have received his counsel. Even more awe-inspiring has been his willingness to accept invitations to lecture in our classes, to attend personal events in our lives, to share a conversation to simply catch up on the life of the university. He also had an open-door policy with respect to meeting in his office and making his staff available to students of higher education policy. On one memorable occasion, Brit was invited to guest lecture an evening class and appeared on crutches rather than cancel his lecture.

What is particularly remarkable about Brit is that with every level of increasing influence and responsibility over the course of his career, he continued to offer access and opportunity to fellowship with him. Certainly if he interacted with us in these ways, we know that we stand in a long line of individuals who felt equally attended to by him. This is a remarkable skill and ability for someone of his stature and responsibility. He is quite simply an amazing man who has modeled for everyone how to build capacity for excellence and grace in leadership.

We wish Brit the very best as he moves into his retirement; absolutely no one deserves it more! Several years ago a small group of us met with him in his office to gain his insights about issues facing leaders in higher education. As you can imagine it was a very memorable conversation. As a small token of our appreciation we gave Brit a paperweight carved out of red alabaster stone in the shape of a heart. At the time we simply said to Brit that he was the heart of the campus, system and the state. We add to that list the nation. Congratulations Brit, you are loved by all!



On Kirwan

By Stewart L. Edelstein, Shady Grove

I have known Brit Kirwan for almost 40 years, including all of my years at College Park and my 12 years as Executive Director of the Universities at Shady Grove (USG). Brit did not establish USG, but it was during his tenure as Chancellor that USG flourished into the state’s largest regional higher education center and become nationally recognized for its unique structure and success in expanding access to baccalaureate, graduate and professional degrees.

USG is not one institution, but a partnership of 9 USM institutions which offer their degrees in one location in Montgomery County. Over 50% of the students who are enrolled in the bachelor’s programs offered at USG are the first in the family to receive degrees.  Many of these students and countless others would not be able to obtain a university degree from a USM institution without the presence of USG.

Access to affordable quality higher education in service to the greater good has been a cornerstone of Brit’s many contributions to the state of Maryland and the nation. Over his career, Brit has touched and affected almost every aspect of higher education and we as a University System are the better for his efforts. His contributions are indelible and his legacy will be long-lasting. It has been an honor to work so closely with him to build USG and to see up front his skill, commitment and dedication to what education can do to change lives and build thriving communities.


“Ugly, Blocky & Stale” or Innovative? Adding a Campus Building: A Collision of Cultures

By Steven Hurtt, UMCP/Architecture*

On seeing the proposal for the new hotel in what is now called the University of Maryland’s “Innovation District,” I had the same reaction as the campus’s student newspaper, the Diamondback, reported late in the Fall Semester quoting senior English major, Kelly Trimble: “It looks ugly,” she said.

The hotel as it would be seen from campus looking across the Engineering Fields. Courtesy: Facilities Management

The hotel as it would be seen from campus looking across the Engineering
Fields. Courtesy: Facilities Management


Fitting In

Her more extended statement hit the crux of the issue dead on. “It’s just really blocky and our campus is really beautiful, and if we start building architecture that’s really stale like that – that doesn’t have the type of architecture that we have on campus – it’s going to stick out like a sore thumb.”

Many people call our Maryland campus beautiful, rarely saying the same about a single building. Most everyone intuitively knows that for a campus, it’s how it all adds up that really matters, each building contributing to the look of the whole. But it’s not so with a proposed hotel. Why not? Is the hotel’s lack of “good fit” accidental or intentional? If intentional, why? And is that the best idea over the long term?

The University has long hoped to have a medium size, quality, hotel-convention facility somewhere near the east face of campus. It appears to have finally attracted one, a good thing. In presenting it to the campus, President Loh has called its glassy, blocky look a symbol of “innovation.” Innovation is likewise the new moniker for what, just a few years back, was envisioned as the East Campus College Town. Now renamed, it is touted as the “Innovation District” to be, the hotel a first and symbolic step in a “new vision.”

