A colleague of mine, Kerry King (’85) is one of the talented writers on the Wake Forest Magazine staff. He sent me an article about one of Wake Forest’s legendary professors, Peggy Smith, professor emerita of art. She’s just written a book about – of all things – ski lodges.
Kerry writes: “To her legion of alumni fans, she was our ever-enthusiastic and engaging mentor as we discovered Frank Lloyd Wright, Phillip Johnson, Miles van der Rohe and Le Corbusier. In the basement of the Scales Fine Arts Center, we explored Fallingwater and Farnsworth; the Chrysler building and the Johnson Wax building; the Guggenheim and the Pompidou Center. But she never once mentioned A-frames, rustic lodges, luxury condos and faux Alpine villages that make up ‘ski resorts.’
She makes up for that in her lavish new book, “American Ski Resort: Architecture, Style, Experience” (University of Oklahoma Press, 352 pages), that meticulously traces the architectural evolution of ski resorts from the 1930s to the 1990s. She presents a compelling case that ski resorts are a distinctly American type of architecture and one worthy of study. ”
Dr. Smith has retired, but her influence lives on with her former students like Kerry. And your students are learning from and working with a remarkably talented group of faculty members here.
Do you ever wonder who might your student’s Dr. Smith? Have you asked your Deac who has made a difference in their academic career?
Every student here has the chance to fall in love with an academic department or the particular research interests of one of our faculty members. It is my great hope that students are open to this sort of discovery and connection, because it is through these shared interests that deep conversations, casual mentoring, and lifelong relationships are formed.
Call me a nerd (guilty!) but it can be incredibly interesting and cool to dig deep into an unexpected area of study or to turn a fresh eye on something that does not seem worthy (initially) of study. But Dr. Smith has done just that. And if you are a skier or a fan of architecture, check out her book.