Architecture dean earns distinguished alumni award

man smiling
William (Bill) Chapman

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa School of Architecture interim dean William Chapman is the 2022 recipient of the Florence R. Sabin Class of 1889 Distinguished Alumni Award at Vermont Academy.

Established in 1985, the Sabin award recognizes alumni who have utilized academic and life skills acquired at the academy to achieve significant success in their professional careers, or have made outstanding contributions in community involvement. It is the highest honor the academy can bestow on its alumni.

“I was genuinely surprised. I remember seeing the portraits of Sabin awardees lining the main hall of the classroom building and figuring I would never be among them,” said Chapman. “It’s striking that a small boarding school in Vermont would spawn so many impressive figures.”

Tom Oxholm, president of the Vermont Academy alumni association wrote that, “In reviewing Dr. Chapman’s impressive accomplishments and background, the Selection Committee and the Board of Trustees were unanimous in their decision that his exemplary work in the fields of historic preservation, Asia Pacific architecture and architectural history are worthy of recognition as a recipient of the Sabin award.”

Other past recipients of the Sabin award have included: Paul Percy Harris, founder of Rotary International; Maj. Gen. Bruce M. Lawlor, senior director of the Department of Homeland Security; Chris Sinclair, former president of Pepsi-Cola; and Anthony “Joe” Perry, lead guitarist for Aerosmith.

More on Chapman

Chapman, a 1967 graduate of Vermont Academy, is the former director of the graduate program in historic preservation and chair of the Department of American Studies. A four-time Fulbright awardee, he holds degrees from the University of Virginia, Columbia University and the University of Oxford.

“The University of Hawaiʻi includes faculty, staff, specialists and students from around the world,” said Chapman. “Education is a two-way street, where experiences are introduced and other experiences transfer out. The greater the university’s reach, the better for the future of our UH students and our own children. For me it is about a holistic education, which most of us at UH Mānoa and the broader educational community in Hawaiʻi support as well. I hope that Vermont Academy instilled some of this in me and that I’m able to pass it on in my own work.”

This is an example of UH Mānoa’s goal of Enhancing Student Success (PDF), one of four goals identified in the 2015–25 Strategic Plan (PDF), updated in December 2020.

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