Obituaries | W. Cecil Steward | Nebraska today


W. Cecil Steward, 87, dean emeritus and professor emeritus of architecture, passed away earlier this month.

Steward is the first dean of the College of Architecture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. At the time of his appointment in 1973, he was the youngest architectural dean in the country. He held this position for over 27 years and retired in 2000.

“Cecil Steward was a legend,” said Katherine Ankerson, current dean of architecture. “The College of Architecture rests on the shoulders of giants and leaders such as Cecil. We would not be the institution that we are today, without his vision, his passion and his management of this great college.

“Thanks to his generosity and kindness, thousands of dollars in scholarships over the years have been awarded to our students, always with their future in mind. I cannot express how much this loss will be felt not only in our college family, but also in the profession, as it has had such an indelible impact on its history and trajectory. He will be sadly missed by so many people. “

Steward was part of the driving force that saved the university’s architectural hall from a planned demolition in the 1980s. The work then led to the expansion and renovation of the $ 4.4 million building. in 1987.

At the institutional level, Steward led the conversion of the university’s architecture program into a six-year professional status program; added a public service center for community development; transferred the interior design diploma to the College of Architecture; obtained ministry status for the Interior Design and Community and Regional Planning programs; and created the Hyde programs for visiting scholars and conferences.

He was highly respected in all allied professions for his many contributions to education, raising professional standards and his passion for sustainability.

Steward said the accomplishments he was most proud of included implementing the continuing education requirement for architects as part of a policy of the American Institute of Architects of which he led the charge as AIA President; participate in the first architectural education delegation which established the first Chinese legal framework for the title “architect” and management of architectural education and practice; lead the creation of the Nebraska Harry F. Cunningham Gold Medal; the creation of the Nebraska Center for Sustainable Construction; and the creation of a non-profit entity, the Joslyn Castle Institute for Sustainable Communities, to integrate the principles of sustainable development into the teaching and practice of architecture and planning.

Another board member and colleague Sharon B. Kuska, professor of architecture, remembers his passion and the remarkable career and life he has led.

“It’s hard to phrase words that will do justice to what my mentor, colleague and dear friend Cecil Steward meant to me and to the profession, said Kuska. “He was a wise and trustworthy counselor and teacher, loyal to the architectural profession and the academy; he shared his experience and insight, devoted to education and vision; he expressed his passion and ingenuity, committed to sustainability and design. Cecil was a true idealist with a creative intellect that bordered on chimerical at times. He lived each day with purpose and, luckily for us, shared his work, his dreams and his vision with the world.

Steward has won numerous awards and achievements throughout his life, including the Joint Award for Excellence in Architectural Education; the topaz medallion by the AIA and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture with the title, Distinguished Professor, ACSA/AIA; W. Cecil Steward Distinguished Chair for Sustainable Design, Founding Recipient, University of Nebraska Foundation; Outstanding Educator of the Year, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; and the first living beneficiary of the AIA Harry F. Cunningham Gold Medal of Nebraska for Architecture.

Known as a transformative leader, Steward has influenced and shaped the design and planning professions by serving on boards and committees such as the United Nations Program on Best Practices for Sustainable Development and Local Leadership, Nebraska Capitol Surroundings Commission, the UN Habitat Steering Committee for the Creation of the World Urban Campaign and the Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Commission, to name a few.

“Cecil was a personal friend, a most distinguished academic colleague and a giant in his field,” said Chancellor Ronnie Green. “Its reach was extraordinary and stretched from college to all of Nebraska, across our country and indeed the world.”

Steward’s board of directors included the Joslyn Institute for Sustainable Communities (JISC), the Consortium of Architectural Research Centers, the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, the National Council for Architectural Accreditation (NAAB) and the American Institute of Architects. He was also elected president of the NAAB, the JISC and the national AIA.

Steward has published over 57 sustainability articles in two years with the Lincoln Journal Star; co-authored with Kuska, the book “Sustainometrics: Measuring Sustainability” which has been translated into Chinese and published in China and the United States; and Steward with co-author Kuska wrote a new manuscript, “Making Sense of Sensible Making: The Red Flag for Design,” which follows design theory since the Industrial Revolution and argues for a new design theory. design for sustainable design.

“Beyond Nebraska and college, Cecil was also a huge and dynamic force in the profession nationwide, as well as a past president of the AIA. His support and mentorship – over many years – has contributed immensely to my own career, ”said Roger Schluntz, professor and dean emeritus of the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of New Mexico and vice-president. chancellor of the AIA College of scholarship holders.

Steward’s family is planning a private service.

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