Since 1980, the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters (MIAL) has awarded individuals in their respective fields. The MIAL was formed in 1978 by several Mississippi citizens, including former Governor William Winter, Dr. Aubrey Lucas, Dr. Cora Norman, Dr. Noel Polk and Mrs. Keith McLean, to honor and recognize writers, artists and musicians.
In April, 2018, the MIAL announced that The American Institute of Architects (AIA) EVP and Chief Executive Officer Robert Ivy had been selected to receive the Noel Polk Lifetime Achievement Award. The Polk Award is always given to living artists and art patrons who are connected in some manner to Mississippi, and whose lifetime achievements in the art world are worthy of special recognition. This year is the first time an architect has won the prestigious award.
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The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has a network of more than 90,000 architects and design professionals as members in over 250 chapters. As the top leader of the AIA, Robert Ivy works hard to promote the AIA through outreach, advocacy and education efforts. Robert Ivy has been CEO of the AIA since 2011 and has successfully directed the AIA on a proactive path of generating awareness amongst the general public as to the importance and relevance of architects. Some of Robert Ivy’s achievements include forming a new digital infrastructure and instituting a public awareness campaign. Robert Ivy’s latest efforts involve moving AIA resources to educate architects on their needed impact on issues of sustainability, climate change and public health.
In the MIAL’s announcement of the Polk Award recipient, MIAL’s President Nancy LaForge stated that Robert Ivy was unique in his lifetime mission to bring the world of architecture to the public and thus deserving of joining the list of Noel Polk Award honorees. Carl Elefante, the President of the AIA, gave his opinion that Robert Ivy was a worthy ambassador for the architectural profession and that the award was a crowning achievement of his personal and professional life. Carl Elefante also said that he was delighted to congratulate Robert Ivy on behalf of the AIA.
While at the helm of the AIA, Robert Ivy has advanced the AIA’s mission to promote the architectural field locally and abroad. Currently, the AIA has the highest number of members in its history. Architects from the United States are today working around the world, helped by global chapters of the AIA. New chapters have opened in China and Canada. The AIA, in tandem with Robert Ivy, plans to continue its mission to affect the global community positively and responsibly.