Vera Comoli, first Deputy Rector and Faculty Dean at the Politecnico di Torino

The first woman architect to hold a role in university administration, Vera Comoli was an example of how the glass ceiling can be weakened in academia.

She was a pioneering model of a woman engaged not only in education and research, but also in the institutional field, holding prestigious posts and even becoming the first Deputy Rector of the Politecnico di Torino.

Born in 1935, her career was characterised by a series of prominent and prestigious roles.

After graduating, she worked as a designer for a short while, before embarking on her brilliant academic career.

She joined the teaching staff in 1964 as assistant in History of Architecture at the Faculty of Architecture of the Politecnico di Torino. Her determination and expertise led her, four years later, to be awarded the chair of History of Art and Architecture.

1981 was a significant year for her career, as she won a national competition that allowed her to become associate professor of the History of Urban Planning at the same Faculty, subsequently becoming a full professor.

Her commitment to the academic institution was further recognised when she took over the Direction of the Casa-Città Department at the Politecnico di Torino for two consecutive three-year terms, starting in 1982.

Her contribution to education and research extended with the foundation and direction of the School of Specialisation in History, Analysis and Evaluation of Architectural and Environmental Heritage at the Politecnico di Torino, a role she held from 1989. Her influence also extended as a result of appointment as coordinator of the PhD programme.

In addition to her academic appointments, she held important institutional roles. Between 1988 and 1997, she held the position of Vice-Chancellor of the Politecnico di Torino and played a key role in the restoration of the Castello del Valentino.

There was no lack of recognition for her commitment and the value of her contributions: in May 1996, she was awarded the First Class Diploma of the Ministry of Universities and Scientific and Technological Research, a well-deserved acknowledgement of her commitment to Science and Culture.

In 1997, she was elected Dean of the Faculty of Architecture and in 2002 she was awarded the title of Member of the Turin Academy of Science, a further prestigious step in her brilliant career.

Vera Comoli was an inspirational and pioneering figure, proving how women could achieve leading roles in the academic and institutional worlds, paving the way for greater women participation in these areas.