College of Environmental Design Dean Chakrabarti to Step Down

September 21, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

It is with great sadness that we share the news that Vishaan Chakrabarti, dean of the College of Environmental Design, will step down effective November 5. He is currently on leave tending to a pandemic-related health issue involving a family member. Dean Chakrabarti will retain his faculty position as a professor in the Department of Architecture, although he is expected to be on leave from that post until January 1, 2023.

Vishaan was named dean in 2019 and assumed his role in August 2020. He made an enormous mark on the college over the past year, even in the midst of a global pandemic, not the least of which was renaming the college home Bauer Wurster Hall to reflect the contributions of Catherine Bauer Wurster In addition, under his leadership, the college had its best fundraising year ever, bringing in more than $17 million to support college priorities.

Those gifts included a major contribution to fund theArcus Social Justice Corps, a four-year fellowship program aimed at providing a debt-free graduate education as well as a gift from Nancy and Douglas Abbey to endow and name the Masters in Real Estate Development + Design program. His leadership in college-wide initiatives will leave a lasting impact as he led the restructuring of the Institute of Urban and Regional Development. His organization of college administration was also significant as he prioritized hiring a number of faculty and senior staff while simultaneously steering the college toward financial stability. Vishaan also initiated a new, far more accessible website for the college that will soon launch.

Beyond the college, Vishaan served on the Capital Planning Committee and the Design Review Committee for the University, helping us to advance our goals of a more equitable, sustainable and beautiful physical campus. In addition, he provided vital leadership and had collaborative partnerships with his fellow deans.

Professor Renee Chow, chair of the Department of Architecture, has been serving as acting dean since Vishaan began his leave. Renee has graciously agreed to continue serving in this role for the remainder of the semester as we determine how best to proceed. 

Please join us in thanking Dean Chakrabarti for his service and wishing him well.

Carol T. Christ

Catherine P. Koshland
Interim Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost