LTU alumna wins top architectural honor

SOUTHFIELD—Lawrence Technological University alumna Tiffany Brown has won the President’s Medal for Distinguished Service from the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards. The award is NCARB’s highest honor.  

Brown is executive director of the National Organization of Minority Architects.  The organization was founded in 1971 to address inequalities in the architecture industry and continues today. Currently only 2 percent of the nation’s licensed architects are Black.  

Brown earned three degrees from LTU: a Bachelor of Science in Architecture in 2005, a Master of Architecture in 2007, and a Master of Business Administration in 2015. Prior to NOMA, Brown was a project manager and construction contract administrator at the Detroit architecture firm SmithGroup. She has also been an LTU adjunct professor of architecture since 2017.   

Brown was one of eight honorees announced by 2022-2023 NCARB President Bayliss Ward at the organization’s 2023 Annual Business Meeting, held in mid-June in Tampa, Fla. Ward commended each of this year’s recipients for their commitment to architectural regulation and NCARB’s mission to protect the public’s health, safety, and welfare.  

In honoring Brown, NCARB officials said she “has been an expert advocate for improving representation in the design industry, raising awareness of NOMA’s efforts to draw minority students into the architecture profession. Her ongoing collaboration with NCARB on the joint Baseline on Belonging study has highlighted opportunities to support underrepresented licensure candidates and architects by removing barriers in early career stages. She recently had the honor of being named among Architizer’s ‘100 Women to Watch in Architecture’ and has received several recognitions and awards from industry leaders, including the American Institute of Architects.”  

Aside from her professional work, Brown has also been an active volunteer and mentor. She founded 400 FORWARD, an organization dedicated to drawing more minority women into architecture after she learned that there were only 400 Black women architects in the United States. She also co-founded the Urban Arts Collective, which focuses on increasing underrepresented groups in careers in science, technology, engineering, art and architecture, and mathematics. The collective’s three Detroit-bred architectural designers engage artists, musicians, architects, designers, and local and nationwide companies to inspire inner city youth to pursue careers in STEAM fields, and provide the resources and support students need to be exposed to the possibilities of pairing artistic excellence with STEAM professions.  

Lawrence Tech alumnus Kenneth Van Tine, principal and owner of the Northville architectural firm INFORM Studio, is NCARB’s first vice president.   

About NCARB 

The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards’ membership is made up of the architectural licensing boards of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. NCARB, in collaboration with these boards, facilitates the licensure and credentialing of architects to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public.  To achieve these goals, NCARB works with its Member Boards and volunteers to develop and facilitate standards for licensure, including the national examination and experience program. NCARB also recommends regulatory guidelines for licensing boards and helps architects expand their professional reach through the NCARB Certificate. More at   

About the National Organization of Minority Architects:   

The National Organization of Minority Architects was formed over 50 years ago to represent the needs of African American architects. Founded in 1971, the purpose of NOMA was to bolster and provide support for the handful of Black licensed architects around the country. Today, NOMA is a haven for architects of all origins who seek inclusion in the design industry. We continue to advocate for the licensure of African American architects (who account for only two percent of all licensed architects today), as well as those from other underrepresented backgrounds. NOMA has more than 42 professional chapters across the U.S. and over 115 student chapters, National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (NOMAS) — mentored by regional NOMA chapters. NOMA and NOMAS membership is predominantly African-American, with other minority members including Native American, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, East Indian, and Asian, as well as an increasing segment of non-minority members who support NOMA’s mission. NOMA supports its student members by providing mentorship, scholarships, and job opportunities to ensure their successful transition into the profession.   

Lawrence Technological University,, is one of only 13 private, technological, comprehensive doctoral universities in the United States. Located in Southfield, Mich., LTU was founded in 1932, and offers more than 100 programs through its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Business and Information Technology, and Engineering. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 11 percent of universities for alumni salaries. Forbes and The Wall Street Journal rank LTU among the nation’s top 10 percent. U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best in the Midwest colleges. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports. 

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