Awards for Distinction 2016

Painting by Ralph J. Nagel. Courtesy of the artist.

Posted by Liam Otten March 28, 2016


Denver-based artist, architect, businessman, designer and philanthropist Ralph J. Nagel (BS67/MArch69) will receive the Dean’s Medal for outstanding service to the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis.

Nagel will receive the award Thursday, March 31, during the Sam Fox School’s annual Awards for Distinction dinner. In all, seven outstanding alumni will be recognized for demonstrating creativity, innovation, leadership, and vision in their respective fields.

Architect Vikas M. Gore (MArch/MUD84), a director of Singapore-based DP Architects, and landscape architect Carol Macht, FASLA (BA73), a founding principal of Baltimore-based Hord Coplan Macht, Inc., will be honored as Distinguished Alumni in architecture.

Distinguished Alumni in art will be New York designer Jennifer Behr (BFA96), founder of the Jennifer Behr Collection, and Los Angeles artist Michael Williams (BFA01).

Richmond, VA artist Ben Durham (BFA04) will receive the Recent Alumni Award, as will architect and lighting designer Daniel Arthur Weissman, AIA, Assoc. IALD (BA05). Weissman is director of Lam Labs, the research and development wing of Lam Partners in Cambridge, MA.

The awards ceremony will take place at Palladium Saint Louis, 1400 Park Place. For more information, contact Angela Gunn at (314) 935-7382 or

Ralph J. Nagel

After earning both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architecture from the Sam Fox School, Nagel studied urban design and city planning at the University of Pennsylvania, winning the state’s prestigious Stewardson Competition. He later coordinated the winning team in an international competition, organized by the State of Missouri, that centered on Louis Sullivan’s historic Wainwright Building complex in St. Louis.

In 1984, Nagel’s interest in both built and social environments led him to found the Meridian Retirement Communities, which he directed for 25 years. He also co-founded a network of western-style birthing centers (with Johns Hopkins University serving as clinical partner) in nine of China’s largest cities. Other ventures include ACE, the Alliance for Choice in Education, a K-12 scholarship program that supports more than 30,000 low-income students annually; and the Denver-based, which works to create stable, affordable living environments for those returning to self-sufficiency following the traumas of addictions, abuse and mental illness.

An accomplished artist, Nagel is an active member of the Rats des Champs, a Paris-based plein-air painting group. His oils and watercolors have been exhibited at galleries and museums in Colorado and abroad, and are included in private collections in Australia, Brazil, France, Italy, New Zealand, Thailand, and throughout the United States.