Robert L. Easter, FAIA, Honored with the 2023 Whitney M. Young Jr. Award

Robert L. Easter
Robert L. Easter, FAIA, with students at Hampton University


About the award

The Whitney M. Young Jr. Award distinguishes an architect or architectural organization that embodies social responsibility and actively addresses a relevant issue, such as affordable housing, inclusiveness, or universal access.

Through his staunch advocacy and commitment to education, Robert L. Easter, FAIA, has continually proven himself to be a leader for all members of the profession who embody architecture’s progressive values and seek to shape our world for the better. Equally active in practice and the academy, Easter has embodied Whitney M. Young Jr.’s famous 1967 call to action and has worked tirelessly to ensure the profession becomes much more diverse and inclusive than he once found it.

Easter’s work to broaden diversity, equity, and inclusion began early in his career while he was a student at Virginia Tech. As a graduate student, he was instrumental in advancing a minority lecture series that introduced an overwhelmingly white design academy to the work of architects and planners of color. Later, while serving in the US Army Corps of Engineers as a senior instructor, he helped young officers with little design, math, or engineering backgrounds transition into the corps.

Following his service, Easter founded Kelso & Easter Architects in Richmond in 1983 and, shortly thereafter, was introduced to the National Association of Minority Architects (NOMA). NOMA recognized his energy and commitment, and Easter was swiftly elevated to serve in several of the organization’s national leadership positions, beginning with a three-year term as national secretary. In that role, he developed NOMA’s national newsletter, NOMANews, which still circulates today.