The American University in Bulgaria is sad to announce the death of architect and former Board of Trustees member Thomas Celli. He passed away in his home in Pennsylvania on August 18.
A graduate of The School of Architecture at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, Celli was a world-renowned architect who worked on many campus projects across the U.S., at universities large and small. On our Skaptopara Campus, he helped make the America for Bulgaria Student Center the modern facility it is today.
“He emphasized opening up the center, making it the heart of student life. He really got us to redo the drawings,” said then BoT chair Marianne Keler in a 2012 interview.
Celli believed that a modern campus should be open, flexible and provide opportunities for socializing to accommodate the needs of a new generation of students. And that’s exactly what he achieved with the ABF center.
Celli joined the Board of Trustees in 2009 at the invitation of his friend and fellow former BoT member Charles Fagan. He served until 2018. Throughout his life, Celli was also part of other education initiatives like the Council of Independent Colleges, Project Kaleidoscope, the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education, and more.
During his time at AUBG, he was most fascinated by the students. Those he met in Blagoevgrad gave him faith that the university is really helping create a better future for this part of the world.