Senior Project Specialist, Education
Jeff, raised on Long Island in New York, did not travel much as a child. However, a high school student-exchange program took him to Chile and opened his eyes to a larger world. At Amherst College, he majored in European history and spent his junior year in Spain. He developed an interest in medieval archaeology and, following graduation, traveled to France to work at sites in Burgundy and Lyon.
Settling in Boston after participating in an excavation at a prehistoric site in Maine, he supported himself by working in restaurants while volunteering at Harvard's Peabody Museum, cleaning artifacts in storage. He entertained—then rejected—the idea of a graduate degree in archaeology. Instead, in 1976 he and his wife-to-be, Mary, decided to walk from what was once the edge of medieval Europe, northern Scotland, to its religious center—Jerusalem. While the walking was eventually abandoned, Jeff and Mary ultimately reached Israel and then continued their odyssey by traveling overland throughout Asia. Early in 1979 they were teaching English in Iran when the revolution broke out, and they finally returned home.
This traveling stimulated Jeff's interest in architecture and preservation. Just as he and Mary were about to become parents, he entered the graduate program in historic preservation at Cornell University, earning his MA in 1985. Jeff then decided to pursue a PhD, which he received in 1989, focusing his research on Henry Murphy, an American architect who worked in China during the early twentieth century. Jeff learned Mandarin, spent a year researching his dissertation in Shanghai, and, after teaching for four years at Cornell, was hired by the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1995 to teach architectural history. During the next nine years, Jeff wrote two books and established a strong reputation as an expert in Chinese architectural history and urbanism.
In 2004, he and his family returned to the United States when Jeff joined the GCI's Education department. His work today—including managing both the GCI's Southeast Asia education initiative and an upcoming course for archaeological site managers in Tunisia, as well as helping plan the Ninth World Congress of the Organization of World Heritage Cities—capitalizes on his education experience, his expertise as an architectural historian, his familiarity with Asia, and his participation in archaeology fieldwork and urban conservation projects. Jeff is very gratified to engage in stimulating conservation teamwork at the GCI with professionals who share his values and help him continue to learn, as he also continues to teach.