Drury architecture professor Traci Sooter elected to AIA College of Fellows

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., February 27, 2018 — Drury University professor of architecture Traci Sooter has been named to American Institute of Architects’ prestigious College of Fellows. The 2018 Fellows will be honored at an investiture ceremony at the AIA Conference on Architecture in New York City this summer.

The College of Fellows, founded in 1952, is composed of members of the Institute who are elected by a jury of their peers. Fellowship is one of the highest honors the AIA can bestow upon a member, recognizing both individual achievement and significant contributions to the field of architecture and to society. Of more than 90,000 AIA members, fewer than four percent are distinguished with the honor of fellowship.

Traci SooterSooter is only the fourth AIA member, and the first female architect, from the southwest Missouri area to be elected an AIA Fellow. All have ties to Drury. The first was 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. Professor emeritus and former director of the Hammons School of Architecture Dr. Michael Buono, was elected 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. 

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Media Contact: Traci Sooter, Professor of Architecture, Director – Design/Build Program: (417) 873-7416 or tsooter@drury.edu