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Morgan elevated to AIA’s College of Fellows

Cheryl Morgan

Cheryl Morgan, Auburn architecture alumna, professor and director of the Urban Studio, will be inducted into the American Institute of Architects College of Fellows at an Investiture Ceremony at the 2014 National AIA Convention in Chicago on June 27.  She joins 139 AIA members who have been elected to the 2014 class of the College of Fellows. Induction into AIA’s prestigious College of Fellows is one of the highest honors AIA can bestow upon a member. Fellows are elected by a jury of their peers in recognition of their significant accomplishments to architecture and society.

Prof. Morgan was nominated for the College of Fellows by the Birmingham Chapter of the AIA, in recognition of her innovative approaches to instruction and outreach and the impact of her work in these arenas on the careers of her students and in the lives of small towns and communities across the state, region and nation. Morgan’s non-traditional approach to teaching has evolved through her thirty years of studio teaching and through her work with under-served people and places in Alabama. 

Under her leadership, the Urban Studio has worked with more than seventy small towns and neighborhoods in Alabama through the Small Town Design Initiative. Through the STDI, Urban Studio students have engaged real world clients with Morgan’s strategy of maximizing each community’s assets to help them renew and advance.  Nowhere was Urban Studio’s work more vital than in tornado recovery efforts in several hard hit small communities such as Pratt City and Cordova.

Morgan has also worked with the Railroad Reservation Park project in downtown Birmingham; the City of Birmingham's Comprehensive Plan update; is a founding board member of the citizen leadership program YourTownAlabama; and sits on the boards of Space One Eleven and Operation New Birmingham's Magic City Art Connection. She helped found Alabama Innovation Engine, a  a design-based community and economic development initiative jointly funded by  Auburn University and the University of Alabama.

In 2010, Morgan received the Thomas Jefferson Award from the Jefferson County Historical Commission, and in 2011 she was presented with the Alabama Chapter of the American Planning Association’s Distinguished Leadership Award. Morgan received the 2012 Award for Excellence in Faculty Outreach, Auburn’s highest recognition of faculty outreach scholarship. Writing in support of Morgan’s nomination, Dean and Professor Emeritus Dan Bennett, FAIA observed, “As director of the CADC Urban Studio in Birmingham, Cheryl Morgan’s pioneering work to successfully restore the life and vitality of small towns and communities across our state has had a positive impact on planning strategies throughout the entire United States. Her Small Town Design Initiative (STDI) has literally impacted, either directly or indirectly, over one-third of the State of Alabama’s population in over seventy towns and small cities. The STDI process has become a national model that uses community assets, sometimes obscure or unknown to the community, to generate positive and effective physical and economic change.”

David Hinson, FAIA, APLA School Head adds, “Cheryl’s unflagging commitment to teaching and outreach has earned her the deep and abiding respect of her APLA colleagues. It is wonderful—and fitting—to see her recognized this way by the profession she has done so much to serve.”

The AIA’s College of Fellows was developed to elevate those architects who have made a significant contribution to architecture and society and who have achieved a standard of excellence in the profession. Election to fellowship not only recognizes the achievements of architects as individuals, but also their significant contribution to architecture and society on a national level. Out of a total AIA membership of over 80,000, there are fewer than four percent distinguished with the honor of fellowship and honorary fellowship.