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Daniel Okoli leaves mark on university’s built landscape

December 7, 2016
Photo: Discovery Building under construction

Daniel Okoli says he looks back with pride and satisfaction at campus projects like the Discovery Building, home of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery and the Morgridge Institute for Research, seen under construction in 2009.

Daniel Okoli, who is university architect and director of capital planning and development in the Division of Facilities Planning & Management (FP&M), is leaving UW–Madison to assume the newly created position of vice president for capital planning and campus operations at Northern Arizona University. His last day with FP&M will be Jan. 27.

During his 12 year tenure at the university, Okoli has overseen more than 115 capital projects totaling over $3 billion dollars, including many of the university’s most successful recent buildings.

Photo: Daniel Okoli

Daniel Okoli

“I look back on many of these projects — such as the Education Building, the Discovery Building, and others — with great pride and satisfaction, both because we designed and constructed great buildings and landscapes that enhance the overall campus fabric and because I was able to work with many people from across campus to bring these projects to completion,” says Okoli.

“I am especially pleased that we focused on creating campus places that foster success in the academy for students, faculty and staff even as we continued to advance the Wisconsin Idea through our work.”

Okoli’s work as university architect has made, and will continue to make, a lasting impact on the way the UW designs and constructs new buildings. He was instrumental in creating the first edition of the Campus Design Guidelines, as well as the current version that is now in preparation. He also helped create the Design Review Board and personally recruited its members. The creation and implementation of consistent design standards, as well as a standard process for reviewing project designs, has helped guide recent projects and provided a solid foundation for the future of design and construction on campus.

Okoli was a founding member and first chairperson of the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration’s Engagement, Inclusion and Diversity (EID) Council as well as co-chair of the FP&M divisional EID team.

“I am also proud that I could serve in a key role with both the VCFA EID Council and the FP&M EID team,” says Okoli. “I believe that both the university as a whole and FP&M in particular are better places to work as a result of these initiatives — and I am confident that they will continue to make even more improvements in the future.”

While the university seeks a permanent candidate for this position, Peter Heaslett will serve as interim director of FP&M Capital Planning & Development and Stuart LaRose will serve as interim University Architect.