Former dean, ‘green’ pioneer dies in hiking accident at 60

Huma Munir

UT associate dean of the School of Architecture Kent Butler died last week after slipping on a trail while hiking with his two daughters in Yosemite National Park in California, according to a press release.

Butler was 60 years old and had worked at UT since 1978. According to the University's website, Butler was involved in research programs in water resources, environmental and land use planning. Over the years, Butler's efforts included a $3 million grant for urban and environmental development, according to the website.

"He was so integral to the school for so long, and the loss is so sudden, that we are still trying to cope with the loss," said Fritz Steiner, dean of the School of Architecture, in a press release.

Butler was involved in the preservation of land for more than two dozen endangered species in central Texas, Steiner said in the press release.

Pliny Fisk III, co- director of the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems, said Butler worked to preserve ecological balance and he was also one of the first people to work on "going green" efforts in the country.

"He was a very valuable member of this team to keep ecological planning and architecture going in our region," Fisk said.

Fisk said Butler was not only extremely knowledgeable but also one of the most courteous people he knew.

"He was immediately receptive to people and ideas and [was] willing to work at the scale that is necessary for change to happen in the future of environment in Texas," Fisk said.

He said Butler was a wonderful colleague and he will surely be missed.