Spectrum Logo
A non-profit publication of the Office of the University Relations of Virginia Tech,
including The Conductor, a special section of the Spectrum printed 4 times a year

Obituary - Henry Wiss, 81

Spectrum Volume 17 Issue 5 - September 22, 1994

Henry Wiss died Tuesday, August 9, at 81 at the Virginia Veterans Care Center in Roanoke after a lengthy illness. Wiss was a professor of architecture history at Virginia Tech from 1947 to 1983.

Joseph Wang, professor in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, knew Wiss and attributed a great deal of the success of the architecture program at Virginia Tech to him.

When Charles Burchard came to Virginia Tech in 1964 as the first dean of the newly established College of Architecture, he said, "While embarking on the design and implementation of my new architectural curriculum, I saw Wiss as a `shock absorber' or a stabilizer in my rather radical approach to architectural education. I found Wiss' sensitivity to student needs an indispensable ingredient to the success of Virginia Tech."

Archtecture professor Robert Chiang, a close friend of Wiss, said, "Henry did well with the difficult students who had problems. He became almost a counselor to these students and kept their letters of gratitude for years."

Wiss developed an extensive slide collection which he donated to the college along with his papers after his retirement. In 1988, the Henry Wiss Prize for Academic Achievement in the History and Theory of Architecture was developed. The 1994 recipient was Richard Siverman.