Pauline Saliga, FSAH
Citation by Richard W. Longstreth
Twenty, yes twenty, years ago, I had recently joined the executive committee and, with my colleagues Patricia Waddy and Keith Morgan, was working on the challenges of moving the Society from Philadelphia to Chicago. Securing a firstrate executive director was a paramount concern. We received numerous very solid applications, but Pauline Saliga’s stood out. There was no doubt in our minds. Our main worry: how long will she stay. I remarked that she was likely to accomplish more in five years than many others would in ten.
Well, here we are, twenty, yes, twenty years later, and SAH is still the beneficiary of Pauline’s rigorous, astute, imaginative, and gentle leadership. Thirty years ago SAH was a rather stodgy organization, to which many of us were still devoted. Stodgy no more. It is young, dynamic, innovative, while maintaining exceptionally high standards. It has become in some respects a truly international organization. It has revived the Buildings of the United States series full throttle. It has continued to set the industry standard with JSAH. It has undertaken pathbreaking initiatives in the digital realm. Many, many people have contributed to these programs, but I think Pauline’s role has been central. She has been the driver to push the Society into new realms, and she has been the glue that has held it together. Under her leadership, between 2008 and 2010 alone, SAH has secured several million dollars in grants, a major endowment, the $1.25 million H. Allen Brooks Travelling Fellowship, and the $263,000 Donald Perry bequest.
Pauline has for so long been the eminence at SAH some of you might not realize how much she accomplished before 1995 as a curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and then as associate curator of architecture at the Art Institute. She has written numerous catalogues and books, including The Sky’s the Limit: A Century of Chicago Skyscrapers and, my favorite, Design for the Continuous Present: The Architecture of Bruce Goff.
I could say much more, but I don’t think I have to. Many of you who have had the good fortune to work with Pauline know her extraordinary talents and know how much she has given to SAH.