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Swenson, Robert H. | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center

Name: Swenson, Robert H.

Historical Note:

Bob Swenson was raised in Metropolis, Illinois.  He attended Southern Illinois University Carbondale in the 1960s, earning a Bachelor’s degree in architecture and a minor in community development.  In 1964 he co-led the Appalachia Summer Project in Hazard, Kentucky.  He earned a Master of Architecture degree from Yale University School of Architecture in 1969.  He taught at SIUC periodically beginning in 1971 before becoming a full-time faculty member in the School of Architecture in 1999.

Swenson has been active in several historic preservation initiatives throughout Southern Illinois.  With former SIUC Director of Special Collections Research Center David Koch, he led several Preservation Summer projects that partnered SIUC architecture students with community members to identify and preserve historic materials.  He also worked on the Sessar Opera House and the Lincoln Home in Springfield, participated in the “America” flatboat wreck recovery, and has done extensive research on steamboats built in Southern Illinois.  In 2008, Swenson was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Illinois State Historical Society.


Codell Rodriguez, "SIUC Professor Robert Swenson Honored," The Southern Illinoisan, May 4, 2008.

"Ten Questions with...Robert "Bob" Swenson," SIU News, September 8, 2010.

Scott Fitzgerald, "Retired Professor Studying Steamboats," The Southern Illinoisan, April 1, 2014.

Note Author: Matt Gorzalski

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