Retiring dean to be missed, not forgotten [with video]

Dylan Boyle

At the end of the 2009 school year, Mark Engelbrecht, dean of the College of Design, will retire after 14 years at Iowa State University.

“He’s been great to work for,” said Nicole Tupy, program assistant for the design administration, who has worked with the dean for two years.

“He knows so many people, and so many people are always excited to see him,” she said. “He will definitely be missed.”

Over the years, Engelbrecht has accomplished many things, but said he is most proud of the overall expansion of the Design College.

“What I’m most proud of is, while I’ve been at work here, we’ve developed into a real collegiate culture, and I feel that this is a distinct and distinguished place.” Engelbrecht said.

One of the biggest accomplishments Engelbrecht said he has made is fostering mostly nationally ranked programs within the Design College and expanding each student’s potential every year.

During his deanship, Engelbrecht worked to expand the design building itself as well as improving the design programs in place.

“We’ve advanced the information technologies pretty significantly here into a wireless laptop-driven environment that was totally new – we’ve added facilities, and we’re in the process of [builiding] construction right now,” Engelbrecht said. “We’ve turned the study abroad programs into something that I think we’re known for. That’s been an accomplishment I’m particularly proud of.”

He said he’s also proud of the money he has raised for the college and said he will continue to be involved and raise money for the college instead of “vanishing into the night.”

Engelbrecht wants to pursue several outreach projects through the college after retirement, specifically with the University of China.

“Beyond that, who knows,” Engelbrecht said. “I have a great affection for Rome and our program in Rome, so I hope to spend some more time there.”

Along with overseas ventures, Engelbrecht says he will remain involved with his architecture firm as well.

Engelbrecht says his best memories will always be of the faculty and students in the Design college.

“The best memories are watching the younger faculty and senior faculty thrive. We have faculty that have been nationally and internationally recognized for their work. But probably more importantly is to see the students every commencement and to look at their work in the reviews,” Engelbrecht said. “It’s really remarkable stuff, and it’s a memory that is going to last a longtime.”

Engelbrecht said the only advice he would give to his successor is to make sure to take advantage of new opportunities.

“This is a job that is done in discovering and always being on the outlook of opportunities,” Engelbrecht said. “You have to always look upcourt. There’s always something happening up there, and you have to be ready to seize it.”