CAAD dean encourages newest MSU School of Architecture grads to ‘go make a difference’

Mississippi State University College of Architecture, Art and Design Dean Jim West encouraged new graduates to work hard and be kind to others during the School of Architecture’s recent Dr. William L. and Jean P. Giles Memorial Lecture. (Photo by Megan Bean)

Contact: Sasha Steinberg

STARKVILLE, Miss.—“Work hard. Build your craft with an attitude. Guard your words and character. Remember, how you work with and treat people matters.”

These are some of the wise words that Jim West, dean of Mississippi State’s College of Architecture, Art and Design, recently shared with new university graduates during the School of Architecture’s annual Dr. William L. and Jean P. Giles Memorial Lecture.

“Hard work is an indispensable component of a meaningful life. It affords dignity and is good for us and those around us. It helps us understand and develop our gifts, abilities and interests, all of which are really different, major components of our identity,” said West, CAAD’s founding dean who is resuming full-time teaching duties this summer.

One of DesignIntelligence’s 25 Most Admired Educators for 2016, West said he has learned many important lessons while working a total of 16 full-time jobs since high school. He encouraged the graduating seniors to invest their time, put forth their best effort, learn how to listen and always treat people with kindness.

“We should never make our moments of inspiration our standard. Our standard must be in the work and our attitude about the work over time,” he said. “I think it’s true in architecture and in life that the work in small things, in the midst of uncertainty, is where we all live and move and have our meaning.”

Peter Ryan, MSU associate provost for academic affairs, also commended the graduating seniors for successful completion of the state’s only curriculum leading to a professional degree in architecture.

“These students are not only brilliant, but they’re excellent because they understand the meaning of commitment and working hard,” Ryan said. “They’ve shown grit and determination. When they have failed, they’ve picked themselves up and tried again, and I really admire that.”

MSU F.L. Crane Professor and School of Architecture Director Michael A. Berk said witnessing the students’ growth through their MSU education has been “a remarkable thing to experience.”

“The seriousness demonstrated by these young architects is unwavering. Their honesty, ruggedness and inquisitive nature are relentless. Their intellect is unsurpassed,” Berk said. “I am confident these attributes and their experiences here at Mississippi State will serve them well in their careers and lives.”

Learn more about MSU’s College of Architecture, Art and Design and its School of Architecture at and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @CAADatMSU.

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Monday, May 7, 2018 - 11:56 am