The University of New Mexico
Contact: Carolyn Gonzales 277-5920
Oct. 21, 2008
Petronis Named UNM School of Architecture and Planning Distinguished Alumnus
John Petronis, a two-time alum from the University of New Mexico, was recently named the UNM School of Architecture and Planning’s 2008 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year, an award presented annually to a graduate of the school who has distinguished him or herself through professional work and community service.
Petronis earned a master’s of architecture degree in 1976 and an MBA in 1986.
Immediately upon graduating with his master’s in architecture degree, Petronis opened the first architectural programming office in New Mexico. The small firm, Architectural Research Consultants, was devoted to helping clients make better informed decisions about what to build. The firm has grown and succeeded through its commitment to provide clients with tools they can use to understand their needs and communicate effectively with their communities. ARC has successfully completed and implemented hundreds of projects. ARC now has 28 employees and practices throughout the United States, but mostly in New Mexico.
Edie Cherry, who nominated Petronis for the award, wrote, “ARC, under John’s leadership for over 30 years, has provided planning and programming expertise to communities and school districts that have made these places and institutions better places to live and learn. The services have provided expertise that helps make equity achievable in a society where equity is often elusive.”
Edie Cherry was a professor when Petronis started graduated school, teaching the programming course that set him on his career path. “She has served on the ARC board of directors since the firm was established,” he said.
Petronis was a VISTA volunteer and worked in the school’s Design and Planning Assistance Center. Programming work he did for a cultural food preparation center for Cochiti Pueblo was not only important in directing him professionally, but also appeared in a book by one of his professors, Wolf Preiser. Another DPAC project he worked on, for a family health center in the South Valley, appeared in a book published by the American Institute of Architects. Another faculty member, Mort Hoppenfeld, who later served as dean, gave Petronis an introduction to the state and “real projects,” he said.
Roger Schluntz, dean, School of Architecture and Planning, said that Petronis’ clients include school districts statewide as well as some in California and Nevada. His higher education clients include UNM, UNM-Valencia, NMSU, NMSU-Grants, St. John’s College, Crownpoint Institute of Technology and Tohono O’odham Community College. “ ARC engaged in critical initial programming work for UNM for the school’s new facility, circa 1997-99,” Schluntz said.
ARC has worked with many clients for 10 years or more. Petronis has been under contract to provide professional programming and planning services to Sandia National Labs for more than 20 years, the Albuquerque Public School district for the past 20 years, UNM for the past 30 years, New Mexico State University for the past 16 years, and to the State of New Mexico Capitol Buildings Planning Commission for the last 10 years.
Petronis said receiving the award was an “unexpected pleasure,” and noted that his wife Beth, who died several years ago from cancer, would have been proud.
|The University of New Mexico is the state's largest university, serving more than 32,000 students. UNM is home to the state's only schools of law, medicine, pharmacy and architecture and operates New Mexico's only academic health center. UNM is noted for comprehensive undergraduate programs and research that benefits the state and the nation.|