Dr. Sharon Egretta Sutton

Steiner Invitation Series Speaker


Dr. Sharon Egretta Sutton, FAIA is an activist educator and public scholar who promotes inclusivity in the cultural makeup of the city-making professions and in the populations they serve, and also advocates for participatory planning and design processes in disenfranchised communities. Over a 43-year period, Sutton has served on the faculties of Parsons School of Design, Pratt Institute, Columbia University, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Michigan, and the University of Washington. Sutton was the twelfth African American woman to be licensed to practice architecture, the first to be promoted to full professor of architecture, the second to be elected a Fellow in the American Institute of Architects (AIA), and the first to be president of the National Architectural Accrediting Board. She holds five academic degrees—in music, architecture, philosophy, and psychology—and has studied graphic art internationally. Sutton’s scholarship explores America’s continuing struggle for racial justice and its effect on the built environment. Her latest book, When Ivory Towers Were Black: A Story about Race in Americas Cities and Universities, portrays what was undoubtedly the nation’s most audacious effort to recruit African American and Latino students to Columbia University’s School of Architecture. Sutton received the Medal of Honor from both AIA New York and AIA Seattle, and the Whitney M. Young Jr. Award from AIA National. She is a distinguished professor of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture and an inductee into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame. In an event organized by Ever Clinton, a graduate student in the CMU School of Architecture, Dr. Sutton will speak with students in the National Organization of Minority Architect Students.