Obituary: George Anselevicius, former dean of architecture school, 85

George Anselevicius, former dean of the School of Architecture, died Oct. 2 of injuries suffered during a fall at his home in Albuquerque, N.M. He was 85.

Born in Lithuania in 1923, Anselevicius was sent to England by his family in 1938. In 1946, he graduated from the School of Architecture in Leeds and, the following year, immigrated to the United States.

He worked as a designer for Skidmore Owings and Merrill in Chicago and Minoru Yamasaki in Detroit and, in 1949, received his first teaching job, at Chicago’s Institute of Design.

Anselevicius joined the faculty in 1957 as an assistant professor and soon established a practice with fellow professor Roger Montgomery, director of architecture’s Urban Renewal Design Center, who would later become dean at the University of California, Berkeley. The firm would receive several design awards for projects in the area.

In 1959, Anselevicius was promoted to associate professor and, in 1962, was made full professor. In 1967, he became acting dean of architecture and, the following year, was named dean, a position he held until 1973.

“It was the period of the student advocacy movement,” Ancelevicius recalled in a short memoir published in “Modern Architecture in St. Louis: Washington University & Postwar American Architecture 1948-1973” (2004). “The school took its responsibilities to the community seriously and responded through work in underprivileged areas.”

Initiatives included urban design research in Missouri and abroad as well as the Community Design Workshop and collaborative programs with the schools of social work and business.

“George was the senior architecture design studio instructor on faculty and a leading modernist,” said Dinos Michaelides, who served as associate dean under Anselevicius before succeeding him as dean. “He also had enormous energy and a sense of humor that served the school well. In the late 1960s, he would walk around Givens Hall and loudly declare that ‘If any students want to take over my office, I’ll surrender!'”

After leaving St. Louis, Anselevicius served as chair of architecture at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design and later helped establish the architecture program at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

In 1981, he was appointed dean of the University of New Mexico School of Architecture and Planning, retiring in 1993.

Anselevicius was preceded in death by his wife, Evelyn, an internationally known tapestry artist, who passed away in 2003.