The Fellowship of the AIA

Thomas Wallof


Long before I accepted the role of your 2017 Potomac Valley president I was interested in learning more about what the AIA did for me as an architect. Was it more than just the three letters I longed to put after my name? During those late nights in the studio I wondered what it would be like to call myself an architect. As the medical student longed for their “M.D.”, I sought the “A.I.A.” to prove that I had done it. I had survived the crits, the exams, the olfa blade injuries and would now be capable of designing the next iconic buildings.

It turns out, architecture is a problem-solving industry and very rarely is one presented with a blank canvas of development. As for the AIA, it was more like a fellowship. With apologies to President Kennedy; ask not what the AIA can do for you, but what you can do for your fellow Architects! We are all in this together and have a lot to learn from one another. From what I’ve seen as a member of the Potomac Valley board, the AIA offers many chances to get involved and promote the profession. From continuing education and national advocacy, to local community engagement and lobbying on behalf of architectural interests, we strive to make the most of your dues and want you as members to know that we take our roles as leaders seriously and want to grow the abilities of the AIA to support you.

If you’re reading this, you likely know what the AIA is about and who it serves. I invite the skeptics and torchbearers alike to reignite that fellowship and get involved this year. We have just finished our planning retreat and the board is refocused and determined to have a productive 2017. With your input and volunteer service, we’ll only accomplish more!


Thomas Wallof, AIA
2017 President

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