May 23, 2013 Gensler Board Chair, UT Alumna to Speak at Architecture and Design

The UT College of Architecture and Design will welcome accomplished alumna, Robin Klehr Avia as its keynote speaker at the Hooding Ceremony, May 11. Avia is the regional managing principal and chair of the board at Gensler, one of the largest and most acclaimed architecture and interior design firms in the world.

Avia’s commencement speech and the college’s graduation ceremony will be webcast live at 5:00 p.m. The ceremony will occur at Thompson-Boling Arena. Families and friends of the 2013 class may visit the announcement page to learn more about the event.

Avia, a ’76 graduate of the Interior Design Program, recently received the 2012 Alumni Professional Achievement Award from the UT Alumni Association. An esteemed practitioner and leader in interior design, she has heralded international success leading teams in Gensler’s 400-person New York Office, as well its offices in Boston, Massachusetts, San Jose, Costa Rica, Toronto, Canada, and Sao Paolo, Brazil.

“Robin has brought significant honor and credit to the University of Tennessee,” said Dean Scott Poole. “We are privileged to have her as the distinguished speaker of our Hooding Ceremony. She demonstrates how far students can go with a degree from our programs.”

Spanning a 35-year career, Avia has designed award-winning work at scales ranging from 20,000-1,400,000 sq.-ft. This includes her charge of the New York Times Headquarters, a project that received a 2008 Design Award of Excellence from the Society of American Registered Architects.

A Fellow of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), her work has been seen in several publications, including Architectural Record, World Architecture, Interior Design, Contract, and numerous international design publications.

Earlier this year, Avia established the Robin Klehr Avia Scholarship, an award that will assist out-of-state interior design students. She has been a long-time supporter of the college, serving once on its Board of Advisors.

To learn more about the university’s spring commencement activities, please visit


Kiki Roeder (865-974-6713,

Originally published April 20, 2013. 

SELECTED WORKS by Robin Klehr Avia:

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