Class of ’75 Challenges Members to Establish the UC Scholarship Fund for the Study of Architecture
Contact: Brandi Lewis
There’s something special about the architectural class of 1975. It’s not often that a class can track down all but 10 of their 78 class alumni. Nor is it all that common for a third of the class to enthusiastically attend their 40th reunion.
“We immediately talked about why we chose UC,” says class spokesperson and unabashed cheerleader Peter Lapointe, who designed buildings worldwide until he started his own business 15 years ago in his native New England. “At the time we started together, tuition was affordable. But it was also a tumultuous time. You had the shootings at Kent State and the ending of Vietnam. In some way it all bonded us together.”
The top discussion point at the reunion was their education. They clearly recognized that their program was and is one of the best in the nation.
“It gave us a holistic approach that other programs didn’t,” Peter recalls. “Once we were in our co-ops, we were able to hit the ground running. The program gave us a foundation to know more than just traditional architecture. We learned how the building and its surroundings relate together. We were amazingly prepared to tackle the world.
“As we returned for our 40th class reunion we appreciated even more how that education gave us the special elements to achieve success. We also recognized that the campus is a showcase of architecture. We were amazed to realize how much a DAAP education can cost now a days.”
That’s when their plan began to germinate.
Dean Robert Probst shared an update at the reunion. The program is consistently rated among the best in the nation but loses the brightest and best applicants to competing programs that are able to offer substantial scholarships.
“So we thought, if affordability was one of the main reasons we chose UC, why don’t we do something to ensure we do get those outstanding students in the program,” says Peter. “The program receives annual donations but they help more with programmatic needs than student tuition.”
After some thought, a letter was sent by Peter, Mark McKillip, Steve Sendelbeck, Joe Strauss and Alan Weiskopf to the 1975 class alumni. They issued a challenge to establish a $50,000 endowed scholarship for promising architectural students. They figured it would take five years. The five letter-authors each pledged $1,000 a year for the next five years. They calculated that if 25 additional alums agree to contribute $200 a year for the five year period, their vision would be fulfilled.
Now the dream has expanded. Once the group hits their target, they are determined to issue a challenge to the other 40 classes to follow suit with each matching the class of 1975 with their own $50,000.
“Imagine the legacy we can create for the practice of architecture if class after class is inspired to join in adding to this endowment,” says Peter. “If you break it down to small chunks it isn’t that difficult. Take the cost of a daily cup of coffee or something else that’s not necessarily a necessity and you can have your contribution.
“It’s a great time to be in the profession,” he believes. “Current students can have a unique vision for the future, a vision that can help them create things that are socially responsible for the planet. Our class has seen how we have transformed how we operate from using a pencil to using a mouse that integrates buildings with our environment. Creating this scholarship opens the doors to the best and brightest who can truly make a difference in the world.”