Paying It Forward: Staats Family Endowed Scholarship in Architecture

Excerpted from the BAC's Summer 2018 Practice Magazine

Jeffrey Staats, '73, AIA, AICP

When Jeffrey L. Staats, '73, AIA, AICP, started his journey in architecture, he had no idea where it would take him or how he would get there. Thanks to the mentorship of two BAC alumni, Russel B. Brown, '66 and Ronald M. Wood, '66, and Richard J. Kerr, he found the BAC and a successful career in architecture.

Brown, Wood, and Kerr were critical in Staats discovery of the BAC. After starting as a janitor and working his way up to draftsman for Brown and Wood, they recognized his potential and encouraged Staats to obtain his associates degree from New England Technical College. In his own words, what happened next set the course for the rest of his career, introducing him to the BAC and Dean Arcangelo Cascieri, "those three men took me, an office boy, up to Boston and introduced me to the people that helped me get my start."

He completed his studies in five years at the BAC and went on to obtain his Master of Architecture in Urban Design from Harvard University. Staats followed this with a successful career in architecture practice and in teaching at Roger Williams University, where he is now a professor of architecture, but it all comes back to his time at the BAC.

He has continued to use the notes he took at the BAC to supplement his teaching and practice. When asked about this and his career he says, "I went on to Harvard, but it is the chance the BAC gave me that made the last 50 years of architecture possible. I won seven national, regional, and state level design awards for my work and have been a full time professor at Roger Williams University for the last 26 years and none of that would be possible without the BAC."

Over the past few years Staats has reflected on his giving to the BAC and has come to realize that without meeting Brown, Wood, and Kerr, and the support of the BAC, he did not know where he would be right now. By establishing the Staats Family Endowed Scholarship in Architecture he is able to honor their mentorship and impact on his career trajectory while simultaneously leaving a legacy of his own.

Now, after an award-winning career as a practicing architect and professor of architecture teaching generations of designers, his gift to the BAC will make a significant impact on the trajectory of future designers, just as Brown, Wood, and Kerr's mentorship impacted his.

The Staats Family Endowed Scholarship in Architecture will support students with the highest GPAs entering into their final degree project, and the first scholarship is expected to be awarded in fall 2018.

To learn more about establishing a named scholarship, visit

Click here to read the full issue of Practice Magazine.