Student Awards

Architecture and Interior Design

Academic Year 2019-2020

Congratulations to all Department of Architecture and Interior Design students who graduated in 2020. Despite unprecedented adversity, you finished your coursework with courage and aplomb. We pause now to reflect on a few students whose achievements warrant additional praise for their excellence in academics, creativity, leadership, and service. Join me in congratulating this elite group of learners who demonstrate the best of what our programs aspire to be. To God be the glory, for great things is He doing in the lives of our graduates.

AIA Henry Adams Medal and Certificate

The American Institute of Architects issues the Henry Adams Medal and the Henry Adams Certificate. The former awarded to the graduating Master of Architecture candidate with the highest cumulative grade point average, and the latter to the graduating undergraduate candidate in architecture with the highest cumulative GPA. It is important to point out that, in a discipline like architecture, GPA, measures much more than ‘book smarts”.

Medal:  Lacey Wells

The 2019-2020 recipient of the Henry Adams Medal for academic excellence is Lacey Wells. Throughout her undergraduate and graduate career at Judson University, Lacey has consistently excelled in her studies, engaging all of her coursework with diligence and tenacity.

Certificate:  Maxwell Starcevich

The 2019-2020 recipient of the Henry Adams Certificate for academic excellence is Maxwell Starcevich. Max has demonstrated a consistent, high level of academic and creative performance that has earned him this high honor.

Alpha Rho Chi Medal

Since 1931, the Alpha Rho Chi Medal has recognized graduating architecture students for leadership and service toward the future of the profession. The medal, cast in bronze, is awarded annually to a graduating senior at each accredited school of architecture in the United States and Canada. Judged by the faculty of each school, the medal is presented to the graduating senior who has demonstrated leadership, performed willing service to his or her school or department, and gives promise of real professional merit.

Medal & Certificate:  Elizabeth Van Bruggen

The architecture faculty of Judson University has unanimously selected Elizabeth Van Bruggen as the 2019-2020 recipient of this award.  Elizabeth has displayed a heart of servant-leadership in her activities on campus and off. She has modeled a selfless service to the Department of Architecture and to her fellow students, always with a smile. Her dedication to her studies and her success in the classroom has been exemplary and has placed her in good stead to serve and to excel in the profession of architecture.

ALA Student Merit Award

The Association of Licensed Architects annually recognizes top graduates, regionally, for academic excellence in architecture. This year they have recognized one UG and one graduate student. Each student will receive a Lucite plaque and an annual membership to the ALA.

Graduate:  Kate Davenport

UG:  Caleb Rutter

Tau Sigma Delta Honor Society Bronze Medal

Tau Sigma Delta is the national honor society in architecture and the allied arts. The Tau Sigma Delta Bronze Medal is awarded by the campus chapters of Tau Sigma Delta to a student who has distinguished him/herself in design in the field of architecture, landscape architecture, or the  allied arts. The selection of the recipient is made by the student membership of each chapter.

Medal & Certificate:  Maxwell Starcevich

The Tau Sigma Delta Bronze Medal is awarded by individual chapters of Tau Sigma Delta to students who have distinguished themselves in design in the field of architecture, landscape architecture, or the allied arts. The selection of the recipient is made by the student and alumni membership of each chapter. The Bronze Medal recipient for 2020 is Maxwell Starcevich. Max was selected by his peers for this award on the basis of his portfolio and an essay submission on the topic of “shelter”.

Outstanding Performance in Fourth Year Design

The fourth year undergraduate Architectural Design studio, which just culminated a few days ago, is a critical component to accredited architectural education, and it is a heroic pursuit to design and deliver a technically integrated building idea. Each year, the teaching faculty recognize a short list of students for outstanding performance in balancing the design and technical considerations required by this studio.

Emmaline Okesson

Adam Wise

Chairs Award for Professional Promise

Creighton North

Chair’s Award for High Distinction

Jarod Pletcher

The Chair’s Award for High Distinction in Service to Judson University is sponsored by the Chair of the Department of Architecture at Judson University and is presented to the graduating senior student who exemplifies leadership in service to the University. The 2019-2020 recipient of the Chair’s Award for High Distinction in Service is Jarod Pletcher. Jarod has performed at the highest levels academically while giving much of his time and talent to serving the Judson community. His commitment to University service is a model for the entire campus, students, staff, and faculty alike. 

Award of High Distinction and Outstanding Performance in Interior Design

The Award of High Distinction and Outstanding Performance in Interior Design recognizes graduating students for academic excellence and exemplary application of interior design principles embodied in both individual / team studio projects and the capstone senior thesis project identification, preparation, and execution.

Olivia Marshall

Christyanne Wheeler

Architectural Study Tour Fellow

Elise Elliot

The Architectural Study Tour Fellowship is a distinctive honor for a highly qualified Judson graduate student, recognizing academic excellence, leadership capacity, and spiritual/personal maturity. This Fellowship is a competitive award, granted to a current Judson University Master of Architecture student, to serve as a graduate assistant for the ARC 381 Architectural Study Tour. The Fellowship includes all travel and accommodations in addition to a $1000 stipend. The 2019-20 recipient of the Architecture Study Tour Fellowship is Elise Elliott. Elise has consistently demonstrated her service and commitment to excellence in the architecture department at Judson University. Since the summer 2020 Study Tour was cancelled due to the pandemic, Elise will fulfill her Fellowship duties on the 2021 Study Tour. 

Tau Sigma Delta Honor Society Stoles Presentation

The Tau Sigma Delta Honor Society was established in 1913 to acknowledge outstanding upper-division undergraduate and graduate students who rank in the top 20% of their class. The following graduating seniors join an outstanding group of individuals and active professionals nationwide who have demonstrated excellence in your professional degree program.

