Distinguished Alumni Awards 2023
This year, the College of Environmental Design reprised its Distinguished Alumni Awards and acknowledged the recipients at Commencement on May 14. Established in 1998, the award celebrates outstanding graduates of the college who have made a meaningful impact. As William W. Wurster Dean Renee Y. Chow told these alums at the ceremony, “Thank you for all that you have done to serve so many communities. You make CED proud.”
Joseph O. Wong
President, JWDA Architects
BA Architecture 1972, MArch 1974
Joe Wong is the president of JWDA Architects, a firm he founded in San Diego that focuses primarily on high-density urban housing solutions that include market rate, affordable, and senior units. In its 46-year history, the firm has been widely published in the United States and Asia and recognized with numerous international, national, and local awards of excellence. His practice strives to create buildings that inspire social connections, engage the community, and strengthen our environments.
The nominating committee specifically cited Wong and his firm for their work in addressing the homelessness crisis in San Diego. For example, one of their projects, St. Teresa of Calcutta Villa, is the largest supportive housing facility in the city. It provides over 400 units for individuals and families transitioning out of homelessness. Wong has also generously served on the CED Advisory Council for many years.
Community Equity Director, San Francisco
Master of City Planning 1989, PhD City & Regional Planning 2000
Miriam Chion’s work focuses on the production of just and engaging urban places in the United States and Latin America. As the community equity director for the city of San Francisco, she addresses housing challenges from a position grounded in community culture and power. This is an extension of her previous work as planning and research director for the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG).
The nominating committee explained its selection of Chion this way: “In every role and level of government, Miriam has focused on promoting racial equity and advancing strategies that lift up the strengths of a region’s diverse and structurally marginalized communities. She has also demonstrated an unwavering commitment to mentoring the next generation of planners at UC Berkeley. We recognize her for her generosity of spirit, her curiosity, her willingness to listen to different points of view, and her unflappable optimism in the possibilities of equitable planning.”
Clark H. Wilson
Urban Designer, Environmental Protection Agency
Master of Landscape Architecture 1998, Master of City Planning 1998
As an urban designer with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Infrastructure Program, Clark WiIson focuses his research and policy work on integrating green infrastructure into street and neighborhood design. He is or has been the EPA’s lead on several technical assistance programs, including the Greening America’s Communities, Campus RainWorks Challenge, and the Green Infrastructure Federal Collaborative.
In nominating him, faculty recalled Wilson's outstanding work in an Ecological Factors in Urban Landscape Design studio. In his project, developing a green streets plan for the Fruitvale district of San Leandro, he explored ways to apply an update to the Clean Water Act. We like to think that this studio propelled him to Portland, where he spearheaded the Green Streets manual for the city, and then to the EPA, where he is leading a national movement toward greener infrastructure.
Dean, Central Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture
Founder, Studio Zhu Pei
Master of Urban Design 2000
As founder of Studio Zhu Pei, Zhu has designed an extraordinary number of cultural buildings that have been exhibited widely, including at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. He is dean of the School of Architecture at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing and previously taught at Harvard, Columbia, and Yale.
This award also acknowledges Zhu’s significant impact on CED and especially our international students. During the fully remote pandemic year, he hosted CED’s Chinese students at the Central Academy, giving them both space to work and an internet connection so they could continue their Berkeley education.