New architecture, design college welcomes Fong as its first dean

Amanda Garrett

The first dean for the new College of Architecture and Environmental Design will begin work Dec. 1.

On July 19, Provost Paul Gaston announced the appointment of Steven Fong, most recently the coordinator for the integrated building technology studio at the University of Toronto.

Fong was chosen from a group of four finalists, said Dean of the Honors College Larry Andrews, also the head of the search committee. Fong was particularly impressive during his campus visits, Andrews said.

“There was a sense of excitement among the students and faculty about professor Fong,” Andrews said. “He is very intellectual, he has an international reputation as an architect and professor, and he will bring some fresh ideas to the program.”

The committee was particularly impressed with Fong’s vision for the new college, Andrews said.

“One of his ideas was to bring together the college and area construction companies,” he said. “There are a large number of construction companies in northeast Ohio. Professor Fong wants to develop relationships with those companies.”

Fong’s strong background in urban design will benefit Kent State’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, Andrews said. The collaborative allows graduate students to work with the Urban Design Center of Northeast Ohio.

“I believe professor Fong will continue the strong national reputation of the architecture program,” he said. “Students will continue to be able to hit the ground running and immediately start working in professional firms.”

Andrews said the committee did not make the final decision on who was hired. Instead, they sent recommendations to Gaston, who made the final decision.

Gaston was unavailable for comment, but he praised Fong in a press release.

“Steven Fong is a widely respected and innovative educator, researcher, architect and urban designer,” he said. “He is an outstanding choice to lead the new college in its challenging mission of enriching the physical environment and quality of life in northeast Ohio.”

The other three finalists were Vikramaditya Prakash, associate professor and chair of architecture at the University of Washington; John Jacques, professor emeritus of architecture at Clemson University; and Patricia Kucker, department chair of architecture at the University of Arkansas. Prakash withdrew before the committee could make its final recommendation, Andrews said.

The committee had nine members including two architecture faculty members and two architecture students, Andrews said.

In addition to his duties at the University of Toronto, Fong has owned his own architecture practice since 1989. As part of his practice, Fong has consulted on urban design projects in Toronto and around the world, Andrews said. Before serving in his present position at the University of Toronto, Fong was chair of the Programme in Achitecture. He also taught in Toronto’s graduate-level urban design program.

Contact on-campus reporter Amanda Garrett at [email protected].