Vanegas takes helm as interim dean
of Texas A&M College of Architecture


Architecture professor Jorge Vanegas, director of Texas A&M University’s Center for Housing and Urban Development, was appointed interim dean of the College of Architecture Wednesday, July 9 by university president Elsa A. Murano.

The appointment, effective Aug. 1, was announced at a Wednesday morning gathering of College of Architecture faculty and staff by Jerry Strawser, then Texas A&M’s interim provost and executive vice president for academics.

Strawser said Vanegas, as interim dean, is expected to “move forward aggressively” and continue to “build on the momentum” the college has gained under the leadership of outgoing dean, Tom Regan, whose deanship began in 1998.

The interim dean will not be a placeholder, Strawser said.

“As many of you are aware, a search for a successor for Dean Tom Regan has been under way since last fall,” Murano wrote in a statement issued the day Vanegas’ appointment was announced. “The search committee identified several candidates, but after a thorough review of the input provided by the faculty, staff and students of the college, none of them proved to be the best fit for Texas A&M and our current and future needs.”

The search for a permanent dean will be renewed this fall under the direction of Jeffrey S. Vitter, who on Aug. 15, if approved by The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents, will become Texas A&M’s new provost and executive vice president for academics.

Vanegas has been a member of the Texas A&M faculty since accepting the CHUD directorship in 2006. He previously held faculty appointments for 12 years in the Construction Engineering and Management Program at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and for five years in the School of Civil Engineering at Purdue University.

“Dr. Vanegas is an excellent choice to serve as interim dean of the college,” said Regan, who will remain at Texas A&M as a professor of architecture. “We are a global college, and his international reputation will aid in advancing our worldwide focus. We are dedicated to sustainable design, and his research ranks him among the most knowledgeable green thinkers. We integrate the built-environment disciplines, and his education as an architect and a constructor gives him the understanding of, and commitment to, interdisciplinary teaching and research.”

A registered architect in Colombia, Vanegas holds a degree in architecture from Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, as well as Master of Science and doctorate degrees in construction engineering and management from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University. His primary areas of expertise include built environment sustainability and advanced strategies, tools, and methods for integrated capital asset delivery. His scholarly focus also includes management, creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship for the architecture, engineering and construction industry.

A widely published scholar and author, he has garnered more than $3.7 million in external funding for 52 different research projects. His work has appeared in 120 publications, including technical refereed journals, conference proceedings and technical reports.

Vanegas is a member of numerous professional organizations, among them the American Institute of Architects and the American Society of Civil Engineering, and serves as a board member for the FIATECH Consortium, an Austin-based nonprofit group focused on development and deployment of technologies dedicated to improving how capital projects and facilities are designed, engineered, built and maintained. He has also worked as a consultant and advisor to a variety of businesses, governments and organizations throughout the world, including the International Center for Sustainable Development of the City of Knowledge in Panama.

Among Vanegas’ numerous professional honors, he earned the 2007 FIATECH STAR Award for Superior Technical Achievements, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers 2001 Educator of the Year Award, the 1995 Outstanding Instructor Award from the Construction Industry Institute, and in 1992 the National Science Foundation named him a National Young Investigator

Upon being introduced as the interim dean appointee, Vanegas told College of Architecture faculty and staff that he’ll strive to “create a work environment in the college based on respect, trust, and commitment to the college.”

“You build on the strengths, you build on the history, you build on the talent, you build on the foundation that is in place, and,” he added, “you take it to whatever levels everybody wants to go.”

Vanegas cited his work in “all kinds of industries, from oil, petrochemical and gas, all the way to homebuilding,” among his many qualifications to lead the diverse faculty at the college, which today offers 13 degree programs through its four departments: architecture, construction science, visualization and landscape architecture and urban planning.  He also noted that he brings to the interim dean’s post many significant relationships that he has established and nurtured since joining the Texas A&M faculty.

“I have dealt with the board of regents, The Texas A&M University System and the system’s Office of Technology Commercialization, the secretary of state’s office, the attorney general’s office, and many state agencies that support the efforts of the Center for Housing and Urban Development, including the U.S. Congress,” he said.

“I’m saying this not to impress you but just to let you know that what I have been entrusted with is not in the hands of a novice, but rather in the hands of someone who understands the system.”

Vanegas said is goal as interim dean is one of stewardship “for whatever time it takes to find the best dean for the college.” Referring to a dictionary, he defined stewardship as “the conducting, supervising, or managing of something, the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.”

“I was entrusted with a very big honor, which I will keep to the highest level of the respect that it demands,” he said, concluding his remarks. “I was entrusted with a heck of a responsibility; a responsibility to our students, a responsibility to our faculty, especially the untenured ones, a responsibility to our centers and our departments, and a responsibility to our staff in the college.”

“I am still processing the magnitude of the honor, responsibility, and opportunity of this interim appointment, but like everything I have ever done in my life, I will face it with lots of energy, passion, and a commitment to serve, while earning the respect and trust of the faculty, students, staff, former students, and friends of the College.”


Media contact:       Phillip Rollfing
                                    Director of Communications
                                    Texas A&M College of Architecture
                                    979.458.0442 or

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