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    President Mahesh Daas Reappointed to Second Term at The Boston Architectural College

    By thebacboston
    Jul 8, '24 12:28 PM EST

    The Boston Architectural College (BAC) proudly announces the reappointment of Dr. Mahesh Daas to a second five-year term starting Monday, July 1, 2024. President Daas expressed his gratitude, stating, "I am deeply honored by this reappointment by the Board of Trustees and extend heartfelt thanks to the staff and faculty whose tireless efforts have contributed to our combined achievements. The BAC’s values resonate with my experiences as a first-generation student, immigrant, and person of color in the design field. My time here has been incredibly fulfilling, personally and professionally, and I am dedicated to advancing our mission, collaborating with all members of our community, and realizing our vision of expanding access to design education immersed in innovative practices."

    Under President Daas's leadership, the BAC community has embraced a progressive "BAC to the Future" strategic plan, ensuring equitable opportunities in architecture and design. With his leadership, the College has achieved significant milestones, including improvements in student success, retention, graduation rates, and enrollment, which has reached a ten-year peak. Notably, in 2023, the BAC celebrated its first majority-minority graduating class—solidifying its status as an emerging Hispanic-serving institution.

    At the start of his tenure, President Daas adeptly navigated the institution through the unprecedented challenges of the global pandemic. His proactive support led to the launch of the BAC Cloud Canopy™ as part of the BAC’s Mixed Reality Masterplan™. This initiative expanded global access to BAC resources, including the largest faculty headcount at any institution of architecture and design in the country, and provides seamless connectivity to the "college in the cloud" from any device, anytime, anywhere.

    President Daas also reinvigorated philanthropy at the college by introducing the Daas-Langley Framework of Advancement. This strategic framework facilitated the establishment of the BAC Alumni Advisory Council, the annual BAC Talks alumni symposium, and the BAC Grove mentorship program. These efforts significantly bolstered the College's fundraising outcomes, tripling them in just five years and securing its first two seven-figure gifts.

    President Mahesh Daas and Alumni gather before heading over to catch a Red Sox Game

    “President Daas's distinguished career as a professor, author, designer, scholar, and higher education administrator has enabled him to advance the BAC while positioning it to excel in an ever-changing global environment,” said Judith Nitsch, P.E., Chair of the Board of Trustees. “Since we hired him in 2019, he has reshaped the institution on multiple fronts—advancing its mission of excellence and access— and helped transform the BAC into a top-ranked college and one of the most diverse, inclusive, and innovative design institutions in the country. The growth in applications, increase in student body, additions of programs, and improvement in retention are the excellent results of his actions.”

    This rise in national influence has seen the BAC welcome Pritzker Prize laureates such as the late Balkrishna Doshi, Billie Tsien, Daniel Libeskind, and Tatiana Bilbao with honorary doctorates in Design. Additionally, the institution continues to host major international exhibitions featuring the works of acclaimed architects including Moshe Safdie, Balkrishna Doshi, Todd Williams and Billie Tsien, Walter Hood, and others.

    As a recurring speaker on Boston’s GBH’s, The Culture Show, Dr. Daas has been featured as a keynote speaker on higher education leadership, innovation, urbanism, AI, robotics, and cricket. Indeed, Boston Magazine hailed “The BAC’s Mahesh Daas is on a Mission to Reinvent Design Education.” Under his visionary stewardship, the BAC has become an influential force and a think tank in shaping the critical challenges facing Boston and beyond.

    President Mahesh Dass and BAC Staff at the top of the Prudential Tower.

    With a commitment to expanding global connections, the BAC strengthened partnerships with colleges in Toronto, Canada; Medellin, Colombia; Shanghai, China; and created new relationships with key institutions in Vijayawada, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Ahmedabad, India. These collaborations offer students immersive learning experiences fostering interactions with diverse designers and researchers, essential for addressing global challenges such as climate change, social injustices, and urban proliferation through design education.

    Within the realm of design education, design literacy remains central to President Daas’s strategic vision. The BAC's flagship Summer Academy, celebrating its 50th anniversary, offers high school-age students opportunities to learn design from leading professionals in a studio-like setting onsite or online. Committed to diversity and inclusion, the program provides scholarships ensuring all students can pursue their passion for design. In the last five years, Summer Academy has grown five-fold to over 150 students, now one of the country's largest of its kind. Three years ago the BAC launched the Urban Design and Planning Fellowship in partnership with the Boston Planning and Development Authority, providing Boston high school-age students from underserved communities valuable insight into the professions and policies that fundamentally shape their communities.

    President Mahesh Daas and Summer Academy students.

    President Daas's first five years have been marked by a myriad of initiatives, showcasing his strategic vision in enhancing the BAC's academic programs, expanding global influence, and deepening community engagement. From pioneering curricular innovations and fostering interdisciplinary collaboration to forging strategic partnerships and advocating for inclusivity and sustainability in design education, he consistently pushes boundaries to keep the BAC at the forefront of architectural education and societal impact.

    As evidence of this progress, the BAC was recently ranked the 4th best architecture college in America by Niche—only Cornell University, Rice University, and Washington University in St. Louis ranked higher. Following the BAC in the comprehensive outcomes-based rankings are other prestigious institutions, including SCIArc, UC Berkeley, Yale University, the University of Southern California, Virginia Tech, and Carnegie Mellon. This recognition positions the BAC as the highest-ranking independent architecture and design school in the country, and the top architecture institution in New England, as well as the highest-ranking diverse institution nationwide.

    Reflecting on the accomplishments over the past five years, the BAC community deeply values President Daas’s collaborative commitment to excellence. As we approach our College’s next milestone, its 135th anniversary, we are united in leveraging these achievements to foster innovation, entrepreneurship, and inspire the next generation of architects and designers, and advance our mission to diversify the design professions.

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The #BACbuzz blog will help to inform, educate, and share relevant and noteworthy architectural and design news happening within the Boston Architectural College and around the Boston community.

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