Award recognizes significant contributions to the profession and Institute

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) December 7 announced the Board of Directors of the AIA bestowed Ronald Skaggs, FAIA, with the 2017 Edward C. Kemper Award. Named in honor of the AIA’s first executive director, the award is given annually to an architect who has contributed significantly to the profession through service to the AIA. Skaggs, whose uncanny ability to recruit, mentor, and involve others in projects and causes has built a lasting commitment to excellence within everyone who has collaborated with him. Skaggs will be honored at the 2017 AIA National Convention in Orlando.

Ronald Skaggs, FAIA. Credit: HKS, Inc.

Ronald Skaggs, FAIA. Credit: HKS, Inc.

As the 76th President of AIA National in 2000, Skaggs led the institute to commit more fully to livable communities, financial responsibility, international cooperation, and architectural leadership in the communities in which architects serve. He established the AIA’s first finance committee and through his outreach efforts created a series of collaborative accords with the Architects Council of Europe, Japan Institute of Architects, Royal Institute of British Architects, The Federation of Colleges of Architecture of the Mexican Republic, and the Royal Australian Institute of Architects. In his capacity as President he also spoke at international conferences across the world.

When he was elected Chancellor of the College of Fellows at the 2012 Convention, Skaggs focused on nudging all fellows to become a service to society while committing themselves to roles of positive mentorship for emerging architects. Under his leadership, the college saw the addition of 122 new fellows and seven honorary fellows, and he led the selection of the seventh Latrobe Prize for research, Urban Sphere: the City of 7 Billion. The end of his term culminated with the establishment of a College of Chancellors that advises the College of Fellows’ executive committee.

“Ron is a valuable role model of leadership and service, showing others what is possible when someone sees a need and steps forward to assure it is addressed,” wrote RK Stewart, FAIA, 2007 AIA President, in a letter supporting Skaggs’ nomination. “Time and time again Ron has answered the AIA’s call and contributed to making solutions happen.”

Skaggs is chairman emeritus of HKS Architects, a firm with 19 offices in the United States and seven worldwide. The entirety of his career has been spent as a healthcare architect, and Skaggs has created humanistic healing environments that rely heavily on technological advances in the field, primarily in children’s hospitals, across the globe. Locally, he maintains an active role in the leadership of the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, serving as vice president and secretary of the board and is a present with patients, ensuring that their needs are met.

Beyond the AIA, Skaggs has formed strong bonds with allied organizations and has served in leadership roles on the boards of AIAS and NAAB. Additionally, as a strong supporter of education, he has pursued a variety of academic endeavors at numerous universities, including Texas A&M University, his alma matter. Skaggs has delivered commencement addresses, served as an adjunct professor, and has strongly advocated for a clear path to licensure for young architects.

About The American Institute of Architects
Founded in 1857, the American Institute of Architects consistently works to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through nearly 300 state and local chapters, the AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public wellbeing. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards. The AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit