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 Tuesday, July 12, 2005 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter


In the Spotlight with Mark Gelernter, Dean, College of Architecture and Planning

They lead major academic divisions and shape the direction and quality of programs for faculty, staff and students. In this series, "In the Spotlight," we asked CU-Boulder deans to give us a glimpse into their personalities by answering questions aimed at providing a unique perspective on "the person behind the desk." The final installment of this series features Mark Gelernter, dean of the College of Architecture and Planning.

1. Outside of work, what do you spend the most time thinking about and why?

I probably think the most about my 14-year-old son Alex and the world he will enter as an adult. I want him to enjoy a full and rewarding life, making the most of his interests and talents and the opportunities that will come his way. Although I fret that I have done too little to help prepare him for the rapidly changing world - or the world for him - he continually rewards me with witty and balanced insights and his optimistic sense of the future. He and his generation will do just fine. Of course, this concern quickly brings me back to work, because a large part of our responsibility in the College is to help the next generation of architects and planners flourish in a world of practice that is rapidly transforming out of all recognition. Are we doing enough to help? Looking backward rather than forward in time, I am also endlessly fascinated by eighteenth century sailing ships - perhaps because they were the height of technology before the industrial revolution, while still melding function and aesthetics seamlessly together into objects of incomparable beauty and use. There are lessons for us today.

2. If you could go anywhere in the world - all expenses paid - where would you go and why?

I would probably return to Italy for an extended stay. Like the countless artists and architects since the Renaissance who have regarded a visit to Italy as an essential part of one's visual education, I continue to find deep and regenerating sources of inspiration in the Italian culture. Everything from city design to product and fashion design resonates with energy, wit and a highly developed aesthetic sense. We are reminded of this every day we walk across the Boulder campus and feel its satisfying sense of place, since it was originally based on Italian precedents. Now, I just need to learn the Italian language a little better.

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