Two School of Architecture + Design faculty, in Virginia Tech's College of Architecture and Urban Studies, have been named by the Design and Futures Council and the journal DesignIntelligence as two of 28 educators most admired and respected in the fields of interior design, interior architecture, architecture, design, architectural engineering, industrial design, and landscape architecture.

Ron Kemnitzer, an industrial design professor, wins this designation for the first time this year. Gene Egger, who is the Nancy and Patrick Lathrop Professor of Architecture and the College of Architecture and Urban Studies director of special programs, wins this designation for the second time in a row.

Kemnitzer, of Blacksburg, received a master’s degree from Northern Illinois University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati.

He holds more than 15 national and international patents for his work, which has also been recognized in many design competitions. He received the Gold Good Design Award from the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design in 2001 and 1997.

He also received a Gold Award in the 1993 Plant Engineering magazine Product of the Year competition and a Bronze Award in the 1992 Industrial Design Excellence Awards sponsored by Business Week magazine and the Industrial Designers Society of America.

In 1988 he designed the best-selling Bola chair for Fixtures Furniture Company, for which he was awarded an IBD Gold Award. Kemnitzer currently serves as chairman of the board of the Industrial Designers Society of America. He was elected to the IDSA Academy of Fellows in August 2003.

Egger, of Blacksburg, received a master’s degree from Virginia Tech and a bachelor’s degree from Auburn University. He has taught at all levels in the architecture professional degree program and was assistant dean for undergraduate studies for almost 10 years.

He has been inducted into the university's Academy of Teaching Excellence, for which he also served as chair in 1990.

Egger has concentrated studies in small town human settlement. As director of special programs, he has organized and directed academic study abroad programs for the college in Western Europe for more than 30 years. In 2000, he received the University Alumni Award for Excellence in International Programs.

The top five reasons cited for nomination for this distinction are:

  • Balances practice, theory, and technology
  • Inspirational and engaging
  • Innovative and visionary
  • Leadership that attracts and retains top talent
  • Agents of change


Virginia Tech’s School of Architecture + Design is one of the largest of its kind, with more than 1,100 students, about 700 of which are in architecture, and nearly 100 faculty and staff. The school’s undergraduate architecture program is ranked number one in North America for 2008.

The College of Architecture and Urban Studies is composed of three schools and the Department of Art and Art History, part of the multi-college School of the Arts. The School of Architecture + Design includes programs in architecture, industrial design, interior design, and landscape architecture. The School of Public and International Affairs includes programs in urban affairs and planning, public administration and policy, and government and international affairs. The Myers-Lawson School of Construction, a joint school of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies and the College of Engineering, includes programs in building construction and construction management. The college enrolls nearly 2,000 students offering 24 degrees taught by 153 faculty members.