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Dean’s Council Grows to 12 with Addition of Three New Members

Published February 14, 2017

The School of Architecture and Planning is pleased to welcome three new members to its Dean’s Council, a leadership group of architects, urban planners, developers and community leaders that works in direct support of the mission of the school and provides key links into the practice arena for student support and research cultivation.

  • Real estate developer George Gellman is one of three founding principals of The Benchmark Group, a Buffalo-based company with a portfolio including 6,600 apartments units in 12 states and 5 million square feet of retail space in six states. Gellman has extensive real estate experience as an owner, investor, developer and operator of real estate projects throughout the country.

Bradley Lukanic, CEO of CannonDesign

  • Bradley Lukanic, AIA LEED AP, is chief executive officer and lead strategist of CannonDesign, a global design firm with 16 offices and more than 1,000 employees worldwide. An award-winning designer, Lukanic has been with CannonDesign since 2009 and was executive director of its education practice prior to his appointment as CEO. Based in New York, Lukanic recently reflected on his decision to join the school’s Dean’s Council: "Working with students energizes me, and reminds me why I followed this career path. CannonDesign and I will always reinvest in educating students at all levels.”

Lena Zhang, principal at Z Studios in San Francisco

  • Lena Zhang, AIA LEED AP, is a principal at Z Studio Architects in San Francisco, providing full architectural services in the Bay Area for high-end residential and small commercial projects. After graduating from UB in 1989, Lena worked on an international competition-winning project for the Tokyo International Forum with Rafael Viñoly Architects in New York. Prior to starting Z Studio Architects, she had been with San Francisco-based Kaplan McLaughlin Diaz, where she led many large-scale institutional and commercial projects domestically and in China. Lena is a believer in progressive urban planning and architectural design and seeks to promote the integration of the built environment in its natural historical context with the embodiment of the contemporary spirit. 

Several members of our Dean's Council were in Buffalo last fall for the grand reopening of Hayes Hall. Pictured from left to right are urban and regional planning chair Ernest Sternberg, architecture chair Omar Khan and Dean's Council members Richard Perlmutter, Madeline Burke-Vigeland, Franklin Dickinson, Randy Asher and alumnus and friend Gary Jastrzab.

Formed in 2013 with six founding members, the Dean’s Council has grown to a group of 12 distinguished professionals, many of them graduates of the school. The Council focuses in particular on the school’s strategic efforts to build global reputation, improve the quality of life in Buffalo and communities worldwide, and advance diversity, equity and inclusion across our student body and our professions.

“The addition of Brad, George and Lena adds to an already distinguished group of professionals on our council,” says Dean Robert G. Shibley. “These new members bring a broad array of additional experiences that will help the council fulfill its mission to advise and support the school.”

The Dean’s Council is chaired by Gensler principal Madeline Burke-Vigeland, who also serves as studio director in the firm’s New York office and as firm-wide leader of Gensler’s community sector practice areas.