John R. Williams



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The John R. Williams Scholarship

The John Reese Williams Scholarship aims to honor one of NOMA Arizona’s founding members by supporting aspiring undergraduate and graduate architecture students who share his passion for the profession and his commitment to helping others. Through this scholarship, we hope to continue John’s legacy of excellence, mentorship, and advocacy in the field of architecture.

John R. Williams was a remarkable architect whose passion for his profession began in his early childhood and continued to inspire others throughout his life. From a young age, John’s fascination with architecture was evident, and this passion led to a prolific career marked by significant contributions to the field.

John graduated from McClintock High School in Tempe, Arizona in 1975 and earned his degree in Architecture from Arizona State University (ASU) in 1981. His academic excellence was recognized with the prestigious Alpha Rho Chi Medal, awarded by the faculty for his outstanding performance. John’s career began with George W. Christensen and Associates, Architects, and spanned several notable firms, including Smith, Hinchman & Grylls, Charles Kober Associates, and Leo A. Daly. His work took him from Phoenix to Los Angeles and back, where he completed major projects such as the Phoenix Convention Center Expansion and the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel.

One of John’s most cherished professional achievements was his role as the Architect of Record for the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles, completed in 2002. Working with the esteemed Spanish architect Jose Rafael Moneo, John considered this project the highlight of his career.

John’s dedication to education and his alma mater was evident through his service on the ASU Alumni Board and his leadership as president of the Architecture School Alumni group. His contributions to the American Institute of Architects and his 12-year presidency of the Rio Salado Architecture Foundation highlighted his commitment to advancing the profession. Additionally, as a member of the Board of Stewards for the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation at Taliesin West, John worked to preserve architectural heritage and promote innovative design.

John’s advocacy extended beyond architecture. As a gay Asian American, he faced and overcame numerous challenges, which fueled his support for minority organizations such as the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) and the LGBT+ community.

Application Information

The NOMA AZ John Williams Memorial Scholarship is intended to promote the benefits of diversity within the student bodies of design schools by providing financial assistance to a student that most embodies the spirit of NOMA AZ’s core mission: Create a team of students and professionals who want to inspire and empower under-served communities in Arizona, regardless of socio-economic status, culture, language, race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or age.

We strive to increase the number of minorities and women in our profession in general, but especially in positions of leadership and influence by supporting their professional development. We want our organization to be a valuable resource that is welcoming, reliable, socially and environmentally progressive, and which encourages fellowship across disciplines.

This scholarship is not need-based but rather merit-based. Arizona residency is not required.

Scholarship application criteria is as follows:

  1. Applicant must be a student of Architecture, Interior Design, Urban Planning, or Engineering at a University in the state of Arizona
  2. Minimum GPA = 3.0
  3. Must be a full time registered student
  4. Open to undergraduate freshman, sophomores, juniors and seniors or graduate students
  5. Required documents:

• Completed NOMA AZ Scholarship Application
• Current official transcript
• Maximum 500-word essay on one of three topics – submit in PDF and MS Word format (for word count verification) Community – Describe a meaningful experience you have had serving your community Career – How will you change your career field? Character – This is what I believe in.
• Two letters of recommendation from a non-family member who can attest to the applicant’s academic achievement, community service, or career potential.

The scholarship is $2,000 per academic year, facilitated by NOMAarizona Professional Chapter.

Pending applicant qualifications, two (2) scholarships are awarded yearly, one to an undergraduate student and one to a graduate student. A unique aspect of this scholarship is that it is annually recurring which, for example, means that if you win the scholarship your sophomore year, you would be able to potentially renew the scholarship every year for the rest of your undergraduate and graduate studies (if you do your graduate studies at ASU or UofA) provided you maintained and met the standards required of you, which are to maintain a 3.0 minimum GPA and to 2 Scholarship Information document a minimum of 24 hours of participation in NOMAS student leadership and/or NOMA AZ events per school year.

The scholarship committee considers a variety of factors such as merit, community service participation, self-confidence, leadership potential, and under-representation in the student’s selected discipline or field of study among many other factors. We are looking for a mosaic of qualities that add up to a student who exemplifies NOMA AZ’s core mission.

Submittal Deadline:  June 1, 2024

 Scholarships are awarded on July 1, 2024


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