To the CED Community:
I am truly honored to return to the College of Environmental Design, this time not as an architecture student, but as your Dean. As I begin my tenure, the world is at an inflection point like no other. The intertwined challenges unfolding before our eyes—from the righteous calls on city streets for racial, economic, and environmental justice; to the disproportionate impacts of this global pandemic on black and brown communities; to the promise and pitfalls of new technologies; to the fraying sense of a public commons shred apart by neoliberalism; to a teetering worldwide economy increasingly susceptible to fascism; to the relentless drumbeat of climate change ever rising in the background—these swirling forces envelop us and push us to do better, to do the right thing, and to do so together. The nature of today’s challenges demand our values-driven disciplinary expertise, built upon the twin pillars of design and research excellence, placing a particular responsibility on the CED community to imagine, create consensus around, and build a new global environment centered on Sustainability, Equity, and Accessibility—a SEAchange that demands we see change. Our tumultuous world needs to be infused with hope for all as we fight to remake the future of human habitation...and because of who we are and what we stand for, we, my friends, are the tip of the spear.
From founders Catherine Bauer and William Wurster, to our former Dean Jennifer Wolch and our most recent Acting Dean Renee Chow, our past leaders have built an extraordinary foundation upon which we can advance impactful, lasting, and values-based change despite the vast imperfections of our past, present, and future. All institutions are imperfect, but institutions remain our best defense against tyranny and ignorance. Together, our college—outside of and hopefully soon within the beautiful brutality of Wurster Hall—will continue to prioritize excellence in our design, research, and teaching missions centered on equity, diversity, and anti-racism, and in doing so we will continue to make groundbreaking contributions to our collective fields through scholarship, design, and interdisciplinary innovation focused on justice. No virus can stop us from this, our shared calling.
I couldn’t be more inspired to be leading the College, where our impassioned students, faculty, staff, and alumni are striving to make the future a better, fairer, and more joyous place despite the many stresses of our current conditions. I am so very proud of the resilience and revolutionary zeal of our community. And yet we are at a moment when we must all, in our judgements, be toughest first upon ourselves before turning our critiques outwards. We must be open to change rather than rest on our laurels, and we must look to the needs of others before our own. I hope you will join me in this commitment, because then and only then will we be fully prepared to confront the bad troubles of our world by making, in the immortal words of John Lewis, “good trouble.”
William W. Wurster Dean
Find this message on CED's About Page, here.