Adkisson Secures Gensler Post, Becomes a Registered Architect, is Accepted to Harvard…All in Four Years

Jun. 29, 2017

Classmates no doubt remember him as an over achiever, and they could be right. Sam Adkisson, AIA, CDT, who graduated from the College of Architecture and Design in 2013, has achieved much in his short time as an alumnus.

It all started the night of graduation.

Adkisson had learned that UT alumna Robin Klehr Avia, FIIDA, CID, Regional Managing Principal for Gensler, was to give the commencement address. In the week between completing his thesis and preparing for graduation, Adkisson compiled his portfolio and made a plan.

Minutes after the conclusion of graduation, Adkisson handed his portfolio to Avia, who was so impressed that she hired him. He started working in the Gensler New York office a month later and has contributed to notable projects including the Etsy Headquarters in Brooklyn, IBM Global Headquarters, JP Morgan Chase building and TED Conferences HQ.

Soon after unpacking his suitcase in The Big Apple, Adkisson set his sights on the ARE. The Architect Registration Examination is a grueling, seven-test licensing exam. According to the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, who administers the ARE, the average number of years for someone to complete the regimen is seven years post graduation.

Adkisson completed all seven tests in two and half years and earned the title of “architect” in just three years, the minimum time allowed to attain licensure in New York.

Although the achievement is all Adkisson’s, and the college would never suggest otherwise, surely the college can take a modicum of the credit for it. After all, for six years in a row, UT graduates have outscored those from any other school in the Southeastern Conference on the ARE and scored at or above the national average more often than any other SEC school scoring well above the national pass rate. It’s clear that while in school, our students learn the value of being licensed, and after graduation, they carry through successfully.

Adkisson’s story doesn’t end with his incredible ARE achievement. Adkisson now has been accepted to the master of architecture in urban design program at Harvard University Graduate School of Design. He will embark upon studies at Harvard in fall 2017, and if history proves anything, we should all expect to receive graduation announcements in record time.

The College of Architecture and Design salutes this young architect, who is the embodiment of the hard work and Volunteer Spirit evidenced in the Art + Architecture Building every day.

The rest of the story: Sam’s not the only Adkisson who graduated from the College of Architecture and Design and is making a name for himself. This tradition goes back to 1978. Watch for the rest of the story about the Adkisson architects coming soon.