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Lawrence Tech Distinguished Architecture Alumni winners fund new scholarship

Release Date: June 24, 2022

SOUTHFIELD—Twenty-three of Lawrence Technological University’s most prominent architecture alumni have established a new scholarship to help LTU architecture students with the cost of college.

All 23 living recipients of LTU’s annual Distinguished Architecture Alumni Award contributed funds to the DAA Scholarship. Fundraising efforts will continue among the group with the goal of turning the award into an endowment that can pay the scholarship out of its investment income.

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Three prior winners of LTU’s annual Distinguished Architecture Alumni Award from left to right: Arthur Smith, Ben Tiseo, and Deirdre Jimenez

Three prior winners of the award—Deirdre Jimenez, Arthur Smith, and Ben Tiseo—said the idea for the scholarship had been percolating for some time, but got to the front burner as the group was wrapping up a major project, the renovation of the LTU-owned, Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Affleck House in Bloomfield Hills.

“One of the charters of the DAA is to support the university, and we were just wrapping up a pretty significant project with the Affleck House, and began talking about how else we might be able to help,” Jimenez said. “The idea of a scholarship came up, and we pitched that to the broader DAA audience. After putting together a couple of business plans of how it could be created and funded, the group agreed on an approach, and then got together with the university to map it out.”

Added Tiseo: “We are all proud to be LTU alumni, and over the past few years we talked about doing more for our alma mater… We are currently working out the details for other fundraising activities for 2022 and 2023 to grow an endowment for the scholarship, so it can sustain itself.” Events at Affleck House and guest speaker programs both on and off LTU’s campus are being considered as part of this effort.

The university announced the availability of the scholarship to its 600-plus architecture students, and four applied, submitting portfolios of their work to a panel of DAA winners who agreed to serve as judges.

Efti Miculi and some of her scholarship-winning pieces. 

The first winner of the scholarship is Efti Miculi, a native of Albania who studied design in Greece. She later married, had two children, and moved to Windsor, Ontario, where she completed her Bachelor of Science in Architecture at LTU in May. She was accepted into LTU’s Master of Architecture program, and began her graduate studies in the current Summer 2022 semester.

Smith said all four applicants submitted high quality work, but Miculi’s really stood out.

“One of the criteria we had was diversity of talent, which she showed,” Smith said. “She could paint, she could sketch, she has computer skills, problem solving skills. The intention of the award is that it would not only recognize somebody who had incredible talents, but also tremendous promise in the world of architecture. You can definitely see that she could be a Distinguished Architecture Alumni Award winner in future years.”

Of Miculi’s work, Tiseo said: “She was a very good choice. She had a very good representation of skills across the board in her portfolio, which showed a lot of talent on her part.”

Miculi said the scholarship “was such a big help. Financially, balancing school and family is not easy, living on my husband’s salary while I continue my education. But my passion for architecture and design has only grown stronger, and I think I was meant to study at LTU.”

In addition to pursuing her graduate studies, Miculi will also be working full-time starting in August at SmithGroup, the Detroit-based international architecture firm.

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Karl Daubmann, dean of the LTU College of Architecture and Design

Said Karl Daubmann, dean of the LTU College of Architecture and Design: “It was a pleasure working with the Distinguished Architecture Alumni award winners to identify a new initiative for their efforts that is so impactful to support our students. Their transformation of the Affleck House was amazing to witness, and it is no surprise that they were able to quickly transition to a new project and kick it off so successfully. They are an inspiring, dedicated, and focused group of individuals.”

Lawrence Technological University is one of only 13 private, technological, comprehensive doctoral universities in the United States. Located in Southfield, Mich., LTU was founded in 1932, and offers more than 100 programs through its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Business and Information Technology, and Engineering. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 11 percent of universities for alumni salaries. Forbes and The Wall Street Journal rank LTU among the nation’s top 10 percent. U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best in the Midwest colleges. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include over 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.


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