On behalf of our entire academic community, I would like to welcome you to the Fall 2020 semester at the Illinois School of Architecture, especially to the new graduate and undergraduate students and the nine visiting professors who will share our studios, classrooms, and yes, Zoom screens. Our School is honored to feature innovative design studios and seminars taught by Rodrigo Vidal from Argentina, Marcos Barinas from the Dominican Republic, Cruz García from Puerto Rico, Nathalie Frankowski from France, Dannielly Staback from Venezuela, as well as Sergi Serrat and Nuria Sabaté from Barcelona, and Trina Sandschafer from Chicago, who will be this years' Distinguished Visiting Professor.

As we undertake the new academic year, it is imperative that we also recognize and celebrate that two of our students won the prestigious 2020 Chicago Award in Architecture. The proposal from Prof. Sara Bartumeus' graduate studio by Bryan J. Samuel and Shweta Krishnan was selected among 25 entries from the Illinois Institute of Technology, the University of Illinois-Chicago, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Our stellar faculty continues to lead through key academic and professional organizations: Dr. Lynne Dearborn is the new President of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, Dr. AnnaMarie Bliss won the ARCC Dissertation Award, Randy Deutsch was recently invested into the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects, Dr. Kathy Anthony received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Chicago Women in Architecture and I am honored to serve as the incoming Chancellor of ACSA's College Of Distinguished Professors.

This unprecedented COVID pandemic has tested the resiliency of our university and our school. While I am convinced the temporary hybrid and on-line solutions are by no means an adequate substitute for the face-to-face pedagogical model, especially in our design studios, we will continue to confront this challenge with academic rigor and technological prowess. Rest assure that every academic and administrative decision will have your health, safety and wellbeing as our outmost priority.

Illinois not only boasts the oldest public school of architecture in the US, but also Ricker Report, the oldest student-run publication in architecture, and we eagerly encourage you to participate in our various extracurricular organizations.

Once again, welcome to Illinois! Almost 150 years after Nathan Ricker became the first architecture graduate in the United States, I look forward to saluting you as we begin to write a more diverse and inclusive chapter in our School's history. 

 Francisco Javier Rodríguez, FAIA                                                                                                                                 Director and Clayton T. Miers Professor in Architecture                                                                                                           ACSA Distinguished Professor