Kent Butler, associate dean for research and operations in the School of Architecture at The University of Texas at Austin, died on Friday, May 13, in an accident while hiking at Yosemite National Park in California.
Butler also was the program director and an associate professor for the Graduate Program in Community and Regional Planning in the School of Architecture.
Butler was awarded more than $3 million in grants and contracts in recent years for urban and environmental planning research and programs, ranging in scale from park planning to statewide growth policy studies.
A gifted teacher and administrator, he increased faculty and student diversity, created new international study and studio opportunities in Mexico, the Netherlands and China, and fostered important curriculum changes to further enhance the program’s national reputation.
Early in his career, Butler took a leave of absence from the university for two years to establish the environmental department for the Lower Colorado River Authority. Over the following three decades, Butler continued to offer his knowledge and passion for improving environmental quality in Central Texas and Austin with dozens of projects that helped improve neighborhoods, water systems and a multitude of infrastructure systems.
Some of his recent projects included regional visioning and planning for the Galveston Bay Estuary Program, evaluative studies of the Coastal Erosion Planning and Response Act, feasibility and development of urban rainwater collection systems and a planning assessment of the Texas Urban Triangle as a mega-region.
Butler also worked on regional water planning and the creation of a groundwater management district for the Barton Springs-Edwards Aquifer and the development of a regional habitat conservation plan for endangered species in the Balcones Canyonlands of Central Texas.
He was a member of the American Planning Association and presented numerous invited papers, lectures, and radio and television programs on issues of sustainable development and adaptive management in regional planning.
He earned bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Remembrances may be made by contributions to the Kent S. Butler Memorial Fund at the School of Architecture to benefit students and programs in his devoted field.
Kent S. Butler Memorial Fund
School of Architecture
1 University Station, B7500
Austin, TX 78712-0222
A memorial service will be held Thursday, May 26 at 4:30 p.m. at the university’s Etter-Harbin Alumni Center.