University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture appoints new dean

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June 11, 2019
Detroit, MI — University of Detroit Mercy announces the appointment of Dan Pitera, FAIA, as the fourth dean of the School of Architecture (SOA) effective Aug. 1, 2019.   

For the past 20 years, Pitera served as executive director of the Detroit Collaborative Design Center (DCDC), a multi-disciplinary, nonprofit architecture and urban design firm dedicated to creating sustainable spaces and communities through quality design and the collaborative process. Since 1994, the DCDC has worked with more than 100 Detroit nonprofit organizations, community groups and philanthropic foundations.

Under his leadership and direction, the DCDC received several awards and honors, including the Dedalo Minosse International Prize in 2002 and 2011 and the prestigious AIA Whitney M. Young Jr. Award in 2017.  

Pitera has enjoyed a successful career in architecture and urban development. In 2010, he co-led the civic engagement process for the Detroit Works Project Long Term Planning. DCDC’s engagement process from the Detroit Works project was included in the Smithsonian’s Cooper Hewitt Design Museum’s exhibition: By The People, and the DCDC’s Roaming Table has been added to the Smithsonian Institute’s permanent collection. In late April of this year, the Center expanded its operations with the addition of the Neighborhood HomeBase storefront office location on McNichols it shares with Live6 Alliance.

Pitera earned a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Architecture degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He joined the University in 1999 and has received numerous awards and honors for his work. From 2004-05, he served as Loeb Fellow at Harvard University. In 2010, he was formally inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects, an honor bestowed to only three percent of all American architects. 

Pitera has also taught upper-level design studios at Detroit Mercy and lectured extensively on national and international stages as a leading expert on community engagement and public interest design. He also co-authored the book Syncopating the Urban Landscape and co-edited the book Activist Architecture.

Architecture Professor Noah Resnick will assist Pitera by serving as associate dean for the School of Architecture. He is serving as interim dean until Aug. 1.

Pitera replaces Professor Will Wittig, AIA, who led the School of Architecture with integrity, passion and a commitment to student and faculty success for more than eight years. Wittig is currently on sabbatical and will return to teaching in January 2020.  

For more about the School of Architecture, please visit
About University of Detroit Mercy
Founded in 1877 by the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), University of Detroit Mercy is Michigan’s largest and most comprehensive Catholic university. In 1990, University of Detroit consolidated with Mercy College of Detroit, which was founded in 1941 by the Religious Sisters of Mercy, to form University of Detroit Mercy. Detroit Mercy offers more than 100 undergraduate, graduate and professional academic degrees and programs through seven schools and colleges. Detroit Mercy educates the whole person, focusing on the value of excellent academics, service to the community and a deeper spirituality to prepare graduates to live lives of purpose. For more information, please visit

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