Dr. Sharon Egretta Sutton, FAIA, Honored with the 2023 Topaz Medallion

Dr. Sharon Egretta Sutton
Dr. Sharon Egretta Sutton, FAIA


About the award

The Topaz Medallion, presented jointly by AIA and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, honors those who educate others to ensure architecture’s enduring excellence.

An educator, author, and citizen architect with worldwide reach, Dr. Sharon Egretta Sutton, FAIA, has shifted the profession of architecture toward a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive future. Fueled by a passion for representing the unrepresented, she has shaped a career informed by the obstacles constructed by the country’s political landscape. Throughout, she has developed research and tools that encourage the next generation of design professionals to heed the call of activism.

Sutton’s list of achievements is lengthy, and she is no stranger to breaking new ground: She was just the 12th African American woman to become a licensed architect in the U.S., the first to be promoted to full professor of architecture, and the second to be elevated to AIA fellowship. Currently, she is a distinguished professor of architecture at Parsons School of Design, and she previously served on the faculties of the University of Washington, the University of Cincinnati, Columbia University, and Pratt Institute. Under her tutelage, a roster of transformative leaders has risen to pivotal positions in architectural education and practice.