CADC Celebrates with 2017 Awards Banquet

CADC Celebrates with 2017 Awards Banquet

The College of Architecture, Design and Construction held its 2017 Awards Banquet on Thursday, October 19 at the Marriott Grand National in Opelika, AL. Dr. Vini Nathan, Dean and McWhorter Endowed Chair in the College of Architecture, welcomed CADC faculty, staff, students, alumni, award winners and their families to this annual event.

Many thanks to this year’s sponsors for making this a special celebration of CADC’s outstanding accomplishments:

  • Gold: Hoar Construction, JE Dunn Construction, and Robins & Morton
  • Silver: ASD | SKY and Nequette Architecture & Design
  • Bronze: Brasfield & Gorrie and Brownstudio Architecture

Dara Hosey, Director of Development, thanked the many donors who have helped the CADC surpass its “Because This is Auburn” campaign goal of $26,000,000. To date, more than $28,000,000 has been raised. There will be a special celebration in Fall 2018 to celebrate this achievement.

Dr. Ben Farrow, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and International Programs, announced the Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award winners:


Olivia Backer is from Decatur, AL and a spring 2017 architecture graduate. An organized, skilled communicator and an accomplished craftsperson, “Olivia likes to think outside of the box, and even as an emerging young design student, she developed her own version of hybrid drawings, cleverly combining analog and digital techniques. The ideas rendered are evocative and compelling.”

Building Construction

Tyler Deal is currently working in Atlanta, GA for JE Dunn as a project engineer. He was a member of the concrete construction team that won first place in the ASC Region 2 competitions in October 2016. “Tyler was not only regularly engaged in a wide range of activities and service to the School and to the industry, but did so with great preparation, conscientiousness, and, perhaps most importantly, a positive attitude.”

Environmental Design

Foster Denney will graduate in May 2018 with a minor in Community and Civic Engagement. A Dean’s List student who is WEGL DJ and an Auburn Thunder soccer coach, Foster’s leadership skills and his ability to think inside and outside the box have made a mark on a number of different projects on Auburn’s campus, including the Auburn Chair Project and SGA election campaign.

Cameron Westbrook will graduate in December 2017 with a nearly perfect GPA. He has been an outstanding CADC student ambassador and an active leader of the ENVD student organization. Cameron’s design and writing skills, as exemplified by his e-portfolio, have earned him university-wide recognition, and his research for bicycle urbanism will serve as the foundation for his post-graduate studies.

Graphic Design

Charlotte Weaver is from Birmingham, AL and a Dean’s List student. She was selected for the GDES Juried Show and has won a Graphic Design USA Packaging Award. “Charlotte is an exceptional designer who sees design innately and comprehensively. She is one to seek the overall message while seeking to develop a concept that is rich and multifaceted on each project she works on. She epitomizes all the best qualities of a graphic designer and a community-minded individual.”

Industrial Design

Corban Leach was raised in Harrisonburg, VA and began his studies in Studio Art at Virginia Tech. He is a Dean’s List student and Vice President of the Industrial Design Society of America student chapter. Through competitive review, he was selected and has completed a summer internship with Pratt Industries. “Corban is one of those rare students who has taken steps outside of the curriculum to create his own learning opportunities. For example, as a driving force behind the industrial design Sketch Club, he’s shown the determination to better himself and share the experience with others.”

Interior Architecture

Ryan Taunton, from Southlake, TX, is a serious, dependable and dutiful student. “He feels it is his duty to search for, explain and create ‘essential’ things in the world. While certainly a tradition in Interior Architecture, recent practice has mostly abandoned the ‘essential’ as hopelessly elusive. In this way, Ryan’s pursuit is instructive. He provides his colleagues and teachers a model for this serious form of curiosity—a curiosity that requires diligence and profound belief that there is always something more to discover.

Dr. Karen Rogers, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research presented the Outstanding Graduate Student awards:

Building Construction

Trenton Huffines is from Burlington, NC and has an undergraduate degree in industrial design from NC State. “Trent was the type of graduate student that a faculty member dreams of—thoughtful, motivated and hard-working. He puts others before himself. His MBC Capstone research, involving a sustainable house design for the indigenous Gnobe people of Panama, will have a lasting impact on the lives of others for years to come. It was a pleasure to work with Trent, and he is an excellent example of what the MBC graduate program strives to achieve.”

Executive Certificates in Building Construction

Erin Bradley holds an undergraduate degree from Marshall University and a masters from Eastern Michigan University. She has worked the last eight years with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a Contracting Officer for the New England District. She completed her graduate distance work with a perfect 4.0 GPA. Erin’s work ethic is “a rising tide that made all her classmates better.”

Industrial Design

Zachary Kohrman holds both undergraduate and graduate degrees in Industrial Design from Auburn. He graduated Summa Cum Laude with a 4.0 GPA. A member of Tau Sigma Delta and the Graduate Student Council, Zach was recognized in the Emerson/Rigid studio with a design award. He aspires to complete a PhD in Kinesiology and Biomechanics and pursue a career in academia. A faculty member who has worked closely with him says, “Zack is MacGyver, the guy who can make something out of nothing, solve the problem and save the day.”

