Class of ’22 Alumni Spirit honorees: Craig Wilkins ’85 — visionary architect

Each year, University of Detroit Mercy chooses an alumnus from each of its Colleges or Schools to honor as someone who has excelled in his or her profession, demonstrated outstanding leadership in work and devoted himself or herself in service to the larger community. Award recipients reflect the University’s mission of excellence and service and bring pride to their alma mater. This year, the University will celebrate seven honorees at a special ceremony Thursday, Sept. 29, at the Ballroom of the Student Union on the McNichols Campus. If you are interested in attending the event, you can purchase tickets at

This year, the School of Architecture & Community Design will honor Craig L. Wilkins ’85, senior lecturer of Architecture and Urban Planning at theCraig Wilkins sits comfortably in a chair University of Michigan.

Wilkins is an architect, artist, academic and activist. He is a lecturer in architecture at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning and his creative practice specializes in a collaborative, participatory community design process. 

He is a leading scholar of African Americans in the field of architecture. A hip-hop architectural theorist, his books, essays, articles and public presentations explore the rich social, cultural, political, historical and aesthetic contributions of often-ignored practitioners of color. He is also the author of the award-winning book The Aesthetics of Equity: Notes on Race, Space, Architecture and Music and Diversity Among Architects: From Margin to Center. 

His work has earned many awards, including a 2008 Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture’s Collaborative Practice Award, a 2010 Kresge Fellowship, an A’Design International Competition Silver Award for Social Design in 2014, the “Dear Architecture” International Ideas Competition in 2015, the 2017 National Design Award from the Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, and, in 2020, a Bradford Grant Medal winner in landscape architecture. 

Wilkins is a former director of the Detroit Community Design Center and, since 2015, has served as the creative director of the Wilkins Project, a social justice and strategic design alliance that provides architectural, urban design and planning services, public interest design solutions and expertise in engaged public discourse.  

Other honorees this year are:

College of Health Professions — Linda Walton Little ’97, president and CEO, Neighborhood Service Organization
College of Business Administration — John C. Donnelly ’72, consulting director, Donnelly Penman & Partners
College of Liberal Arts & EducationMarlena Peleo-Lazar ’72, chief creative officer (Ret.), McDonald’s Corporation
College of Engineering & ScienceRose A. Ryntz, Ph.D. ’83, president, Ryntz & Associates, LLC
School of Dentistry — Cheri S. Newman ’89, ’90, ’98, adjunct professor (Ret.) Detroit Mercy Dental
School of Law — Patricia D. Kennedy-Scott ’78, regional president (Ret.), Kaiser Foundation Health of Ohio

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