Sarah Whiting Named New GSD Dean

John Hill
18. April 2019
Photo courtesy of Harvard University

Sarah Whiting, dean at Rice University School of Architecture since 2010, will take over the reins at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD) from longtime dean Mohsen Mostafavi.

Yesterday's announcement from Harvard University President Lawrence S. Bacow describes Whiting as "a leading scholar, educator, and architect widely respected for her commitment to integrating design theory and practice." She is also a former GSD faculty member (1999-2005) who is returning to the Cambridge, Massachusetts, school a near-decade-long tenure at Rice University in Houston, Texas.

The news comes six months after Mohsen Mostafavi, who has served as GSD dean since 2008, announced he would be stepping down at the end of the 2018/19 school year. Mostafavi's departure happens when the GSD is increasing its collaboration with other departments —engineering, applied sciences, and public health, in particular — to be enabled by an expansion of Gund Hall by Herzog & de Meuron.

With this pro-collaborative future in mind, Harvard Provost Alan Garber's words make Whiting appear as the ideal person for the deanship:

"Sarah Whiting has earned an extraordinary reputation as dean of the School of Architecture at Rice, where she has pursued educational innovations while building connections across the university. She is similarly committed to strengthening connections across the departments of the GSD and between the GSD and the rest of Harvard. At a time when the role of design is increasingly important, and when design education and practice face an array of challenges, her creativity, wisdom, and leadership experience will help the GSD navigate the changing demands of the design professions and the evolving interests of our faculty and students."

Whiting, quoted at The Harvard Gazette:

"The GSD has long been a center of gravity for my thinking and actions, and I’m thrilled to be returning. It is altogether tantalizing to look across the School’s three departments, with their individual and collective capacities to shape new horizons within Gund Hall. And it’s even more enticing to envision working with the GSD’s remarkable faculty, students, staff, and alumni to help imagine and create new futures for the world, not just at Harvard but beyond."

Whiting assumes her new position at Harvard GSD on July 1, 2019.

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