Professor Barbara A. Sestak elected to College of Fellows of American Institute of Architects
Author: Karen O'Donnell Stein
Posted: February 19, 2015

Professor of Architecture Barbara A. Sestak has been elected to the American Institute of Architects (AIA) College of Fellows, together with 146 of the top architects in the nation, for her contributions in the category that honors achievements in architectural education, training and practice.

This prestigious honor is awarded to “architects who have made a significant contribution to architecture and society and have achieved a standard of excellence in the profession,” according to the AIA’s official announcement. Just over 3,200 of the more than 85,000 AIA members have been honored with elevation to fellowship or honorary fellowship. Election to fellowship not only recognizes the achievements of architects as individuals, but also their significant contribution to architecture and society on a national level.

In his nomination letter, Clark E. Llewellyn, FAIA, wrote, “Professor Sestak has significantly affected the collaborative role between academia and our profession through influencing the focus on NCARB’s support for architectural education. She has led the effort to reposition the award from ‘reward’ to ‘research and application.’ There are very few opportunities within academia for support of professional initiatives. Her influence on NCARB will influence architectural education on a national level for the next generation.”

Barbara Sestak

Sestak is a licensed architect whose practice from 1975 to 1982 focused primarily on large-scale multi-family housing projects. In 1982 she joined the faculty of Portland State University as the only full-time faculty member in architecture, and she went on to serve in a number of influential positions, including teaching, research and administration, over the course of 30 years. Currently a full-time member of the faculty in the School of Architecture, she most recently served as Dean of the College of the Arts, where her major accomplishments included overseeing the remodels of Shattuck Hall, Lincoln Hall and the Lincoln Hall Tower, as well as the creation of the College (formerly the School of Fine and Performing Arts), the creation and accreditation of the Master of Architecture degree, a new film major and the endowment for the Center for Public Interest Design. Previously, Sestak held other key roles at PSU, including Associate Vice Provost for Sponsored Research, Chair of the Department of Architecture, and Chair of the Department of Art.

With a career focused on the integration of the profession and academia, Sestak has made a noteworthy impact on architectural education and licensure. She served as president of AIA/Portland and as a delegate to the Architectural Council of Oregon. She served, by appointment of the governor, for 12 years on the Oregon Board of Architect Examiners. She was a member of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards’ Practice/Education Committee for four years and served as jury chair for the NCARB Prize for three years. She was responsible for the creation of the NCARB Grant, which has become the NCARB Award. She was a member of the NCARB Education Committee, the Practice Analysis Task Force, the Internship Committee and the ARE Test Specification Task Force, whose work impacts requirements for architectural licensure. As the NCARB representative, she was a member of the architectural accreditation teams to nine schools of architecture.

The 2015 Fellows, including Sestak, will be honored at an investiture ceremony at the 2015 National AIA Convention and Design Exposition in Atlanta.