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Archive for Tuesday, June 15, 1999

PRESERVATIONIST TO LEAVE KU FOR KENTUCKY

June 15, 1999

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Dennis Domer will start work Jan. 1 at the University of Kentucky, after his retirement from Kansas University becomes effective Aug. 15.

A noted preservationist, Kansas University associate professor and longtime architecture administrator is leaving the Lawrence area for greener pastures in the bluegrass of Kentucky.

Dennis Domer, KU's associate dean of architecture and urban design, this month accepted a job at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, where he will be a professor of architecture and director of the school's graduate program in historic preservation.

The work will involve coordinating efforts of 18 faculty members representing the fields of geography, design, interior architecture, anthropology, folklore and history.

"There will be more and more buildings being renovated in the 21st century than being built," said Domer, who will assume his new roles Jan. 1. "I hope to be training a new generation of preservationists and architects in a formal program."

Domer is leaving KU after 22 years as an administrator. He started as assistant to the dean of architecture in 1977, served as acting dean in 1981-82 and has been associate dean ever since.

In recent years he received a faculty appointment as an associate professor of American studies, and he taught the popular "Lawrence: Biography of a City" class seen on Sunflower Cablevision channel 6.

Domer, who plans to retain his rural Baldwin home, is a board member for the Lawrence Preservation Alliance and has been active in the Douglas County Preservation Alliance.

"He's done some of the best research that Douglas County has seen on Willow Springs Township and that area," said Dennis Enslinger, who learned vernacular architecture from Domer and today is the city's historic resources administrator and a board member for the Kansas Preservation Alliance. "He'll be missed from the standpoint that he has a wealth of knowledge that he has not written down regarding the history and development of architecture in Douglas County."

John Gaunt, KU's dean of architecture and urban design, counted on Domer to handle detailed financial plans, oversee upgrades to the school's computer technology and serve as the school's administrative "troubleshooter" on a variety of topics.

Gaunt said he recently accepted Domer's resignation letter -- which actually outlines a "retirement" Aug. 15, given Domer's 10 years of service and 55 years of age -- with a mixture of happiness and regret.

The happiness is knowing that Domer is moving into a challenging job with a wealth of opportunities, Gaunt said. The regret comes from knowing that he didn't have the resources to keep his friend around.

"He's one of the most capable people I have ever known," Gaunt said. "They obviously recognized his ability to be a leader in a program."

-- Mark Fagan's phone message number is 832-7188. His e-mail address is mfagan@ljworld.com.

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