Eupora architect honored as AIA Fellow

From Press, Staff Reports

The 2013 Jury of Fellows from the American Institute of Architects has elevated Belinda Stewart, FAIA, to its prestigious College of Fellows, an honor awarded to members who have made significant contributions to the profession.

2013 AIA Mississippi President Anne Marie Decker, AIA, in a note to the membership noted, “Belinda is a trailblazer, a successful architect in small-town Mississippi, the first female president of AIA Mississippi and now the first female Fellow of the Institute from Mississippi.”

Stewart began her career in North Carolina, where she spent five years working for leading firms, and developing her skill and passion for historic preservation. In 1990, she brought her knowledge back home, establishing her practice in Eupora. Belinda Stewart Architects now employs 14 people.

Jim Eley, FAIA, stated in his letter of recommendation on behalf of Stewart, “Belinda has chosen to practice in rural America, a choice not without cost.”

He goes on to say, “As a very talented architect, Belinda could have chosen a more lucrative market, where an architect’s work is more appreciated and better rewarded. Instead, she chose the road less traveled, at least by architects, and that has been her gift to our state and our profession.

“A product of a small Mississippi community, Belinda understands the historic and economic symbolism of buildings that have defined communities for generations. Serving her fourth term as mayor of (Walthall), Belinda has experienced firsthand the impact of a down economy on small towns, and taken an active role in inspiring economic development in her own community, and in the places she serves.”

The AIA Fellowship program was developed to elevate those architects who have made a significant contribution to architecture and society and who have achieved a standard of excellence in the profession. Election to fellowship not only recognizes the achievements of architects as individuals, but also their significant contribution to architecture and society on a national level.

Stewart will be honored at an investiture ceremony at the 2013 National AIA Convention and Design Exposition in Denver.