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Peña-Mora Appointed As Commissioner Of Department Of Design And Construction

Feniosky Peña-Mora

Feniosky Peña-Mora

This morning, Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed former Dean of SEAS Dr. Feniosky Peña-Mora as the new Commissioner of the Department of Design and Construction for New York City.

Peña-Mora served as SEAS’s fourteenth dean from 2009 to 2012, when he abruptly resigned from office in an event we dubbed Peñamonium. For freshmen and sophomores out there, this all happened after he received criticism from numerous Columbia faculty, most notably in the form of an open letter published in the New York Times.  Most of the dissatisfaction with Peña-Mora centered around his rapid expansion of the school, which he failed to match by providing more space for research or by adequately increasing faculty. As a 2012 article by the Blue and White reads

…the dean acknowledged that he hadn’t realized the severity of space limitations when he first came to Columbia. “I didn’t realize what ‘space crunch’ meant at Columbia. All institutions have issues with space,” he explained. “But […] Columbia has been choking to death.”

According to a press release from the Mayor’s office, in his new position, Peña-Mora “will be charged with building public works big and small, ranging from making streets safer as part of the Vision Zero initiative, to renovating and constructing municipal facilities.” We hope he can figure out the giant space crunch that is New York City.

Dr. Peña-Mora is currently the Edwin Howard Armstrong Professor of Civil Engineering Mechanics, Professor of Earth and Environmental Engineering, and Professor of Computer Science at SEAS.

Photo courtesy of Columbia University

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7 Comments

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous I imagine he’ll figure out how to fit as many people as possible into the smallest spaces in New York. After all, he proved to be extremely talented at that at Columbia. Surprised he’s not at Hopkins now.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous He has the last laugh!

  • Former DDC intern, SEAS 15 says:

    @Former DDC intern, SEAS 15 We <3 u Feni

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous The engineering faculty didn’t get someone that would kiss their boots, so they threw a tantrum. Doesn’t surprise me, they didn’t really give the guy a chance to finish what he started and give him credit for it; but instead the faculty takes his credit. While he was there he expanded the school. But, the whole time he was fighting to obtain the funds to make more space, which the school obtained and now the school is growing. Who pushed for the expansion in the first place? and Who is there to thank?

    We love you Feni <3

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Feni’s administration was a train wreck from the get go. Good luck to him, but glad to see him go. Now we have a dean who’s actually done real engineering. Go Dean Boyce.

  • A friend says:

    @A friend Well deserved!!!!!
    Congratulations!!!!!

  • Another Friend says:

    @Another Friend What a great opportunity! I wish him all the best. Old school engineers just could not get their minds and hearts around a new kind of leader. Its a shame …

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