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Commencement 2016

Congratulations, Graduates!

Congratulations to the Class of 2016. This year the School of Architecture and Planning sent off 226 architects and planners into the world of practice and further academic pursuits. Held at UB's Center for the Arts on May 13, 2016, the ceremony was an elegant affair, presided over by UB President Satish K. Tripathi with honored guests including leaders from the professional community, the University at Buffalo and the State University of New York. Welcoming our newest alumni into the school's network of professionals was Kelly Dixon (MUP '06), a leading transportation planner in the Buffalo Niagara region. 

Please enjoy these photo and video memories of this milestone moment for our graduates. 

On this page:

Commencement Videos

Part 1: Processional, Welcomes, Address

Toshiko Mori, the Robert P. Hubbard Professor in the Practice of Architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and founder and principal of Toshiko Mori Architect, addressed graduates after receiving the 2016 Dean's Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the school. In her address to graduates, Mori reflected on her childhood in post-war Japan, her experience as a student in the U.S., and her architectural practice over the past 40 years.  

  • She encouraged graduates not to lose their fresh sense of perspective and idealism as they transition from student to professional. As a young girl in post-war Japan, Mori was heavily influenced by her family's and community's sense of optimism, ingenuity and resourcefulness in the face of rebuilding. "Have courage, believe in yourself and keep your enthusiasm, idealism and optimism going."
  • Mori added that the narrowing gap between academia and practice provides fertile ground for speculation and questioning and the idealism once relegated to the classroom or studio. Mori herself translated her thesis project - a 160-square-foot prototype - into her first built work and the start of her practice 35 years ago. She says she is still as idealistic as ever and often recalls the moment of her own graduation to remind her of that "spirit of adventure and willingness to take risks."
  • As an immigrant studying architecture in the U.S., Mori developed a healthy level of skepticism for the status quo and those in positions of authority. "I didn't want to be taken for granted nor taken advantage of. I learned to question everything," she said. "Architecture is often associated with power and unless one resists it it can consume you into a structure that you may not believe in. Look beyond titles and affiliations and see for yourself the real nature of human beings behind them and the values they represent."  
  • 'Continue until you succeed,' said Mori, referencing the words of Isamu Noguchi, a Japanese-American sculptor for whom Mori apprenticed and who shared in the struggles of someone caught in the "chasm of multiple identities and nationalities. She added: "Be persistent, resistant, and keep going...bulldoze through obstinate barriers."

"Architecture is often associated with power and unless one resists it it can consume you into a structure that you may not believe in." 

- Toshiko Mori, architect and educator

Part 2: Degree Conferral, Awards

Commencement 2016 Student Awardees

Students who demonstrated the highest levels of achievement and innovation in their studies were recognized during the ceremony. Awards were presented by academic leadership in the School of Architecture and Planning and professional organizations in the region.

Alexandra Caroline Sheehan, Alpha Rho Chi Medal
Camden Miller, Academic Excellence Award and Best Thesis Award
Carl Stanbro, ARCC / King Student Medal for Excellence in Architectural+Environmental Research
Emily Hays, Best Final Project Award
Evan Iacobucci, Dean's Certificate
Kelley M. Mosher, R. Buckminster Fuller Award
Mahan Mehrvarz, AIA Henry Adams Gold Medal and Chair's Award
Nathan Aldrich, AICP Planning Excellence Award
Rachel Marie Mordaunt, Alpha Rho Chi Medal
Sadichchha Dhakhwa, Academic Excellence Award
Shaobo Niu, Academic Excellence Award
Taras Kes
, AIA Henry Adams Certificate of Merit
Micaela Brianne Barker, Fred Wallace Brunkow Fellowship

Commencement Photo Gallery