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Obituary: Thomas Gordon Smith (1948-2021)

by Dennis Brown | Jun 28, 2021

Thomas Gordon Smith, professor emeritus and former chair in the School of Architecture at the University of Notre Dame, died Wednesday (June 23). He was 73.

After earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of California at Berkeley, Smith established his own architectural practice and taught at the College of Marin, UCLA, Yale University and the University of Illinois at Chicago before coming to Notre Dame in 1989 as a professor and chair.

As a Rome Prize Fellow in Architecture at the American Academy in Rome in 1979-80, Smith became committed to the profession of classical architecture and brought that tradition to Notre Dame. Under his direction, the classical curricula at the University quickly became regarded as the leader in higher education and at the forefront of a resurgence in classicism in American architecture, prompting The New York Times in 1995 to describe Notre Dame as “the Athens of the new movement.”

Thomas Gordon Smith brought a new vision to the architecture program at Notre Dame, and brought me and many of my colleagues to the University,” Michael Lykoudis, professor and former dean, said. “We all owe much to Thomas; he was a valued colleague and a friend. He was instrumental in rebuilding a culture of classical and traditional architecture that went beyond style, to the heart of what it means to be an architect in contemporary society.”

Read full University of Notre Dame obituary here
Read Family obituary here

Thomas Gordon Smith served on the SAH Board 1979-1982, and as a Session Chair for the 1992 SAH Annual Conference.  

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