With the pending restructuring of the College of Architecture and the Hixson-Lied College of Fine & Performing Arts, it’s worth stepping back and reflecting on a significant segment of the College of Architecture’s heritage – the tenure of Linus Burr Smith, FAIA – Chairman of the Department of Architecture for 30 years (1934-1964).
At the age of 35, Linus Burr Smith was appointed Chairman of the Department of Architecture at the University of Nebraska. His curriculum vita was impressive – educated at Kansas State University, Harvard University and the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He taught and practiced in Kansas for 10 years before joining the faculty at the University of Nebraska in 1934.
Burr was a man of many talents – an accomplished design architect, a renowned artist particularly in watercolor, a commanding knowledge of architecture history and design styles, a philosopher and a respected administrator. Between 1948 and the mid 50’s he was at least partially responsible for the design of five major buildings on the University campus. His affability and quick wit made him one of the most colorful characters on campus. But for those who experienced Burr during his 30-plus year tenure, it was his passion for teaching and his lectures on architectural history and design that inspired a whole generation of young architects at UNL.