Sonny Shields Recognized by Tulane School of Architecture for Eight Years of Service as Chair of the Dean's Advisory Council

NewZine - Tulane University School of Architecture

For the past eight years, Irwin Fritchie Partner, Lloyd N. "Sonny" Shields, has volunteered his time to his alma mater as Chair of the Dean's Advisory Council (DAC) at the Tulane University School of Architecture (TuSA). During that time, Sonny has worked with two deans Ken Schwartz and Iñaki Alday and has lent his experience, advice, and fundraising efforts to a wide range of important TuSA projects and events.

After the 2022-2023 school year, Sonny made the decision to finally step down from the DAC, making way for incoming chair, Angela O'Byrne, to take up the mantle in 2024.

To commemorate Sonny's time as DAC Chair, Dean Alday penned a letter in the 2023 edition of NewZine TuSA's annual publication affectionately titled, "Thank you, Sonny Shields." In the letter, Alday expressed his gratitude for the hard work and dedication Sonny demonstrated during his eight years of service as Chair of the DAC. 

"On behalf of the school and myself," stated Alday, "I want to express my deepest gratitude to Sonny Shields after his eight-year service as Chair of the Dean's Advisory Council at Tulane School of Architecture[...] Sonny has been (and hopefully will continue being) my 'go-to person' for discussing strategies and visions for the school - most often over cocktails, as it should be in New Orleans!"

In the letter, Alday also recalls memories of Sonny's commitment to TuSA's efforts toward the stabilization and growth of the school and its foundation, as well as the development of major projects. One of the most memorable projects being the long-awaited renovation of Richardson Memorial Hall where Sonny and his wife, Laura, personally and through the rallying of the troops helped to raise twice the amount of funds necessary to meet their original fundraising ceiling. 

Ultimately, Alday's letter expresses what anyone in Sonny's position hopes to experience after spending so much time and energy towards that which they feel passionate: that he is leaving the school in a much better position than when he first took on the role of DAC Chair, including doubling the size of TuSA and establishing an all-time high for research productivity.

Sonny, of course, sees these successes as the result of collaborative efforts, recognizing the work done by Deans Schwartz and Alday, previous and current council members, and countless others all of whom went above and beyond to raise TuSA to its current standing. And, even as he steps away from the position of DAC Chair, Sonny cannot help but feel excited about, not only what has already been accomplished at TuSA, but what is still to come.

“Through my eight years as chair,” stated Sonny, “I had the wonderful opportunity to observe a bold new school guided by two deans, Ken Schwartz and Iñaki Alday. The school today presents programs in architecture, design, historic preservation, real estate development and social innovation, and is developing a landscape architecture program."

"The school leads in community involvement with its Small Center for Collaborative Design, URBANbuild, and River and Delta Urbanism programs," continued Sonny. “With all of that, and its focus on thoroughly modern architectural techniques and methods, the school is a far different place than I attended many years ago, and I look forward to seeing its continued growth and development in the years to come as Angela O’Byrne takes on her new role as Chair of the DAC!”

If there is one certainty on which Sonny, Alday, Schwartz, O'Byrne, and everyone else involved over the years can agree, it surely must be that the future of the Tulane University School of Architecture is a bright one.

Read Dean Alday's letter, "Thank You, Sonny Shields," in its entirety by clicking the article image below or by clicking here.

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