Gift Establishes First Inclusion Scholarship at the School of Architecture

A recent gift to the School of Architecture will focus on supporting architecture students with needs in partnership with the Center for Disability Resources (CDR), an on-campus office that strives to engage the university community to empower students, enhance equity and provide a platform for innovation and inclusion.

Inspired by her own challenges and triumphs in pursuit of a career as a licensed architect, the anonymous donor became interested in finding opportunities for the next generation to enter the profession, making it accessible to anyone interested in or passionate about architecture.

“Architects are slowly adapting to the variety of physical needs of those who use architecture; it is time for academia to embrace that we all learn differently and have different physical needs to learn,” says the School of Architecture alumna. “Imagine how embracing neurodiversity in educating architects could improve the spaces we design.”

The gift will establish the School of Architecture Access and Accessibility Endowed Scholarship, which will provide financial assistance to undergraduate students enrolled in the School of Architecture, with a preference for students also registered with the CDR.

“This inclusion scholarship is historic, not only because it’s the first inclusion scholarship at our school, and one of the first of its kind at the university, but also because it supports our students through inclusion and accessible support—a vital commitment built within our academic strategic plan,” says Michael Speaks, dean of the School of Architecture.

“While a gift of support targeted towards student disability needs in any capacity is a most generous and valuable gift, it holds particular significance within the creative fields such as architecture,” says Eliana Abu-Hamdi, associate dean for research at the School of Architecture and co-director of the school’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access (DEIA) Council. “Not only is this professional degree program particularly challenging, but so too is the method in which information is acquired, disseminated and executed. Students face challenges at every step of their curricular journey, and students with disabilities must navigate these challenges in a field that is not naturally built for accommodations. It is gifts and forms of support such as this that help narrow the gaps, allowing students to feel seen, acknowledged and, most importantly, help alleviate the stigma of accommodation.”

“The impact of this gift is not only significant as we celebrate the School’s 150th anniversary, but it is also one of the first scholarships designed to eliminate financial barriers for students while supporting accessibility at Syracuse University in its 153 years,” says Traci Washburn, assistant dean for advancement at the School of Architecture. “We hope that this scholarship will inspire others to support our students today and for the next 150 years at Syracuse Architecture.”

To support the School of Architecture Access and Accessibility Endowed Scholarship Fund, please visit this page.

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