While attending a reception in the newly named "Eden and Hal Box Courtyard" at Goldsmith Hall, the influential scholar was informed he had been named dean emeritus, a title held by only a handful of individuals at the university.
Box was dean of the School of Architecture from 1976-1992, followed by six years of service as a professor until his retirement in 1998. He has been a professor emeritus since that time.
Box's career in architectural education began in 1970 when Dallas-Fort Worth was the largest urban area in the United States without an architecture school. He was asked by University of Texas at Arlington administrators to start an architecture school there. He took a leave of absence from his firm (Pratt, Box and Henderson), and became chairman of the new Department of Architecture. When the new school was approved two years later, he was named its first dean.
In 1976, The University of Texas at Austin offered Box the architecture deanship and he accepted on several conditions. At the time, the school was severely under-funded and required dramatic new initiatives, new facilities, a library specifically for architecture, a larger budget for faculty and staff, and a dean's salary similar to those in engineering and law. All of his conditions were eventually fulfilled, creating an architecture school that became a leader among public universities and one that, in the past several years, has been the only public university to rank in the top 10 in the nation in both its graduate and undergraduate programs.
During his tenure as dean, Box raised the school's endowment to $6 million. After he retired as dean, the Hal Box Endowed Chair in Urbanism was created.
At the April 8 reception, Box was recognized for his prolific career and long and distinguished tenure as dean with the naming of the Goldsmith courtyard the "Eden and Hal Box Courtyard," honoring his service and the longtime support of his wife, Eden. The dean emeritus title was a surprise announcement.