Apparently “not fitting in” is a matter of clear intention. But is that the right thing to do? If not, why not? There are really several questions. First, how does the beauty of a campus, the image conveyed by its built environment, come about, and how is it maintained over time? What should the role of those who hold the temporary power of a campus’s highest offices be with regard to those characteristics, both on the campus proper and areas like the “Innovation District,” which is also part of the extended campus?

Many U.S. campuses possess an exceptional beauty that mainly results from their visual coherence and consistency, their pedestrian-dominant quality, the complementarity of their landscapes and buildings. At UVA, Stanford, Columbia, Cornell, Duke and many others, it has been a founders vision, made specific in word and image, then followed by an allegiance to that founding vision which acquired the power of myth. One thinks of Thomas Jefferson, Ezra Cornell, Leland Stanford, James B. Duke….

For other campuses, coherence has been primarily the result of historical circumstance: the adoption of a particular architectural style at a moment in time of significant growth and again followed by a commitment to sustain that image. Many campuses are dominated by one of three such styles, Collegiate Gothic, Neo-Classical, or Georgian. There are stylistically “Modern” versions as well, such as IIT and the Air Force Academy. In all such cases, there is deliberate intention and a constancy that rarely wavers.

When I came to the UMCP campus in 1990 as dean of the School of Architecture, my reaction to it was like Kelly Trimble’s. I thought it quite attractive, cohesive, no great buildings, nice landscape. A beauty resting first on the complementarity of buildings and landscape; most dramatically evident in McKeldin Mall, Chapel Lawn, Fraternity Row, and the Engineering Fields, but subtly present other places too. Next, the coherence of the buildings: while sporting a diversity of styles and scales, they clearly shared common features.

I got involved with Facilities Management in various ways. I soon discovered that, despite the overall coherence of the campus, there were no written design guidelines and not much to design review. However, there were three important unwritten standards: 1) Reddish brick; 2) No flat roofs (although extremely low slopes were accepted); 3) Traditional near or in the central campus, less so further away. Not bad, but might we do better?

A reading of George Calcott’s book on the history of the University tells part of the story of how Maryland got the more traditional look that is its primary image. Among his many contributions to the growth of this University, President Curly Byrd promoted the idea that American History at Maryland, including a regional focus, would be among its most superior academic fields of study, and he sought a campus that would be both grand in its plan and embrace the historical architecture of its region, particularly its Georgian and Colonial era buildings of locally made brick. Byrd’s era was the same one that promoted grand city and campus plans nationwide – the National Mall as we know it among them. It was also the era that honored our nation’s forefathers by discovering and preserving the physical symbols of their lives and activities: Independence Hall, Monticello, and Williamsburg. The architecture of our campus can be thought to convey through associated meanings the foundational ideas of our nationhood. Hence, allegiance to Byrd’s “vision” and subsequent allegiance to it, however vaguely promoted or monitored.

After several years of experience with our campus planning processes, I made a number of recommendations on how they might be improved. Several were adopted: 1) conduct design studies of sub-districts of the campus at a scale between the individual building and the master plan; 2) create design guidelines for these various sub-districts, and 3) establish a design review committee.

Why not just design review, why bother with design guidelines? There are several reasons. First, without guidelines, design review is prone to degenerate into little more than an opinion fest dominated by current “trends” and strongly influenced by seductive imagery and either the most authoritative or the most charismatic person in the room.

Secondly, design guidelines help the various architects selected for different campus projects. Often new to the campus, they are not compensated for the hard work of creating design guidelines for themselves. Such efforts require the close scrutiny and codification of numerous landscape and architectural patterns. Those patterns exist at three scales, the immediate vicinity, the context of the entire campus, and the broad history of landscape, planning, and architectural design.

With the blessing of the campus administration, design review was adopted with a mandate to also develop design guidelines and this has been accomplished.

A few examples of this process in action include the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center; three additions to Van Munching Hall (Smith Business School); Kim Engineering; and Knight Hall (housing Journalism). Somewhat more conservative in look are the additions to Zoo-Psych and the Health Center. None of these buildings stick out like “sore thumbs.”

