In Memory of Professor Delbert Highlands

a black and white photo of a man in a suit

Professor Delbert Highlands. Credit: Leslie Kavchak (B.Arch ‘93)

The School of Architecture mourns the passing of Professor Delbert Highlands on July 24, 2023 at the age of 88. He was a school alum, earning his master’s in architecture from Carnegie Mellon University, and faculty member for many years, retiring in 2000 as Professor Emeritus. Professor Highlands served as head of the Department of Architecture (now School of Architecture) from 1969-1975. A native of Pittsburgh, he was self-employed as an architect.

Professor Highlands taught courses in architectural design, design theory and architectural history from the 1960s through the first decade of this century. He has been widely recognized as a seminal teacher whose skill and understanding enriched the educations of generations of students. Professor Highlands emphasized the “individual,” the “particular” and the “local” in his teaching. His courses were grounded in authoritative scholarship and meticulously presented fundamentals, but always went further by asking students to think of “this time,” “this place” and this “occupancy.” His teaching presented prospects for a life of work that were inspiring and that would always present fresh challenges to learn more, go deeper and design buildings that truly engage our humanity. He was a key influence in the lives of hundreds of graduates of the school.

In keeping with Professor Highlands’ thinking and contributions to the school, the Delbert Highlands Travel Fellowship was founded in his honor. The Fellowship supports the study of collections belonging to locales and is intended to directly support the professional development of individual awardees to contribute to the richness of our surroundings.

The School of Architecture extends our sincerest gratitude to Professor Highlands for his many years of service to the School of Architecture.