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Marilyn Jordan Taylor: Dean of School of Design
May 27, 2008, Volume 54, No. 34



Marilyn Jordan Taylor has been named dean of the School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania, effective October  1. The announcement was made by President Amy Gutmann and Provost Ron Daniels.

Ms. Taylor, partner in charge of the Urban Design and Planning Practice at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, and the first woman to serve as chairman of the firm, is internationally known for her involvement in the design of large-scale urban projects and civic initiatives. During a 35-year career with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Ms. Taylor has led many of the firm’s largest and most complex projects around the world. 

She was also the first architect and the first woman to serve as chairman of the Urban Land Institute, a non-profit research and educational institution, where she championed a renewed focus on cities, sustainable communities and infrastructure investment.

“Marilyn Jordan Taylor brings a deep understanding of the contemporary professional design world and a timely vision of the future of design education,” President Gutmann said. “She is deeply committed to the central importance of recruiting the next generation of faculty and raising the funds needed to ensure the School of Design’s future eminence. We are confident that she will provide the vigorous and visionary leadership needed to enhance PennDesign’s already leading position in the professions of architecture, city planning, fine arts, historic preservation and landscape architecture.”

“Marilyn Taylor’s global stature,” Provost Daniels said, “is complemented by her proven ability to interact easily with constituencies across communities, government, industry and academia, both locally and internationally.  She is a leader who exudes not only intellectual breadth but also deep enthusiasm and compassion in her dedication to enhancing the vitality of urban communities through design.” 

“As Dean, Marilyn Taylor will have the opportunity to build on the extraordinary improvement and growth in the School of Design’s faculty, professional stature, educational programs, and research and practice activities under Dean Gary Hack, who will formally complete his 12-year term on June 30, 2008. We are delighted to announce that Gary has graciously agreed to extend his term through September 30, in order to facilitate a smooth transition in the leadership of the School,” added President Gutmann.

Ms. Taylor, an expert in using public space and infrastructure to shape urban districts and civic places, has led Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s Urban Design and Planning Practice in such projects as Columbia University’s Manhattanville Master Plan, the East River Waterfront Master Plan, the reclamation of Con Ed’s East River sites for mixed-use development, the new research building at Memorial Sloan-Kettering and the new urban campus for John Jay College. 

She founded and leads Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s Airports and Transportation Practice, working on projects such as Terminal 4 at JFK airport, Continental Airlines at Newark and the expansion of Washington’s Dulles. Her international projects include SkyCity at Hong Kong International Airport and the Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. Ms. Taylor’s transit work has ranged from the award-winning Changi Airport Station in Singapore to the Transit-Friendly Land Use Handbook for New Jersey Transit.

She has served as a member of The Partnership for NYC, president of the NYC chapter of the American Institute of Architects and a visiting professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. She is a founding member of the NY New Visions Design and Planning Coalition and serves on the Advisory Board of the Penn Institute for Urban Research.

Ms. Taylor is an Iowa native and a 1969 graduate of Radcliffe College. She attended the MIT Graduate School of Architecture and received her master of architecture degree in 1974 from the University of California, Berkeley.









Almanac - May 27, 2008, Volume 54, No. 34