Former Architecture School Dean Karen Van Lengen Wins Zintl Leadership Award

August 26, 2010 — Karen Van Lengen, former dean of the School of Architecture, will receive the University of Virginia's Elizabeth Zintl Leadership Award on Oct. 13.

Van Lengen, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Architecture, will be celebrated at a reception from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the auditorium of the Harrison Institute/Small Special Collections Library.

Sponsored by the U.Va. Women's Center, the Zintl Award honors women at the University who have shown a high degree of professionalism, creativity and commitment in their work at the University. The award is named for the leadership and service of Elizabeth Zintl, the late writer and journalist who served as former President John T. Casteen III's chief of staff until her death in 1997.

"I am thrilled about receiving this particular award from the University community," Van Lengen said. "It is a significant acknowledgement of my tenure as dean and I am deeply appreciative of this recognition."

Among the first female deans at U.Va., Van Lengen led the Architecture School from 1999 to 2009, solidifying its place as an eminent institution for the comprehensive study and design of the environment. In the 2006 Design Intelligence rankings of graduate programs, the graduate program in the Department of Architecture ranked third in the nation and the program in landscape architecture ranked fifth.

"Her role gave her visibility," said Marcia Day Childress, director of humanities programs in the School of Medicine's Center for Biomedical Ethics and Humanities, who served on the committee that selected Van Lengen. As dean, "she was an effective leader and an effective fundraiser. All the while, she continued her private practice."

A supporter and teacher of sustainable techniques, Van Lengen co-founded U.Va.'s first comprehensive program on environmental sustainability. Several collaborative student and faculty projects emphasizing sustainable design have won national awards.

Van Lengen promoted an unprecedented program, "Campbell Constructions," using faculty designers to transform the school's home, Campbell Hall, and its landscapes. The 12,000 square feet of additions accommodated the school's growth since Campbell Hall opened in 1970. Each design also makes a statement about what architecture and architecture education mean.

When the buildings opened two years ago, Stuart N. Siegel, president of the U.Va. School of Architecture Foundation's Board of Trustees, lauded Van Lengen as the "driving force" on the project and as dean for the past decade. "This building is a tremendous legacy of your deanship," he said.

Van Lengen also founded "Women's Work," a popular University-wide lecture series that promotes the scholarship of women.

"During my years at U.Va., I have had an abiding commitment to the promotion of  the work of women faculty at the University," Van Lengen said. "This year the Women's Work initiative will move to the Provost's Office, ensuring its continuation and healthy development in the future. I am so pleased about this."

Van Lengen is the 15th recipient of the Zintl Leadership Award, supported by a gift from the late David A. Harrison III. To attend the reception, R.S.V.P. to Zoe Krylova at zoezoe@virginia.edu by Oct. 6.