Landscape Architecture

Jingting “Ting” Li has exhibited a strong work ethic, intellectual engagement and disciplinary curiosity during her time as a landscape architecture graduate student. She is the recipient of several honors including Year Level Book Awards, Don Logan – Southern Progress Endowed Scholarship, Sigma Lambda Alpha National Landscape Architecture Honor Society and the National and Alabama Chapter of American Society of Landscape Architects 2016 Student Awards. “It was a delight to teach Ting because she combined internally-driven curiosity with a willingness to tackle any exercise recommended in studio; she both listened to advice and took ownership of her work to push beyond that advice.”

Real Estate Development

Rafael Tudor holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology. He is a registered architect living in Chicago, IL, where he is a senior project architect for Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill. “His extensive professional experience, demonstrated leadership, exceptional intelligence, award-winning creativity and unceasing curiosity have distinguished Rafael as the Outstanding Student in the MRED program this year.”

The 2017 Outstanding Staff Award

Dean Vini Nathan presented the Outstanding Staff Award to Katherine Buck, Administrator of Student Recruitment. “Katherine’s contagious energy, together with her patience and her goal to provide excellent service, shows in everything she touches.” Her efforts in developing the CADC recruitment enterprise have resulted in growing enrollments across the CADC’s programs.

School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture

Christian Dagg, Head of the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture, presented APLA’s Outstanding Teaching Award to Valerie Friedmann. Now in her third year as a faculty member, “Valerie has made a palpable impact on the MLA program. She has developed several new studios and seminars and shared the work from those courses through numerous thought-provoking exhibitions. Her lessons are woven throughout the MLA program and address different and innovative ways for students to investigate the representation of their ideas through graphic studies and digital exploration.”

Dagg presented APLA’s Distinguished Service Award to McALPINE whose generous support helped make Interior Architecture’s 90_20 Anniversary Celebration possible. “McALPINE has set a standard for service to our school through supporting student awards, employing many of our best students and through consistent publication of their work.” The award was presented to the entire firm with special recognition to the founding principals: Bobby McAlpine, Greg Tankersley, Ray Booth, Susan Ferrier, Chris Tippett, David Baker, John Sease and John Plaster.

School of Industrial and Graphic Design

Chris Arnold, Program Chair of Industrial Design in the School of Industrial and Graphic Design, presented SIGD’s Outstanding Teaching Award to Rusty Lay. After working for TTi, Hybrid Design as co-owner, and Otterbox, Rusty joined the SIGD faculty as an assistant professor in 2015. He holds numerous patents and awards for excellence in design in academia and in industry. He was selected for the Outstanding Teaching Award by the SIGD Student Advisory Council. “Rusty is consistently driven to seek a high level of uncompromising performance from his students, who respond by achieving a level of quality in their work heretofore un-obtained.”

Arnold presented SIGD’s Distinguished Service Award to Todd Vaught. As principal in charge of multidisciplinary branded environment teams that deal with retail, hospitality, corporate and athletics for skydesign, Todd has received numerous awards. He is now Managing Director in Atlanta for the multi-disciplinary design/build firm Dimensional Innovations of Kansas City, KS. “Todd has been an important partner in the development of the SIGD student experience for many years, serving the school as guest lecturer, studio collaborator, and employer of SIGD alumni across both the industrial and graphic design programs.

Dean Nathan recognized two SIGD faculty members who recently retired: John Morgan, professor of graphic design, and Bret Smith, professor of industrial design. She presented John with Tau Sigma Delta’s Silver Medal, the National Honor Society in Architecture and Allied Arts highest level of faculty recognition. Bret was recognized for leadership as industrial design program chair and CADC interim associate dean of academic affairs and international programs.

McWhorter School of Building Science

Dr. Richard Burt, Head of the McWhorter School of Building Science, presented BSCI’s Outstanding Teaching Award to Jeff Kim ’94. A Building Science undergraduate, Jeff worked in industry at Holder Construction Company until he went back to school at Georgia Tech to obtain a master’s degree with the intention of becoming a teacher. He enjoys teaching mentoring and is an active part of ACE Mentor, CEFGA and SkillsUSA. These programs help high school students and underrepresented groups to learn about the construction industry.

Mike Thompson ’82 received BSCI’s Distinguished Service Award. From 2009 until 2014, Mike was a Visiting Industry Professor in the McWhorter School of Building Science. In 2014 he returned to Robins & Morton as Director of Preconstruction, a position that no includes Virtual Design Services and Scheduling. He has been involved with the Industry Advisory Council for the McWhorter School of Building Science for the last 20 years.

Recognition of 125 Years of Women at Auburn University

In celebration of the 125 Years of Women at Auburn University anniversary, a special video, “The Women of Auburn CADC,” was created by Madison Champion, a senior in graphic design, to end the evening’s festivities.

Evan Thomas ended the evening’s festivities with a big “War Eagle!”