Traci Sooter Elevated to Fellow
Traci Dawn Sooter was elevated to the College of Fellows by the 2018 Jury of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects. This honor was awarded to Sooter because of her service to society, as her activities were recognized as a significant contribution to the profession. The 2018 Fellows was honored at an investiture ceremony at the AIA Conference on Architecture 2018 in New York City, New York.
Out of a total AIA membership of over 90,000, fewer than four percent of members have been distinguished with the honor of fellowship and honorary fellowship. Architects are eligible for fellowship when they have at least a decade of membership in the AIA and have excelled in one of the following categories:
- Promoted the aesthetic, scientific, and practical efficiency of the profession
- Advanced the science and art of planning and building by advancing the standards of architectural education, training and practice
- Coordinated the building industry and the profession of architecture through leadership in the AIA and other related professional organizations
- Advanced the living standards of people through an improved environment
- Made the profession of ever-increasing service to society
Sooter is the first female architect and the fourth overall from the AIA Springfield component to be elevated to AIA Fellow. Richard P. Stahl, a 1936 Drury graduate and architect of many distinguished buildings, was the first to achieve this distinction in 1996. Andrew Wells and Michael Buono were awarded fellowship in 2012 and 2016, respectively.
“I do not consider this recognition of work I did alone, because I was never alone,” Sooter noted. “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:
- Four design/build projects for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition that included the interior of the “Barnabunk” for Camp Barnabas in Purdy, Missouri.
- The “Volunteer Tribute” and the Butterfly Garden and Overlook in Cunningham Park in Joplin, following the devastating tornado in May of 2011.
- The ShelteR3 project for 2015 Solar Decathlon contest, against peers from 19 other colleges from around the nation, including Yale, Stanford and Missouri University of Science & Technology.
- The first-ever Platinum LEED home for Habitat for Humanity International.
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.