The District

CIMG0612 Hotel sign

This brings us to the story of the “Innovation District.” The idea to develop that 32 acre parcel of land including service buildings and others in need of replacement first emerged in a conversation I had with then Vice President of Administration Chuck Sturtz. He supported an Architecture School design studio study of the possibilities. The vision then, just as it is now, was the creation of a better “college town.” When schemes demonstrating the possibilities were presented to a group led by then-President Mote, he grasped the vision and opportunity and said, “We have to do this.” That goal emerged in the next campus Strategic Plan.

Shortly afterward an opportunity was lost. That opportunity was to develop a coherent plan for the area, not based on immediate need, but the kind of general vision Curly Byrd exercised: the guiding idea, a plan, illustration of what it could be at best, and a set of design guidelines. Instead, faith was placed in the wisdom of the market and the result was a developer’s vision, not truly the vision of the campus. A recession destroyed that market-driven vision. But something did come of it.

With considerable rancor and the consternation of a few about what the unrestrained results emerging from the developer might be, design guidelines did emerge. Late in coming, compromised by developer resistance and administrative reluctance, the process nevertheless provided a forum for debate and some resolution. Most fundamental of these was, to what degree, how much and where should the then-called “East Campus College Town,” now “Innovation District,” project an image clearly related to the campus or one entirely distinct from it? Arguments on both sides were made. Some argued for the “new,” the unrestrained, that the area should look nothing like the campus. Others countered that, “We don’t want K Street or Bethesda.” As the impacts of various possibilities began to be understood, discussion became more nuanced.

A good plan would need to make crossing Route 1 safer. The proposed light-rail Purple Line needed accommodation and provided great opportunity if handled correctly. Iconic vistas, such as views of Memorial Chapel, could be protected and extended. Old Town could be better connected. The area is big. Build out would take time. Many buildings would be the likely result. Styles of these buildings might reasonable differ. That being so, how best to achieve a quality image for the campus? Most of us finally agreed that the most memorable, beautiful and enduring thing that could be done was to celebrate and improve upon the “image” and “presence” of the University by extending and elaborating its “face” along the perimeters of the new “district” as well as in areas already projecting a positive campus image such as Fraternity Row.

It was an expanded design review group that had taken on the task of reviewing the developer’s proposals. But while design guidance was given and guidelines developed, there was little support for them. The developer promised much and acquiesced little. The upper administration showed disinterest at best.

Here we are again, to fit in or stand out? To symbolize the modern, the innovative, however briefly, or to symbolize the enduring? Note that nearby is a cluster of delicate campus buildings of merit and historical distinction, Turner Lab, Rossborough, and the Armory. The “ugly” hotel will stand in stark contrast.

Among the illustrations used in selling the new hotel to the campus community are views of a wonderful terrace at its highest level. It was at a thirteen story height, now I think reduced to ten, but still very high up and affording views of the campus. But, what about the opposite view, the view from campus? Do we want to look across the Engineering Fields and see a blocky, glassy façade, a nighttime view of randomly lit hotel rooms? Do we risk a view from the steps of Memorial Chapel that might include a huge hotel logo sign? Do we want such a thing competing in the night sky with the flood-lit Chapel’s portico and tower with its little blinking red light on top?

Broader Questions

This is not just about a hotel on one campus. There are broader questions for those who hold high office in an institution of higher education. What is their role? How is that role best applied to the campus, to a special place such as the Innovation District? Certainly, they must be innovators. Just as certainly they must also be guardians and transmitters of culture and tradition. We need them to exercise great wisdom in striking a balance between symbols of continuity while accommodating change, symbols of tradition that likewise nurture innovation.

The vision for a campus, the image it projects, inevitably changes over time, but a campus need not undergo radical change with each change in the few people who temporarily exercise the authority of its highest offices.

*Steven Hurtt is a Professor in the School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. From 1990 until 2004 he served as dean of the School and served on numerous campus planning and design review committees at diverse levels through 2008.