2020 KU Alumni Awards
Celebrate the achievements of the KU Architecture & Design community by nominating a classmate, colleague, former student, or other exceptional alumni for a 2020 KU School of Architecture & Design Alumni Award. The Alumni Awards honor individuals who have demonstrated leadership and made significant contributions to the design and architectural professions.
The School will consider nominations in the following categories:
Distinguished Alumni Award
Honors alumni who have demonstrated leadership, service, and professional merit in the design and architecture professions.
Young Architect/Designer Award
Honors early-career alumni (in profession under 10 years) who have demonstrated leadership and made significant contributions to the design and architecture professions.
Nominations will be accepted for alumni working in other fields as well. Nominees with exceptional achievements in public and community service, related industries, and have made influential impacts in other professions will be considered.
Winners will be announced on August 15th.
Submission materials will be accepted in PDF format totaling 10 pages or less.
Submission should include:
- Nomination form (download below)
- 1-2 page statement detailing why the nominee is deserving
- Supporting materials that illustrate achievements, professional contributions, public service, etc. (e.g. images of built or creative works; lists of publications, exhibitions, awards; web links to portfolios, media mentions, etc.)
Email submissions to:
Patti Baker, Executive Assistant to the Dean
Recognition Ceremony 2019
A recognition ceremony to honor 2020 Alumni Award recipients will take place in Lawrence at a to-be-determined date in Spring 2021.
2019 Distinguished Alumni Awards
Rick Embers has been with Pulse Design Group, a leading health care design practice, for more than 30 years where he is currently a principal. His leadership has led to the development of Pulse’s in-house virtual reality capabilities.
Jamie Koval graduated from KU in 1985. He is a founding partner of VSA Partners, an internationally renowned brand and marketing agency. He has received more than 200 design awards, and his work is preserved by the Library of Congress. Currently, he is a founder and chief design officer of Cooler Screens, a technology company creating the world’s largest point of sale media platform.
2017 Distinguished Alumni Awards
Wendell Castle has been called “the father of the art-furniture movement.” His furniture seamlessly merges the industrial design and sculpture he studied at KU, earning him a Gold Medal from the American Craft Council and many other awards. Examples of his work are held in the collections of more than 50 museums and some 20 corporations.
Silva Vargas is an urban planner who has worked for over two decades to develop plans—ranging from site, to city, to regional—that represent the consensus of a community’s priorities. She has been a project manager and team leader for more than 15 years, directing the creation of plans and implementation tools such as urban design guidelines and zoning code updates, in the U.S. and abroad.
Jim Walters is a founding partner of Populous. During his 25-year career at Populous (formerly HOK Sport Venue Event), he led the design of more than 20 major stadium projects around the world. He is on the Board of Commissioners on the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, and serves on the Mid-America Regional Council Board of Directors.
2017 Young Distinguished Architect-Designer Awards
Justin Cratty is a senior associate at Gensler. Based in the United Kingdom, Cratty has worked on millions of square feet of laboratory space in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East; data centers; skyscrapers; and retail and hospitality projects. He was also the president of the American Institute of Architects’ U.K. chapter.
Kenneth Simmons, as an architect with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), has helped develop technical policy, guidance and criteria for USACE construction activities, and led technical advancements in construction. He has served both the nation and profession as a public-sector architect by managing critical infrastructure projects worth billions of dollars