Prizes, Awards, Transitions, Congratulations

Remarks given Wednesday, May 31, 2023 at our end-of year celebration and Prizes and Awards Ceremony. Congratulations to all our graduates, and all who helped them on their way.


Friends and colleagues, students, and graduates;
Welcome to our awards and prizes presentation - 
I have been fortunate to lead this remarkable community for three years as of tomorrow; In this role, I’m ever-more aware that ritual makes culture, and culture defines community.

While disrupted by the pandemic, the handing out of awards is one of the oldest rituals of this department—dating back almost the full length of our 155-year history. It is therefore worth valuing, but also considering for what it means for us today.

The word ‘award’ comes from the old English wardian; sharing a common root with ‘warden’ and ‘regard,’ it means to look, carefully.

We are here, then, really, to pay attention to each other, and in particular those graduating today. In our M.Arch and PhD program, they are the particularly resilient students whose education was defined by two and a half years of Covid-related regulation and estrangement. For our SMArchS, SMBT, and SMACT students, they are the group who had to redefine these two-year programs as we all returned, carefully and anxiously, to our physical campus.  While we today, once more, hand out individual awards, I ask that we take these prizes as an opportunity to consider the values they represent as lived by our whole community in this time – as well as, of course those individuals the faculty has nominated to represent these values. Let's begin;

The William Emerson Prize is given to graduating architecture seniors for academic excellence:
Juliana Green and Katherine Guo

The Harry Wentworth Gardner [1894] Prize is awarded to graduating architecture seniors for achievement in design:
Natasha Hirt and Isabel ‘Izzi’ Waitz

The Tucker-Voss Award was established in memory of Professors Ross F. Tucker and Walter C. Voss, the first two heads of the Department of Building Construction (Course 17), which merged with the Departments of Architecture and Civil and Environmental Engineering in the 1950s. This year, the Tucker-Voss Award is given on the basis on academic standing, leadership, and promise in the field of building construction to:
Juliana Berglund-Brown 

The TODA Award is named for the TODA Corporation, which has been committed to key aspects of construction since its foundation in 1881. The award is given to a student who demonstrates excellence in research in Building Technology:
Mohamed 'Moh' Ismail 

The Marvin Goody [1951] Award is given each term to master’s students – in any MIT department – graduating the following term. Selection is on the basis of the promise and subject of the thesis proposal, as it relates to the aims of the Goody Award: to extend the horizons of existing building techniques and use of materials, to encourage links between the academic world and the building industry, and to increase appreciation of the bond between good design and good building – criteria intended to reflect the range of Marvin Goody’s interests as a teacher, researcher, and designer. There were 2 awardees this past fall and 2 awardees this spring. They are:
For Fall 2022: Ous Abou Ras and Sabika Bharmal 
For Spring 2023: William Wilson Marshall and Susan Williams

The Kristen Ellen Finnegan Memorial Fund Award helps an outstanding third-year female PhD student in History, Theory and Criticism establish and enhance her research library:
Margaret ‘Maggie’ Freeman 

The Julian Beinart Research Award is given to an SA+P graduate student to support research covering a broad field of investigation into city design or theoretical propositions about the form of cities, in the field of architecture and urbanism:
Hong Ting ‘Bryan’ Wong 

The Louis C. Rosenberg [1913] Travel Scholarship is given to senior American architectural students looking to study or travel in Western Europe:
Christopher Allen 

Schlossman Research Fellowships are awarded grants for purposes that contribute to the research of the graduate student, including travel. Grants support archival research, project documentation, and first-hand study of architectural history and design or – to reflect emerging opportunities in architecture –engagement of computation and design.
Lauren Gideonse and Ekin Bilal

The Tappe Scholarship for Fontainbleau School of Music and Fine Arts, Architecture Academy is made possible by the support of A. Anthony Tappe, MArch and MCP 1958 and alumnus of Fontainebleau. The scholarship enables one undergraduate or graduate student to attend the Architecture Summer Session at the Chateau Fontainebleau in France. The program for architects begins in Paris, with seminars and visits, preparing students for the following weeks of workshops, lectures, visits and studios in and around the Chateau Fontainebleau. 
Yi En ‘Ina’ Wu and Bella Carriker 

The Edward Allen Student Award is the highest honor given by the Building Technology Educators’ Society recognizing students–who over their academic career–have demonstrated commitment, passion, curiosity, and excellence in the integration of building technology and architectural design. This year’s winner is 
Tristian ‘Tris’ Searight

The Master of Science in Architecture Studies Thesis Prize is awarded to students nominated by the faculty for outstanding thesis work, based on the thesis presentation 
Kim Il Hwan 

The Arthur Rotch Special Prize is given to graduating Master of Science in Architecture Studies students for overall academic achievement in classwork and thesis who have demonstrated excellence in more than one field:
Nanase Shirokawa 

