Over my many years in architectural education, I have been involved with many different worthwhile programs.  My absolute favorite is my involvement with the Diversity Advancement Scholarship; it started in 1987 as National Vice-President of AIAS and has continued almost every year since.  It truly is a great feeling to reward scholarship funds to deserving students.

Diversity Advancement Scholarship

From the scholarship website:

We are looking for minority students whose imagination and design thinking will influence the future of the built environment and the architecture profession.  Eligible students must be a US citizen, have a minimum 3.0 GPA, and be:

  • a high school student planning to enroll in a NAAB-accredited architecture degree
  • a rising second-year college student in a NAAB-accredited architecture degree program; or,
  • a technical school or community college student who has completed high school or its equivalent and intends to transfer to a NAAB-accredited architecture program.

NAAB-accredited degree programs may be a five-year Bachelor of Architecture degree, or a four-year pre-professional bachelor’s degree followed by a Master of Architecture degree. Scholarships may be renewed for up to 5 years (up to a $20,000 total award—multiple scholarships are available).

In a recent article in Prism, the following background on the scholarship was revealed.

“Ultimately, it is up to every architect to act on Whitney Young’s call to action … and we should remember that Mr. Young’s message, half a century ago—and throughout his life – was one of hope and the unshakable belief that one voice can be a catalyst for positive change.”

Young, who was the esteemed executive director of the National Urban League, delivered a keynote speech to the AIA National Convention in 1968 where he challenged architects to do more to address civil and social issues.

“At the end of the day, this issue reflects on our profession, making it our responsibility to lead the change we seek,” said William Bates, FAIA [2019 AIA President]. “It is up to our generation to lay the foundation for positive change for those who will follow. It is clear to me that diversity will be an important part of our nation and the profession of architecture’s long-term success.”

Following Young’s speech, the AIA created the Diversity Advancement Scholarship, which provides financial support for underrepresented minority students studying architecture. Since that time, the AIA and the Architects Foundation have expanded the program to include as many as 20 recipients.

So, promote the Diversity Advancement Scholarship and encourage the next generation to apply via the website starting November 2018.

Lee W. Waldrep, Ph.D.

Dr. Architecture

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