Renowned Conservationist Robert L. Pressey Appointed as Thomas Jefferson Foundation Visiting Professor for 2006-2007 Academic Year

December 01, 2006
Dec. 1, 2006 -- Robert L. Pressey, an internationally acclaimed conservation biologist in the field of systematic environmental planning, has been appointed to a Thomas Jefferson Foundation Visiting Professorship in the University of Virginia’s School of Architecture. Pressey’s appointment will further strengthen the University’s commitment to ongoing and emerging initiatives in environmental studies and conservation.

Architecture school dean Karen Van Lengen, said, “We are so pleased that Bob Pressey will coming to U.Va. as the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Professor this coming year. His groundbreaking work in the area of biodiversity and conservation planning will serve to embellish our academic mission in the architecture school, particularly in the areas of urban and environmental planning and landscape architecture. In addition, the staff of our Institute for Environmental Negotiation will collaborate with Pressey during his visit. The environmental issues that he brings to international attention are both timely and extremely important for the future of the planet. We are honored to host him during his visit to Virginia.”

Pressey is widely known as a pioneer of systematic environmental planning, a subfield of conservation biology that focuses on the development of comprehensive strategies for environmental conservation. He created C-Plan, an influential decision support software program that assists in protected area prioritization and design.  C-Plan is used by major non-governmental organizations and governments alike and has been implemented in such countries as Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Guyana, Namibia, South Africa and the United States.

“Pressey is a major figure in conservation science internationally. “It will be a great opportunity and a pleasure for us to have him here,” said Timothy Beatley, the Teresa Heinz Professor of Sustainable Communities. During Pressey’s time at U.Va., he and Beatley will organize a global conference to bring together a group of the world’s leading conservation planners for productive discussions with each other, and with students and faculty.

Pressey will join the faculty of the Department of Urban and Environmental Planning in December 2006. But it won’t be his first time at U.Va. In September 2005, U.Va.’s Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies partnered with Conservation International to bring Pressey to the University as part of its lecture series on “Environment, Conservation and Culture.” Pressey spoke on “Systematic Conservation Planning: Achievements, Limitations and Messages for Practitioners” and taught a two-day seminar. Ariel Gomez, vice president for research and graduate studies, worked closely with Van Lengen to bring Pressey back to the University, and noted that Pressey’s appointment will stimulate interaction among U.Va.’s already strong environment and conservation programs and add to the University’s international visibility. “Along with institutional partnerships, such as our partnership with Conservation International, Pressey’s projects at U.Va. will provide unique research and education opportunities that can make a real difference in global biodiversity conservation,” Gomez said.

“Pressey’s reputation is at the very top of the international field, and he will be a great addition to the already active work on-going here at U.Va. His work in conservation planning very nicely complements our work in regional-scale ecosystem dynamics. Interdisciplinary connections such as these have great potential for innovative contributions to improved environmental policy, particularly in protected areas and reserves,” noted Hank Shugart, William W. Corcoran Professor in the Environmental Studies department and director of the Center for Regional Environmental Studies.

Pressey’s current research program is expansive — in both scientific and geographic scope — and continues to push the boundaries of conservation science. He serves as a level E research associate with the Ecology Centre at the University of Queensland in Australia. He has received numerous awards for his work, including the 2004 New South Wales Premier’s Public Sector Award – Environment, the 2002 Royal Botanic Gardens Eureka Prize for Biodiversity Research that revolutionized the identification of priority areas for nature conservation and the 2001 Edward T. LaRoe III Award from the Society for Conservation Biology for outstanding contributions to the conservation of biological resources. He also serves on the editorial boards of Biological Conservation and Conservation Biology.

The Thomas Jefferson Foundation Visiting Professorship was established in 1965 to invite distinguished practitioners to lecture and teach at the University of Virginia during the academic year. For a complete list of past winners of the Thomas Jefferson Visiting Professorship, visit For more information about the U.Va. School of Architecture, please contact Derry Wade, director of publications at (434) 982-2921.


2005     ·     Michael Vergason, Alexandria, Virginia
2004     ·     Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, New York, New York
2003     ·     Rick Mather, London, England
2002     ·     Juhani Pallasmaa, Helsinki, Finland
2001     ·     William P. Bruder, Phoenix, Arizona
2000     ·     William Morrish, Minneapolis, Minnesota
1999     ·     William Mitchell, Cambridge, Massachusetts
1998     ·     Glenn Murcutt, Sydney, Australia
1997     ·     Michael Graves, Princeton, New Jersey
1996     ·     Vincent Scully, New Haven, Connecticut
1995     ·     Werner Seligmann, Syracuse, New York
1994     ·     Adele Naude Santos, San Diego, California
1993     ·     Laurie Olin, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1992     ·     Rodolfo Machado, Boston, Massachusetts
1991     ·     Kenneth Frampton, New York, New York
1990     ·     Tod Williams, New York, New York
1989     ·     Henry Smith-Miller, New York, New York
1988     ·     Dan Kiley, Charlotte, Vermont
1986     ·     Michael Dennis, Cambridge, Massachusetts
1986     ·     H.H.P. Van Ginkel, Toronto, Canada
1985     ·     Edward Logue, Lincoln, Massachusetts
1985     ·     Demetri Porphyrios, London, England
1984     ·     Joseph Passonneau, Washington, D.C.
1984     ·     Colin Rowe, Ithaca, New York
1983     ·     Leon Krier, London, England
1982     ·     Barton Myers, Toronto, Canada
1981     ·     Robert B. Marquis, San Francisco, California
1981     ·     Edward Larrabee Barnes, New York, New York
1980     ·     Romaldo Giurgola, New York, New York
1980     ·     Hugh A. Stubbins, Cambridge, Massachusetts
1979     ·     Giorgio Bellavitis, Venice, Italy
1979     ·     Harry Seidler, Sydney, Australia
1978     ·     Norman C. Fletcher, Cambridge, Massachusetts
1978     ·     Theodore Waddell, Florence, Italy
1977     ·     Lawrence Anderson, Boston, Massachusetts
1976     ·     Shivnath Prasad, New Delhi, India
1975     ·     Alexander Cochran, Baltimore, Maryland
1975     ·     Peter Faller, Stuttgart, Germany
1974     ·     Anderson Todd, Houston, Texas
1973     ·     Jean Labatut, Princeton, New Jersey
1972     ·     Lewis Mumford, Amenia, New York
1971     ·     Jose Luis Sert
1970     ·     Alan Y. Taniguchi, University of Texas
1970     ·     Robert L. Vickery, Washington University
1969     ·     John Ely Burchard, Boston, Massachusetts
1968     ·     Marcel Breuer, New York, New York
1967     ·     O'Neil Ford, San Antonio, Texas
1967     ·     Ralph Rapson, University of Minnesota
1966     ·     Pietro Belluschi, Boston, Massachusetts
1966     ·     Felix Candela, Mexico City, Mexico