A new scholarship at the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design has been created with the aim of increasing diversity in the architecture and design professions.
Marlon and Ati Blackwell, co-principals of the Fayetteville-based Marlon Blackwell Architects, have committed $120,000 to create an Advance Arkansas Scholarship at the University of Arkansas’ architecture and design college. The scholarship will target students from the Arkansas Delta.
This scholarship pledge also includes an annual gift with scholarship awards starting in the 2021-2022 academic year.
“I haven’t traditionally seen many students from the Delta studying architecture, so Ati and I asked ourselves how we could be more proactive in developing opportunities for diverse students to come to the U of A,” Marlon Blackwell, who is also a University of Arkansas Distinguished Professor, said in a statement. “This scholarship is about providing opportunity and possibility. Education helps break the cycle of economic inequities and expands economic opportunity, and we’re hopeful that this scholarship provides an incentive for more students from the Delta to study the disciplines of architecture.”
“We felt like we needed to help students from the Delta, and we felt an urgency to do something sooner rather than later,” Ati Blackwell said.
The new scholarship, entitled the Marlon and Ati Blacwell Advance Arkansas Endowed Scholarship, will support Arkansas students with financial need and strong academic records who major in one of the Fay Jones School’s professional programs or architectural/landscape architectural programs. Students who have graduated from a high school in one of 22 Arkansas Delta counties will be given preference for scholarship selection. These counties include Chicot, Clay, Craighead, Crittendon, Cross, Desha, Greene, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lee, Lincoln, Lonoke, Mississippi, Monroe, Phillips, Poinsett, Pulaski, Prairie, Randolph, White and Woodruff.
Both of the Blackwells are architects, with Ati Blackwell also serving as the firm’s director of interiors and sustainability.