The Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) has named Sarah Whiting its new dean. The architect and educator, who has served as Rice Architecture dean since 2010, will step into the role on July 1, 2019.
“The GSD has long been a center of gravity for my thinking and actions, and I’m thrilled to be returning,” Whiting said. “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.”
At Rice, Whiting has led efforts to reform the curriculum, introduce novel studio options, enhance existing facilities, recruit new faculty, and boost funding for research. “Schools need to push architecture forward,” she told RECORD in 2014. “We need to see how ideas developed here can become manifest in the field.”
Harvard President Lawrence S. Bacow praised Whiting as an “outstanding scholar, educator, and architect with broad interests that range across the design disciplines and beyond,” highlighting her “keen understanding of design as a force for shaping the communities we inhabit and for engaging with some of contemporary society’s hardest challenges.”
Whiting received her M.Arch. from Princeton University and her Ph.D. in architectural history, theory, and criticism from MIT. In 1999, she founded her firm WW Architecture with partner Ron Witte. She was a GSD faculty member from 1999 to 2005, then returned to Princeton as an assistant professor from 2005 to 2009.
In 2017, she won a Women in Architecture award from Architectural Record for her work as an educator.
Whiting will succeed Mohsen Mostafavi, who will step down from the deanship at the end of this semester after 11 years in the role.