Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design Celebrates Black History Month With Events


In the United States, Black History Month is celebrated during the month of February. The Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design and the U of A join in celebration and recognition of the many contributions and struggles that Black and African American individuals have delivered and endured in this nation’s history.

According to the 2020 U.S. census data, 15.7 percent of the population of Arkansas (with a total population of 3,011,524) identifies as Black or African American alone, while 1.27 percent identifies as Black or African American and other(s). The Fay Jones School is committed to the work of having, at minimum, a proportional representation of the Black or African American population of the state within the school’s community. Currently in the school, only 3.11 percent of students identify as Black or African American alone, and 2 percent identifies as Black or African American and other(s).

In an even broader context, the 2020 U.S. census data showed that the Black or African American alone population (41.1 million) accounted for 12.4 percent of all people living in the United States. The American Society of Interior Designers reports that less than 2 percent of its membership identifies as Black, and only 3 percent of landscape architects identify as Black, according to the American Society of Landscape Architects. Only 2 percent of licensed architects in the United States are Black or African American, according to the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards.

“We know we have a long way to go and very significant work to do in the construction of a culture where all belong and matter so we can be welcoming to everyone, and by doing so, contribute to the mitigation and eradication of the lack of diversity, inclusion and equality in the design professions represented in our school,” said Gabriel Díaz Montemayor, ASLA, assistant dean for diversity, equity and inclusion and an associate professor of landscape architecture in the Fay Jones School. “Participating in educational opportunities, reflection and celebrations related to DEI — such as Black History Month — is part of what we can do to be better. We invite all our school’s community members to join in this effort.”

The U of A has organized several events celebrating Black History Month. For more information on these events, go to https://news.uark.edu/articles/58832/u-of-a-celebrating-black-history-month.

Together in Design and Diversity

As part of these Black History Month events, Díaz Montemayor has organized a new program focused on learning and discussion of issues and opportunities in diversity, equity and inclusion as these relate to the disciplines of the design of the built environment. The program, which begins in February, is titled “Together DD” or Together in Design and Diversity. It is intended primarily for the Fay Jones School community. The format for this semester will be a two-part visit from an academic and/or practitioner. The first visit will be a lecture introducing a subject matter. In that lecture, the guests will assign a reading — article or book chapter — for all those students, faculty and staff attending. A few weeks after the introductory lecture, the guests will return for a seminar format discussion on the reading.

The program will start with a visit by Marc Miller, assistant professor of landscape architecture at Penn State University. His lecture will be presented from 4-5 p.m., Feb. 23, in Vol Walker Hall, followed by refreshments. The seminar discussion is scheduled from 4-5 p.m., March 9. More information on Miller can be found at arts.psu.edu/faculty/marc-miller.

The second guest this semester will be Tara Dudley, an assistant professor who teaches in the interior design and architecture programs at the University of Texas at Austin. Dudley will join the school virtually for both the lecture and seminar, with group gatherings still hosted in person in Vol Walker Hall. Her lecture will be presented from 4-5 p.m., April 6, with the seminar held from 4-5 p.m., April 20. More information on Dudley can be found at soa.utexas.edu/people/tara-dudley.

Anyone interested in participating in Together DD is required to enroll in the program and commit to attending all four events and to doing the readings. To enroll in the program, send an email to Gabriel Díaz Montemayor at gabrield@uark.edu by Feb. 11.

Wallace Reed Caradine Memorial Entry

While formally outside of the month of February, the naming ceremony and events in honor of Wallace “Wali” Caradine Jr., the first African American graduate of the Fay Jones School, will assist the school in sustaining its commitment for the longer future. On March 10, the Fay Jones School community will gather with members of the Caradine family and friends to formally name the east entry portal of Vol Walker Hall the Wallace Reed Caradine Memorial Entry in honor of Mr. Caradine.

Caradine, who was born in 1949 and raised in West Memphis, came to the U of A to study architecture, and, as the fourth of seven children and the eldest boy, was the only one in his family to attend college. He graduated in 1974 with a Bachelor of Architecture degree. After additional training at the Construction Management Institute in Dallas, he went on to make contributions to both the design and construction industries.

Caradine began his career as a designer at Pat Kelley Magruder Architects in West Memphis before eventually founding Design and Construction Associates in 1978, which became one of the largest minority-owned contracting firms in Arkansas. He returned to his first love of architecture and design in the mid-1990s and partnered with Ron Bene Woods to form Woods Caradine Architects, a relationship that lasted more than a decade. Their notable projects included two academic centers for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and the Statehouse Convention Center Expansion in Little Rock, and serving as associate architects for the William J. Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock.

Caradine also served as a mentor to many minority building contractors in Central Arkansas, including the founding in 1986 of the Arkansas Chapter of the National Association of Minority Contractors. In 1998, he joined the John G. Williams Fellowship in the Fay Jones School, a group that honors the founder of the architecture program at the university, who was a dear friend and professor of Caradine’s, and Caradine also served as a member of the university’s Central Arkansas Advisory Committee from 2009-13.



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