For immediate release:
Washington, D.C. – December 12, 2011 – The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has selected Mortimer Marshall, Jr., FAIA, as the 2012 recipient of the Whitney M. Young Jr. Award, given to an architect or architecturally oriented organization exemplifying the profession’s responsibility toward current social issues. Marshall is being recognized for his continued dedication to the profession and his approach to architecture as a vehicle for leadership and service.
The award honors civil rights leader Whitney M. Young Jr., proponent of social change and head of the Urban League from 1961 until his death in 1971. At the 1968 AIA Annual Convention, Young challenged architects to more actively increase participation in the profession by minorities and women.
Marshall’s attended Tuskegee University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture. After graduating, he joined the U.S. Air Force and rose through the ranks with the Naval Facilities Engineering Command.
As director of design on the staff of the Secretary of Defense, a position he occupied from 1967 to 1982, Marshall was responsible for developing and implementing design policies and construction standards to guide the multi-billion-dollar design and construction program of the U.S. military worldwide.
Beyond the military, Marshall is recognized for his early efforts to help even the playing field for small firms seeking work with public clients. “He worked with the GSA to include small businesses, women and minorities in their public buildings service program as early as the seventies,” wrote former AIA president Marshall Purnell, FAIA, in his recommendation letter. “He promoted joint ventures as a way for smaller practices to gain needed experience.”
In 1982 Marshall founded The Marshall Group, which he continues to lead as president. The firm, located just outside the nation’s capital, provides architectural, structural engineering, construction management and general contracting services for public and private clients on a variety of project types, including several facilities for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Department in Newark, New York and Washington, D.C.
Even as he transitioned into the private sector, Marshall continued his service to the AIA. Having chaired the College of Fellows Jury in 1992, Marshall lent his knowledge and experience to members seeking fellowship status by later chairing the Fellows Committee of the Washington, DC AIA chapter. Marshall also served as a board member of the AIA DC chapter, and currently is a member of the AIA Federal Architecture Task Group.
In the 1980’s Marshall became the first African-American to attain board membership with the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS). He served on the NIBS board twice, and earlier this year NIBS honored Marshall’s commitment by establishing a new lifetime achievement award in his name.
In addition to the AIA and NIBS, Marshall has been an active member of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA). His board service there was recognized by election to the NOMA Council, the organization’s highest membership honor bestowed on members who have made significant contributions to the profession. Marshall has also served as president of the D.C. Metropolitan Chapter of the Construction Specifications Institute, and has been a member of the Construction Sciences Research Board.
Marshall has sponsored scholarships for minority students to pursue architecture and building careers through the ACE Mentor Program, and provided financial support, contributed materials, and encouraged his own staff at The Marshall Group to become mentors in the Architecture in Schools program by the Washington Architectural Foundation. The program matches volunteer architects with public school teachers to engage children in learning activities involving the architectural design process.
Marshall has stayed connected to his alma mater by assisting Tuskegee University’s School of Architecture in its accreditation process. He also helped to establish Florida A&M University’s School of Architecture.
About The American Institute of Architects
For over 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct to ensure the highest standards in professional practice. Embracing their responsibility to serve society, AIA members engage civic and government leaders and the public in helping find needed solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit www.aia.org.