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AIA Elevates Traci Sooter to the College of Fellows

 | Published on 2/23/2018

American Institute of Architects Elevates local architect to the College of Fellows

AIA Fellowship Recognizes Significant Contributions to Profession of Architecture and Society

Contact: Traci Sooter
Professor of Architecture
Director, Design/Build Program
(417) 873-7416

Springfield, MO – February 23, 2018
– The 2018 Jury of Fellows from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) elevated Traci Dawn Sooter, a member of AIA Springfield, to its prestigious College of Fellows, an honor awarded to members who have made significant contributions to the profession. Sooter is honored in the Service to Society category. The 2018 Fellows will be honored at an investiture ceremony at the AIA Conference on Architecture 2018 in New York City.

The Fellowship program 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. Out of a total AIA membership of over 90,000, fewer than four percent of members are distinguished with the honor of fellowship and honorary fellowship. The elevation to fellowship is conferred on architects with at least 10 years of membership in the AIA in one or more of the following nomination categories:

  1. Promoted the aesthetic, scientific, and practical efficiency of the profession
  2. Advanced the science and art of planning and building by advancing the standards of architectural education, training and practice
  3. Coordinated the building industry and the profession of architecture through leadership in the AIA and other related professional organizations
  4. Advanced the living standards of people through an improved environment
  5. Made the profession of ever-increasing service to society

Traci Sooter, FAIA, LEED APSooter is only the fourth AIA member, and the first female architect, from the southwest Missouri area to be elevated to AIA Fellow. All have ties to Drury. The first, in 1996, Richard P. Stahl, a 1936 Drury graduate and architect of many distinguished buildings, including on the Drury campus. HSA alumnus Andrew Wells ’91, principal of Dake Wells Architecture in Springfield, was the second in 2012. Professor emeritus and former director of the Hammons School of Architecture Dr. Michael Buono, was elevated in 2016.

“I do not consider this recognition of work I did alone, because I was never alone,” Sooter says of this honor. “There was always a team of amazing students giving their hearts and souls to create architecture that would inspire and help those in need, a long list faculty and staff who enthusiastically volunteered to help on every project, Drury administration who supported the idea of Design-Build and turned us loose to push the edges as far as we could, friends and family pitching in, community volunteers who gave constantly, and donors and grantors on each and every project who reminded us that we live in a truly giving and supportive community in southwest Missouri.”

Sooter, FAIA, LEED AP, is the director of the Design/Build program at HSA, which specializes in serving charities and communities in need. A general contractor and developer for many years in Springfield before turning to teaching, she holds a Master of Architecture and a Master of Construction Management from Washington University in St. Louis and a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Missouri State University.

The Hammons School’s Design/Build program allows students to gain hands-on experience designing, creating and building real-world projects that benefit the community. Under Sooter’s direction, the program has a unique “whole school” interdisciplinary approach that also gives students who are not architecture majors a chance to be a part this work. A few of the noteworthy projects Sooter has been involved with as a Drury faculty member include:

Sooter also has presented at international, national and regional conferences; published articles in several magazines and websites such as The Nature of Cities; and has contributed chapters to multiple books. She received Drury’s Faculty Award for Excellence in Leadership in 2008.

View the AIA National press announcement for the entire class of 2018 Fellows.

View Drury University’s press announcement.

About The American Institute of Architects

Founded in 1857, The American Institute of Architects consistently works to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through more than 200 international, state and local chapters, AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public wellbeing. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards. AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world.