The Sydney B. Karofsky [1937] Prize is awarded to outstanding MArch students with one further year of study:
Leanah Sloan Aulgur and Jeonghyun Yoon 

The Marjorie Pierce/Dean William Emerson Fellowship Award is a full tuition fellowship for a second-year woman for outstanding academic and design achievement. The award honors Dean William Emerson, the first dean of MIT’s School of Architecture, and Marjorie Pierce, who graduated from MIT with a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture in 1922 and a Master’s degree in Architecture the following year:
Soala Ajienka

The Rosemary Grimshaw Award is presented to the MArch student whose thesis proposal best exemplifies the spirit of Professor Grimshaw, a remarkable woman who taught and served as a thesis advisor until 1994. The thesis proposal must draw upon disciplines other than architecture, the body of work must have its own intrinsic merit, and the thesis must have real-world relevance and application. The award is intended to help fund the costs of producing a thesis. This year, we have two outstanding awardees:
Ellen Reinhard and Jenna Schnitzler

The Imre Halasz Thesis Prize acknowledges academic excellence as represented in an MArch thesis in which the design recognizes the expanding responsibility of architecture. This year’s thesis was a joint thesis between 
Oliver Faber and Tim Cousin
For the thesis titled “Thermal Collectives: Architectural Imaginaries Beyond Modern Comfort”

The Faculty Thesis Award is awarded to a graduating MArch student in recognition of an exemplary thesis that advances the disciplinary discourse within the Department of Architecture. This year's award goes to 
Yoonjae Oh
For the thesis titled “Not So Correct: Rebuilding with the Fragments of Memories”

The Arthur Rotch [1872–1873] Prize recognizes achievement in architectural design. This year's award goes to:
Emily Wissemann 

The American Institute of Architects Certificate of Merit is awarded to the second-ranking graduating MArch student. This year's recipient is:
Latifa Alkhayat 

The American Institute of Architects Henry Adams Medal is awarded to the top-ranking graduating MArch student. This award goes to:
Tim Cousin

Our last awards are for the service and leadership that has been so essential during the life of our community in thi time. This year's Department Leadership Award to a graduating MArch students for commitment to leadership in our community goes to:
Daisy Ziyan Zhang

The Alpha Rho Chi Bronze Medal is presented to a graduating MArch student for service, leadership, and promise of professional merit. Alpha Rho Chi is the national fraternity for professional architects, and today’s winner will receive an engraved bronze medal:
Zachariah Kish-DeGiulio

Congratulations to all students who have received awards, and to a larger body of students for whom today represents an expression of shared ideals. We are so proud of you, and so grateful for the time that you have spent with us.

Before we conclude this ceremony, I'd like to ask your patience for just a few more announcements and reflections.

As well as for their awards today, I’d like to recognize Latifah AlKayat and Emily Wisseman, who offered the strongest applications for our postgraduate teaching fellow program this year, and who I’m very grateful to say have accepted our offer to spend an additional year with us teaching and doing research.

I’d like to recognize Sheila Kennedy as the outgoing director of our SMArchS programs as well as our SMArchS AD concentration; Sheila has done a remarkable job of elevating these programs in our rituals and culture, and I’m particularly grateful for her advocacy and support to students. I’m also very grateful to Ana Miljački for stepping into these roles starting in the fall, and I know she will bring her own unique strengths to better elevating our SMArchS programs alongside our M.Arch degree, and also providing greater exchange and potential integration between them.

I’d also like to recognize particularly our outgoing Associate Head for Strategy and Equity, Terry Knight. When I asked Terry to take on this role in March of 2020, neither one of us could have foreseen how important it would be in the life and culture of the department, and how much work it will be. I extend my gratitude as well to Miho Mazereeuw, who will be stepping into this role this fall, and like Ana, will be working closely with her predecessor to ensure continuity and continued momentum in this essential work.

Finally, I would like to take a moment to recognize all our Faculty, and all our Staff, for the enormous sacrifices they have made, and support they have given to this graduating student, over their remarkable time here at MIT.

This community has come through an enormous amount in the last several years — but even greater work awaits. This is a deeply challenged world that urgently needs creativity, joy, and transformation in how it lives, works, and builds. This is a far cry from the world that created many of the awards we distributed today. It calls, from all of us, ways of thinking, and ways of collaboration, that, in many ways, eclipse traditional models of individual achievement. 

To take the words of Walt Whitman's Song of the Open Road,

Listen! I will be honest with you,
I do not offer the old smooth prizes, but offer rough new prizes
These are the days that must happen to you.

May we all enjoy and celebrate these days of graduation with each other; and help each other shape the best of our days to come.

Nicholas de Monchaux
May 31, 2023