BAC welcomed commencement speaker William J. Bates and a student accolade presented by Harry M. Falconer

Glen LeRoy, William J. Bates, AIA, and Harry M. Falconer, NCARB

The Boston Architectural College (BAC) held its 2019 commencement ceremony on Friday, May 24, at the Back Bay Events Center, John Hancock Hall in Boston. Joining with more than 140 BAC graduates were honorary degree recipients, friends and family, faculty, staff and, the Board of Trustees.

Commencement speaker William J. Bates, president, The American Institute of Architects (AIA), told the 2019 graduating class, "The BAC graduate has an advantage over many other schools...the grounding that comes from the real world education you received through concurrent practice."

Bates' own journey to the field of architecture bears a striking resemblance to many BAC students. A first-generation college student and third-generation steelworker, he received his bachelor of architecture from the University of Notre Dame and went on to pursue graduate studies at Pennsylvania State University and Harvard Graduate School of Design.

As a visionary practitioner tirelessly advocating for diversifying the profession, he views the role of architects as designers for social justice, with the ability to serve society through sustainable, inclusive, and equitable design. "Your generation of designers and architects must be more innovative, observant and more attentive to the voices of the previously underserved segments of our society," said Bates. He closed his remarks by telling graduates, "The future is only limited by your imagination!"

Harry M. Falconer, vice president, The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) gave a special presentation to recognize Travis Wiegand, M. Arch., the BAC's first graduate of Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure (IPAL) program. Falconer stated, "Travis' path wasn't linear...he shared with me that he took a few detours.... When he knew he wanted to be a licensed architect, he chose the BAC. Then he learned about the IPAL option! Travis finished the program in December and was licensed just two months later."

Wiegand was one of 450 students nationally participating in the IPAL program and one of 80 students taking the Architectural Registration Exam (ARE) while still in school. "Becoming an architect has been a goal of mine for quite a while. I chose the BAC because it allowed me to work full time while earning my degree and I heard great things about the program. I was excited to join the IPAL program because it allowed me to become an architect even sooner. It worked out well because my wife and I had a daughter-allowing me to take a semester off to focus on my family-while still working towards licensure by taking the ARE," said Wiegand.

NCARB launched the Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure (IPAL) initiative in 2015 to allow students to work toward completing their experience and examination requirements while earning a degree. Falconer remarked during his presentation to Wiegand, "I'm proud to say that what you do here [at the BAC]...your academic model...truly influenced many of the discussions we have had at a national level during my tenure with NCARB," he continued, "[the] BAC ... was accepted to participate in [IPAL] August 2015. You are one of only 19 schools in the US that offer this option to your students!"

The BAC also recognized its honorary degree recipients who are driving forces within the fields of architecture, design, engineering, and education-William J. Bates, Harry M. Falconer, Susan Lewis, and Marion Pressley. Each individual has displayed an extraordinary commitment to advance the design professions by constantly seeking to improve the world around them.

This was the final commencement event presided over by BAC President Glen S. LeRoy, who is retiring at the end of June. In President LeRoy's own words from his address, "The term ‘commencement' represents not an end, but a beginning. The beginning of a new and, perhaps, a somewhat calmer life apart from the BAC." We consider it an honor to have celebrated graduation with President LeRoy one last time.

Founded more than 129 years ago, the BAC offers bachelors and master's degrees in architecture, interior architecture, landscape architecture, and design studies. Throughout its history, the College has upheld the importance of open admission, diversity, dedicated faculty, and the intrinsic value of both academic and experiential education.