AIA Gainesville President Bradley Walters had the opportunity to address the second class of students to complete their Master of Architecture degrees at the University of Florida CityLab Program in Orlando, Florida. At the Convocation, held at the Orlando Museum of Art on Thursday, 30 April 2015, Walters welcomed the new graduates to the profession. The full text of his remarks is as follows:
Welcome to the Profession
With Saturday’s commencement, you are all taking an important step along the path to professional licensure. It is my honor to welcome you into our profession.
As architects, we are responsible for protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the people who live and work in the buildings we create. You must be licensed by a jurisdiction in order to practice architecture within that jurisdiction. Licensure signifies to the public that you have completed the education, experience, and examination necessary to practice architecture independently.
Today, you complete your educational requirement. If you haven’t already, I would encourage you to begin the next step by documenting work experiences that can count towards licensure. By creating your record with NCARB and logging your work with the Intern Development Program, you can track your professional development and individual progress towards licensure. I applaud those of you who have already taken this step, and especially those of you who have completed IDP.
The final step for you is the Architectural Registration Examination. The exam’s seven divisions will test your knowledge of programming, design, structures, building systems, and practice. It can seem daunting. My advice to you: Start taking your exams now. Don’t wait, and don’t be afraid. You can do this.
I also want to tell you that you are not alone in this pursuit, or in your work. Ours is a profession made of people, creative people, like you, who imagine something better than what exists today.
On February 23, 1857, 13 architects met to form what would eventually become the American Institute of Architects. The group sought to create an architecture organization that would “promote the scientific and practical perfection of its members” and “elevate the standing of the profession.”
From a small group of professionals sharing a meal, the Institute has grown to a robust, focused organization providing guidance, service, and standards to architects around the world. The AIA continues to strive for quality, consistency, and safety in the built environment and to serve as the voice of the architecture profession.
The American Institute of Architects is your organization. I encourage you to become members. You will instantly expand your support network by more than 85,000 colleagues, gain a valuable professional resource to draw upon, and become part of a powerful, collective voice that advocates for architects nationwide.
As new graduates, there are special benefits available to you, including:
- Free membership in the AIA for up to 18 months, and
- Complimentary registration for this year’s National Convention and Design Exposition in Atlanta, Georgia.
The AIA is not an aloof and distant organization. The AIA is you, and it is me. The Institute is active in every state of the US and in every major metropolitan area. Here in Orlando, you will find the AIA Orlando chapter to be a robust and active group. AIA Orlando is one of the largest chapters in the state of Florida, consisting of over 600 members. Join them for social events, meetings, continuing education, and their always-popular “Thirsty Thursdays.” Find out more at aiaorlando.com.
Today, I congratulate you all on achieving this milestone and look forward to seeing you graduate on Saturday. I also welcome you, as you join our great profession. Our profession needs you: your critical minds, talented hands, and thoughtful, fresh perspectives. There is much to do. Let’s get to work.
Bradley Walters, AIA
Architect + Assistant Professor
University of Florida School of Architecture
2015 President AIA Gainesville