The Ann & Batey Gresham Professorship

Ann & Batey Gresham

In 1999 Nashville architect Batey Gresham (BArch ’57) and his wife Ann established the first endowed professorship in Auburn University’s School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture (APLA). A significant gift and a permanent endowment, it was the first professorship in the architecture program’s then 90-year history. The Greshams both graduated from Auburn University, and Batey Gresham was a founding partner in accomplished international design firm Gresham, Smith and Partners, founded in Nashville, Tennessee. In 2005, Batey was recognized by the Auburn Alumni Association with the Lifetime Achievement Award (AAA).  This award, the association’s highest honor, was established in 2001 to recognize outstanding professional achievement, personal integrity and service to the university.

Batey and Ann established the Gresham Professorship with a vision of providing support to outstanding faculty who demonstrate a strong commitment to quality instruction, research and service, and who thus “strengthen and enhance the architecture program.” Awardees are selected every three years by the Dean of the College of Architecture, Design and Construction (CADC) in consultation with senior architecture faculty.  In 1999 the three original Gresham professorships, which were for “Sustained Excellence,” “Professional Promise,” and “Significant Achievement,” were awarded to professors Gaines Blackwell, David Hinson and Samuel Mockbee, respectively. The generous support of the Greshams set a precedent for the vital role that endowed professorships have come to play in the CADC.

Associate Professor Margaret Fletcher is the current recipient of the Ann and Batey Gresham endowed professorship, which supports her ongoing scholarship related to the visual representation of architectural ideas and pedagogy. Her investigations have yielded two recent books,Visual Communication for Architects and Designers: Constructing the Persuasive Presentation, released this September, and Architectural Styles: a Visual Guide (with illustrations by Robbie Polley) scheduled for release in November.

Professor Fletcher believes that endowed professorships provide an opportunity for the college and the school to recognize faculty for the commitment and dedication they give to their vocation as educators. Many of APLA’s most memorable and highly regarded faculty have been recipients of the Ann and Batey Gresham endowed professorship, and the Gresham’s presence support forms an integral and far-reaching part of the APLA and the CADC.

Vini Nathan, CADC Dean and McWhorter Endowed Chair, says that “Endowed professorships allow us to recognize, reward, and retain outstanding faculty who have had significant and sustained transformative impact on the academic experiences of our students. Such prestige, made possible by our generous donors, also clearly and convincingly signal the high caliber of our programs. “