Jennifer Iverson

Olivia Marshall

Brooke Nickell

Jarod Pletcher

Maxwell Starcevich

Elizabeth Van Bruggen

Taylor Wills

Adam Wise

As many of you are aware, Judson is shifting all coursework to online/distance format for the remainder of the semester. This includes architecture and interior design. Students will receive additional instruction from studio professors this afternoon on how each course will proceed. There are no exceptions for architecture or ID students to stay in the dorms, except if they are international students or athletes. Most students need to clear out of the studio and their residence halls as if it were the end of the semester.
The Weber Center, like many campus buildings, will remain open even as students are away. Faculty and staff will continue to work, though some instructors may choose to work from home as appropriate. Local students are welcome to utilize the studio, wood shop, and possibly the digital fabrication lab on an individual basis.

For general updates from Judson University, visit:

The American Institute of Architect Northeast Illinois Chapter recognized Dr. Curtis Sartor with the 2018 Architects In Action Service Award in the Educator category during its Nov. 5, 2018, awards ceremony in Downers Grove, Ill.

In a statement, the AIA Northeast Illinois Chapter concluded that Dr. Sartor had “demonstrated business and education excellence and the highest standards of ethical conduct, integrity, and both civic and social responsibility within the architectural profession.”

Dr. Sartor is the Interim Chair of Judson’s Architecture Department, an Architecture Professor and Associate Vice President for Diversity & Spiritual Development. He earned a master’s degree in Architecture from Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Ala., and a Ph.D. in Environmental Design (with specialties in Cultural Anthropology and Multicultural Studies) from The Union Institute & University in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is also a licensed minister and serves as pastor and youth minister for Come As You Are Church (CAYA #1) in Elgin, Ill.



The Northeast Illinois Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) awarded Judson architecture Amanda Buehler a $3,000 scholarship. Buehler  expects to earn a Master of Architecture in May 2019.  “My career aspirations are merely results of my philosophy on and passion for beauty and community. My love for simple discovery has led me to approach architecture as an experience. Discovering architecture has been a personal journey that has continually humbled and broadened my perception,” says Buehler.  As an architect, she wants to preserve historic styles and local cultures and design buildings that tell a story.

In September, the American Society of Interior Designers – Illinois Chapter (ASID-IL), held its 15th annual Design Excellence Awards and Celebration of Design Gala at Marshall’s Landing in the historic Merchandise Mart.

Judson’s Adjunct Interior Design Professor Joan Kaufman, FASID received the First-Place award for Bath Design in the 2018 The Illinois Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers Design Excellence Award. 

The Design Excellence Awards program recognizes the highest quality designs from Illinois firms.  A total of 20 Design Excellence Awards were presented to honorees who excelled in the areas of Contract, Residential, Kitchen, Bath, Historic Restoration and Product Design. A distinguished panel of judges from ASID chapters in other states anonymously reviewed the submissions.

Joan Kaufman is a strong leader in eco-friendly design, her work has been widely published and her firm received the 2015 Design Excellence Award for its project at Springbrook Animal Care Center. Her firm has also won awards for Lighting Design and for the Chicago Wolves headquarters office. The firm’s residential work was recently featured in ‘Better Homes & Gardens Remodeling Ideas’ magazine.

Kaufman, a resident of Naperville, Ill., and nationally recognized award-winning interior designer, is president and founder of Interior Planning and Design, Inc., a full-service interior design firm she founded in 1990. The firm focuses in the creation of interior environments through space planning, interior design, lighting, color, finishes, furniture and art. She also teaches in Judson’s Interior Design program.


Summer Architecture Camp!

Each summer, Judson’s Department of Architecture hosts a week-long architecture discovery workshop. Students live on campus for a week in July, experiencing design studio, touring Chicago firms and museums, eating in the cafeteria, and sleeping in the dorms. Students come from all over the US to learn more about careers in architecture and design related fields. It is a great way to complement your high school curriculum and get a taste of architecture school. We would love to have you join us at one of only a few Christian architecture schools in the country with a professional, accredited M.Arch. Judson is one of a kind; you belong here!

Study architecture at a Christian University for a week this summer!

For More Information

National rankings of architecture schools usually show up in the popular press around this time of year. Design Intelligence surveys all of the Deans and Chairs of architecture schools in the United States to see who wins the popularity contest each year. Judson never measures up because it is a young program and fairly invisible to the broader architecture and design culture. Judson doesn’t have partners in the multi-national design firms, or philanthropic/activist alumni (yet!).

But we would like to draw attention to an area of success that may surprise you. Judson University takes seriously the preparation of young emerging professionals in architecture, in the context of a liberal arts and Christian higher education mission. The pass rates for the nationally administered architecture registration exam are one indicator of the success of any architecture program that is indeed preparing graduates to practice in the field. If you are interested in the measurable results of the investment made in higher education, please take a minute to review this data. You will see that Judson graduates perform better on the licensing exams that almost every other school in the state of Illinois, in almost every category! It’s a great time to be a Judson Eagle.



2012 License Exam Pass Rates JUDSON GRADS


Weber Center Analytics Dashboard

The architecture program is housed in one of the greenest college campus buildings in the US. Click on the icon at the bottom of this page for details of the Weber Center, or click HERE for a new, real-time analytic dashboard of utilities data.

Prospective students and families are invited to the spring preview events scheduled for February 19-20 and March 31. More information can be found by clicking here. Join us in our exploration of the intersection of Christian faith and architecture.

Sarah Dede (2013 BA Architectural Studies) was recently honored by Wheaton Academy. Here is a clip from the Wheaton Academy Connection Alumni Notes:

130927 Sarah Dede

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Architecture and Interior Design

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