William L. “Bill” Polk, III AIA, CSI, LEED AP, was selected as this year’s Alumnus of the Year for the College of Architecture, Art and Design.
As a child, Polk was always designing house plans. Now, almost twenty-nine years since his graduation from the Mississippi State University’s School of Architecture in 1984, Polk is still enjoying architecture – now as a principal at Richard Wittschiebe Hand in downtown Atlanta, Ga.
“It’s always a source of great pride to see a finished building that you were involved in designing that people love,” he said.
Richard Wittschiebe Hand was selected as the Georgia AIA Firm of the Year for 2011, and Polk and his firm are currently doing work for the Atlanta airport. They are helping to reorganize some of the gates and will potentially be doing conceptual work involving airport transportation, including parking decks and pedestrian crossings.
Since graduation, the alumnus has stayed connected with the School of Architecture. He currently serves on the Advisory Council and was heavily involved in planning his class’s 25-year reunion.
“It was a great success,” he said. “So much fun.”
The gathering was also used as a way to honor the passing of one of his classmates, Sheila Jackson. Polk helped raise about $1,200 that was used to purchase books in Jackson’s name for the library.
Polk was honored for his award with events on campus from Jan. 31 through Feb. 2.
“It was an unexpected selection, but I’m extremely honored and proud to be recognized by the college and the university,” he said.
During the visit, Polk was able to sit in on project reviews for the Habitat for Humanity Prototype House course, where students are working with the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity to design houses.
“It’s exciting to see that happening,” said Polk. “They are working with real clients with real issues.”
He left some advice for current architecture students – get involved.
“For someone who they know architecture is their calling, the best way to make an impact is to get involved in your community; use your design knowledge to affect the way things change.”