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2020 Sam Fox School Recognition Ceremony

May 14, 2020

The Sam Fox School is eager to celebrate the resiliency and tremendous accomplishments of our graduating students at its All-School Recognition Ceremony at 7p U.S. CDT on May 14. The event will include featured speakers, special remarks, and the official conferral of degrees. It will be broadcast at samfoxschool.wustl.edu/commencement and on the Sam Fox School Facebook page.

Read the full news release about this year's featured speakers>>

Keynote Speakers: Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara


Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara of Grafton Architects. Photo: Ste Murray.

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara are co-founders of the Dublin-based firm Grafton Architects, which is known for delivering creative and sensitive design solutions to all its projects. They are the winners of the 2020 Pritzker Prize, which is known internationally as the architecture profession’s highest honor.

Farrell and McNamara graduated from University College Dublin (UCD) in 1974 and co-founded Grafton Architects in 1978. They are Fellows of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland, International Honorary Fellows of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), and elected members of Aosdána, the Irish arts association. Currently, they are professors at Switzerland’s Accademia di Archittettura, Mendrisio. The pair also has taught at UCD’s School of Architecture, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, and Yale University.

In addition to the 2020 Pritzker Prize, Grafton Architects received the 2020 RIBA Royal Gold Medal and, in 2016, the inaugural RIBA International Prize, for its design of the Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología in Lima, Peru. Current projects include The Marshall Institute building for the London School of Economics and Political Science; the Dublin City Library at Parnell Square (with Shaffrey Architects); and the Electricity Supply Board headquarters in Dublin (with OMP architects).

Grafton Architects has participated in numerous exhibitions including the Sensing Spaces Exhibition in 2014 at the Royal Academy in London; a Pavilion for the 2014 Tercentenary of the City of Barcelona; and The Ogham Wall installation in 2015 at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. In 2018, Farrell and McNamara served as curators for Freespace, the 16th International Venice Architecture Biennale—the title of which was drawn from their “Freespace Manifesto.”

Alumni Speaker: Susan Barrett

Susan Barrett believes that art is a verb. This belief has guided the companies she has started, the projects she has led, and her work with nonprofits. Her company, Barrett Barrera Projects, and its subsidiary spaces—projects+gallery, projects+exhibitions, and Guest House—produce exhibitions and projects that create a dialogue on contemporary issues through art and design.

For over 30 years, Barrett has fought for the arts to be a part of public transportation, city planning, and social change. She is a visionary with a background in painting, architecture, and fashion design, which has influenced the projects she has spearheaded and championed. Notable among these, Barrett conceptualized and developed the Saint Louis Chess Club. She also served as the founding executive director of the World Chess Hall of Fame, where she created the innovative exhibit A Queen Within, which is still touring internationally.

Barrett holds a Master of Architecture, a Bachelor of Arts in Comparative Arts and French, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts, all from Washington University. She is an active board member at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Laumeier Sculpture Park, Southside Day Nursery, Arts in Transit, Sheldon Art Galleries, Saint Louis Chess Club, Circus Flora, Mid-America Arts Alliance, and Saint Louis Fashion Fund. Among her honors, Barrett received a 2019 Saint Louis Visionary Award for women in the arts and the Visitation Academy St. Jane de Chantal Distinguished Alumna Award; she was also named a “Tastemaker” by St. Louis Magazine’s “Power List.”