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Architecture dean to step down after spring 2015 semester

Thu, 03/13/2014

LAWRENCE — John Gaunt, dean of the School of Architecture, Design & Planning for the past 20 years, has announced he plans to step down from his post at the end of the spring 2015 semester.

Gaunt announced his decision earlier this month in an email to the school’s faculty, staff and students.

“This year marks my 20th year as dean of the school,” he said. “For me, it’s an ideal time to take stock of what has been accomplished during my career here and to plan for what is ahead.”

Gaunt said he intends to remain a faculty member and to continue teaching after he steps down as dean.

“We appreciate John’s outstanding achievements and commitment to the School of Architecture, Design & Planning and to the university,” said Jeffrey S. Vitter, provost and executive vice chancellor. “John embodies our mission of educating leaders, building healthy communities and making discoveries that change the world, and we’re fortunate to have had someone of his caliber at our university for the past two decades.”

The Provost’s Office will begin a national search for a new dean in the coming weeks, and details of that process will be announced when they’re available.

Gaunt became dean of the school in 1994 and has served longer than any current KU dean in any school. In 2009, he guided what was then the School of Architecture and Urban Planning as it added the Department of Design, resulting in today’s School of Architecture, Design & Planning. The reorganization led to a significantly expanded school and a new administrative configuration. The school today currently has nearly 1,000 students.

Prior to joining KU, Gaunt was with the Minneapolis architecture and engineering firm Ellerbe Becket for 18 years, and he served as its CEO and president for six years. He has been a practicing architect for 36 years. He earned his master's degree in architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied with famed architect Louis Kahn.

“My time as dean has involved much change, many personal rewards and a sense of fulfillment,” he said. “I look forward to this transitional phase and to helping our School of Architecture, Design & Planning continue its tradition of excellence.”



Matt Menzenski, a graduate student in Slavic languages & literatures, took this photo during President Obama’s speech at KU Thursday. Menzenski says he was struck by how relaxed the president was in his delivery. He missed a chance to hear former President Bill Clinton speak in his hometown in 2004, but finally got to see a sitting president this week at KU. “The opportunity to hear the president speak is just one of many great opportunities I've had at KU. So many interesting talks and events happen here all the time. I try to attend at least one a week-- it's never hard to find something interesting to go to.” Tags: University of Kansas College of Liberal Arts and Sciences KU School of Languages, Literatures & Cultures KU Dept of Slavic Languages - Friends & Alumni Barack Obama The White House #exploreKU #POTUSatKU

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Explore KU: The Bells of Mount Oread KU’s Campanile, a 120-foot-tall timepiece that tolls automatically on the hour and quarter-hour, not only sounded in the 2015 New Year at midnight with 12 mighty gongs, but also regularly rings up memories for many Jayhawks – the 277 faculty and students who gave their lives during World War II, the graduates who walk through its doors at commencement, and aspiring students who have strolled through the Lawrence campus. (See http://bit.ly/1xjjwJj). For nearly 60 years, KU’s 53-bell carillon has been tolling the sounds of peace and serenity across Mount Oread since it was installed in June 1955 inside the landmark World War II Memorial Campanile, which was dedicated in 1951. (See http://bit.ly/1BoL9jv) The carillon is also a four-octave musical instrument, which is played with a giant keyboard and foot pedals. University Carillonneur Elizabeth Egber-Berghout (http://bit.ly/14fiBPl), associate professor of carillon and organ, climbs 77 steps up a spiral staircase in the bell tower to perform recitals several times a month.


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