Honoring An Architectural Leader

Professor Theodore H. Seligson was respected throughout the region

ted-seligson.jpgTheodore “Ted” Seligson (1930-2021) was a professor of architecture at UMKC for 30 years.

A Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, Seligson was a true Renaissance man: architect, urban and interior designer, professor, fine art consultant and curator. In his spare time, he was a semi-professional violin player, reader of hieroglyphics, historic preservation activist, antiquarian, lover of comics, compulsive teacher and raconteur, according to his obituary in the Kansas City Star.

Friends, colleagues, students and former students shared memories of him.

“Ted Seligson was a unique and thoughtful professor who truly cared about his students and their success,” said Jacob A. Wagner, associate professor, director of UMKC Urban Studies. “He taught in Architecture and Urban Design, but he could have easily taught Art History and Archaeology. As a professional architect he worked for Kivett and Myers before starting his own firm. The buildings he designed and worked to save as a preservationist still shape the city today.”

Seligson graduated from Shawnee Mission North High School and Washington University, where he also worked as a visiting professor for 30 years. His work received many local and national awards and is highlighted by such projects as Temple B’nai Jehudah, Bartle Hall Convention Center, Missouri Public Service building, Fire Station No. 30, several UMB bank buildings, Maple Woods Community College, Seaboard Corporation offices and many striking residences.

“Ted Seligson was a kind and thoughtful educator, committed to developing students and their individual visions,” said Kati Toivanen, interim dean, UMKC College of Arts and Sciences. “He generously shared his wide range of professional experiences and benefited generations of our students. He will be greatly missed.”

Students left tributes on Linkedin:

“I was lucky enough to have him as a professor for my studio's class. His observations and teachings in the AUPD department at UMKC were incredibly valued and his insight will be deeply missed.”

“Ted touched so many lives, he was truly the best teacher I ever had.”

“He influenced so many and was a great teacher. I loved listening to all his stories and lessons. ‘Did you know it can rain up?’”

“The passing of a Titan. So many good memories.”

Counseling services are available for students, faculty and staff through UMKC Counseling Services.

Seligson is survived by a legion of friends, peers, clients and students who admired him. He was a member of Temple B’nai Jehudah. A private ceremony was conducted at Rose Hill Cemetery. Memorials may be sent to the Seligson Fund c/o UMKC Foundation at 5115 Oak, AC202 Kansas City, Mo, 64112. Seligson held a fundamental belief that every person has the ability to make our community and country a better place to live. The Seligson Fund will continue to foster his legacy through public lectures and scholarships for architects and urban planning students at UMKC.

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