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Director of Design, National Endowment for the Arts

Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters



Throughout your illustrious career, you have successfully combined your skills as a distinguished architect of urban design and a highly respected professor of architecture with your interest in civic activism and community leadership. For the past 20 years, as an educator at Syracuse University and the University of Virginia, you have positively influenced thousands of students as you taught the fundamentals of architecture and shared your approach to community development through urban design. In 2006, you were invited to serve as a visiting associate professor of architecture at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design. You are recognized for your groundbreaking design of Bayview Rural Village in Virginia to promote social change. Your dedication to the enhancement of urban environments led to your appointment as co-director of the Brookings Institute study of downtown Detroit in 2006, and to undertake a current study of cities with shrinking populations that includes Detroit. Widely known for your personal commitment to community service and your advocacy of citizen participation, you have served on numerous municipal committees and task forces in your hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia, including eight years on the city council and two years as Mayor. Under your leadership, key improvements and civic developments were initiated throughout Charlottesville. As director of design for the National Endowment for the Arts, you have the responsibility to oversee national mayors' and governors' program on community design, supervise the awarding of national grants, and provide professional leadership in the architecture field. Your reputation as a creative urban designer and innovator has led to widespread recognition and awards, including the President's Citation for distinguished civic leadership to the architecture profession from your alma mater, The Cooper Union School of Architecture in New York City, and the Loeb Fellowship from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. In recognition of your dedication to the field of architecture and urban design, your commitment to community service and your role model as an African American architect, the University of Detroit Mercy is proud to present you with the Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree. Commencement, University of Detroit Mercy, May 10, 2008.

University of Detroit Mercy

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