Woofter selected as inaugural Sam and Marilyn Fox Professor

Heather Woofter (Photo: Jamison Ford)

Heather Woofter has been selected as the inaugural Sam and Marilyn Fox Professor in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis. An installation ceremony will be held Sept. 26 in the university’s Steinberg Auditorium.

Woofter, a co-director of the St. Louis-based firm Axi:Ome llc, joined the architecture faculty in 2004. She was appointed director of the College of Architecture and Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design, both part of the Sam Fox School, in 2017.

Woofter’s endowed position was made possible by a gift from former U.S. Ambassador Sam Fox and his wife, Marilyn Fox. The couple has received numerous honors, both separately and together, for their philanthropy and civic leadership. In 2006, when Washington University formally combined its schools of art and architecture, the resulting School of Design & Visual Arts was named in recognition of Sam Fox’s service and support.

“I am profoundly grateful to Sam and Marilyn for creating this professorship and for their extraordinary leadership,” Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton said. “They are deeply committed to teaching and scholarship at Washington University, as well as tireless advocates for education and the arts. Their contributions to the school are simply immeasurable.”

Carmon Colangelo, the Ralph J. Nagel Dean of the Sam Fox School and E. Desmond Lee Professor for Collaboration in the Arts, added, “Heather is a dedicated faculty member, gifted architect and inspiring academic leader. Both inside and outside the classroom, she does an exemplary job of guiding students as they seek to discover their own strengths, talents and professional paths.”

Woofter’s installation comes during a period of substantial growth for the Sam Fox School. Over the past decade, enrollment in the nationally ranked Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design has nearly doubled. Last summer, the school broke ground on Anabeth and John Weil Hall, which will include new studios for graduate architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, art and design.

UMSL at Grand Center, designed by Axi:Ome llc. (Photo: Jamison Ford)

About Heather Woofter

A Maryland native, Woofter earned a Bachelor of Architecture from Virginia Tech and a Master of Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. She began her career as a project architect with Bohlin Cywinski Jackson in Wilkes-Barre, Penn., Marks Barfield in London and Robert Luchetti Associates in Cambridge, Mass.

Before coming to St. Louis, Woofter served as an assistant professor at Virginia Tech and as a visiting professor at both Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and Konkuk University in Seoul, South Korea. She also has taught at Boston Architectural College and at Roger Williams University.

Woofter co-founded Axi:Ome in St. Louis with fellow Sam Fox School professor Sung Ho Kim in 2003. Major projects include UMSL at Grand Center, home to NPR affiliate St. Louis Public Radio, and the interiors for PBS affiliate KETC-TV.

The firm has won national and international recognition, including numerous American Institute of Architects (AIA) Honor Awards, for both built work and competition entries. It also has been profiled in several monographs, most recently “Axi:Ome” and “Three Stages of Architectural Education” (both 2016). Current Axi:Ome projects include Art Walk in Grand Center and a major expansion of COCA, the Center of Creative Arts.

About Sam and Marilyn Fox

Sam and Marilyn Fox

A native of Desloge, Mo., Sam Fox graduated from Washington University in 1951 with a Bachelor of Science in business administration. In 1976, he founded Harbour Group Ltd., a privately owned company that specializes in the acquisition and development of high-quality companies for long-term investment. From 2007 to 2009, he served as U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium. In 2012, he became only the third American to receive The Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown — Belgium’s highest award for public service — presented to him at the behest of King Albert II.

Marilyn Fox, née Widman, grew up in University City, Mo., and has been active in more than a dozen organizations, including the Old Newsboys’ children’s charity, the Girl Scouts, the Jewish Federation and the Missouri Historical Society. Three organizations that are of particular significance for her are: Webster University, where she has long served on the board; the Jewish Community Center, where she was the first woman elected president; and Variety the Children’s Charity St. Louis, where she has chaired the annual gala for 20 years.

Since 1989, Ambassador Fox has served on Washington University’s Board of Trustees, including two years as vice chairman, and currently serves on the executive committee. In 2004, he was elected a lifetime voting trustee, a rare honor. He served from 1998 to 2004 as chairman of the public phase of the Campaign for Washington University, which raised more than $1.5 billion. He also was co-chair of the leadership phase of the current campaign, Leading Together: The Campaign for Washington University, which will conclude on June 30, 2018.

For decades, Sam and Marilyn Fox have made generous contributions to Washington University. Their gifts extend across the university and include professorships in the School of Medicine as well as scholarships in the Sam Fox School and Olin Business School.

Washington University awarded Sam Fox an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 2002 and awarded Marilyn Fox an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree in 2013. The couple also was honored with the Jane and Whitney Harris Community Service Award in 2004. This spring, they were presented with the Dean’s Medal for service to the Sam Fox School.

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