Vincent L. Michael, Ph.D. has spent nearly four decades as a heritage manager, advocate, consultant and thought leader. He is Executive Director of the San Antonio Conservation Society in San Antonio, Texas. Previously he was Executive Director of the Global Heritage Fund (GHF) in Palo Alto, California from 2012 to 2015, helping preserve World Heritage Sites through community development. As Trustee of the National Trust for Historic Preservation (2006-2015) he served as Chair of the Historic Sites Fund Subcommittee and Vice Chair of the Diversity Task Force. He is also on the Board of the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy and the National Preservation Partners Network, where he has been Co-Chair of the Diversity, Inclusion and Racial Justice Working Group since 2020. He has worked in the field of heritage development, tourism planning, community planning, historic architecture, education and design in a wide variety of capacities and is a sought-after lecturer, tour guide and expert.
Vincent first worked on the creation and interpretation of the Illinois & Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor, and then as a planner and advocate for Landmarks Illinois for 8 years. He received his B.A. and M.A. from the University of Chicago and received a Trustee’s Award from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts to complete his doctorate in architectural history at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His dissertation looked at the history of historic districts in New York and Chicago. He supervised the Master’s Program in Historic Preservation at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1996 to 2010, where he held the John Bryan Chair of Historic Preservation from 2006 to 2013.
Vince has served as Secretary and Issues Committee Chair of Landmarks Illinois. He has traveled to international preservation conferences for various organizations and the U.S. Department of State. He is Chair Emeritus of the National Council for Preservation Education, and President Emeritus of the Site Council for the Gaylord Building, a National Trust property. He has also served on the Illinois Historic Sites Advisory Council and the Oak Park Historic Preservation Commission, as well as numerous local preservation organizations and advisory bodies, including the Black Metropolis/Bronzeville Convention and Visitors Bureau and Maxwell Street Foundation. He has been an advisor to numerous graduate programs in historic preservation, including the University of Pennsylvania, University of Notre Dame and the University of Texas at San Antonio.
For over two decades Vince served as an expert witness in a variety of landmark cases in Chicago, Oak Park, Illinois and San Francisco and has been a consultant on award-winning restorations, community plans, television documentaries and city plans. From 2003 to 2014v he worked to preserve the Weishan Heritage Valley in Yunnan, China, frequently bringing student study groups to the Southern Silk Road city. He has lectured on historic preservation, architecture, geography, art and history throughout the United States, in Europe and Asia. Since 1983 he has led hundreds of tours on subjects ranging from architecture and geology to literature and industry throughout Chicago, Illinois, and abroad. His writings include two videos on Chicago architecture, several Michelin Travel Publications, articles in the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Design Issues, Future Anterior, Traditional Building, forum journal and The Encyclopedia of Chicago and the book The Architecture of Barry Byrne (University of Illinois Press, 2013). Since 2005 he has authored the blog Time Tells, which has been cited by traditional media and was heard on Marfa Public Radio’s weekly program Preservation Nation in Texas from 2007 to 2012.