Steve Krakoff, the vice president for Capital Planning and Campus Operations at Bowling Green State University gave the institution a new face, in the form of a stunning string of building construction projects that will benefit generations of students.
After a recent diagnosis of cancer, Krakoff passed away Monday at the age of 61.
In a letter to the university community, BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey said, “Steve was truly a visionary. He was a driving force in the development and execution of our Campus Master Plan. Steve led the planning and implementation of more than $500 million in infrastructure improvements — the largest building and renovation program in BGSU history.”
Having started work at the university in 2008, a steady stream of building projects began almost immediately under Mazey’s predecessor, Carol A. Cartwright.
Modern university architecture must fulfill many different goals. First and foremost they must function as a tool, but they must also fulfill public relations needs required by the institution. Various university administrators have stressed these concepts on the opening and reopening of buildings across the campus.
A Toledo native, Krakoff graduated from Whitmer High School. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in urban planning from the University of Cincinnati and a Master of Business Administration from Ohio State University. He was also working on his dissertation for a doctorate of education in leadership studies at BGSU.
“He had the ability to see the big picture and to see the specifics of the projects and what makes the projects very useful and usable to the campus community. He was very much a collaborator,” Mazey said.
Krakoff had several key interests that are evident across the spectrum of projects he steered through construction. He managed both the building of new facilities, such as the Stroh Center and the new Bureau of Criminal Investigation building, as well as the rejuvenation of older facilities.
“Steve embraced the eclectic mix of architectural styles that make our Bowling Green campus unique. He had a gift for seeing the possibilities. He saw potential in our oldest and more architecturally modest buildings. In South Hall, which many believed should have been demolished, Steve saw the solid bones of a building waiting to be re-imagined as the new home of our School of Media and Communication,” Mazey wrote. Additionally, she said, “he was very interested in learning spaces and active learning.”
He was also noted for the speed with which projects were accomplished under his leadership, the dining and residence hall projects: Centennial Hall and Falcon Heights, The Oaks and Carillon Place projects took only 18 months to complete.
“He was a very good facilitative leader,” said Mazey, part of which she attributed to his “great ability to listen … we will all miss Steve very much.”
The university encourages expressions of condolences to Krakoff’s family to be emailed to [email protected].
The University will be raising funds in his memory for the Steven P. Krakoff Scholarship to support students. Contributions can be made through the BGSU Foundation.
“As you walk our campuses in the coming days, I hope you will take a moment to admire some of our new and renovated facilities and think of Steve. His passion and leadership have left a lasting legacy on our campuses that will benefit our students, faculty and staff for generations to come,” Mazey said.