Dr. Sharon Egretta Sutton

Visiting Professor, School of Constructed Environments
New York, New York
United States

Focus Areas

Community & Civic Engagement
Community & Civic Engagement
Economic Security
Community Development
Urban Development / Revitalization
Racial Equity & Healing
African-American / Black Communities
Diversity / Inclusion / Equity
Social Justice
Social Justice
Youth Development
Youth Development


Dr. Sharon Egretta Sutton, FAIA is a public scholar who promotes inclusivity in the cultural makeup of the city-making professions and in the populations they serve, and also advocates for participatory planning and design processes in disenfranchised communities. She has served on the faculties of Pratt Institute, Columbia University, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Michigan, and the University of Washington. Sutton, who previously practiced architecture in New York City, was the twelfth African American woman to be licensed to practice architecture, the first to be promoted to full professor of architecture, the second to be elected a Fellow in the American Institute of Architects (AIA), and the first to be president of the National Architectural Accrediting Board. She holds five academic degrees—in music, architecture, philosophy, and psychology—and has studied graphic art internationally. Sutton's scholarship explores America's continuing struggle for racial justice. Her funding has come from the Ford Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and Hewlett Foundation, among others. Her latest book, When Ivory Towers Were Black: A Story about Race in Americas Cities and Universities, portrays what was undoubtedly the nation's most audacious effort to recruit African American and Latino students to Columbia University's School of Architecture. Early in her career, Sutton worked as a professional musician in New York City, most notably for Sol Hurok Attractions and in the original cast of Man of La Mancha. Her fine art is in the Library of Congress and has been exhibited in and collected by galleries and museums, business enterprises, and colleges and universities. Sutton received the Medal of Honor from both AIA New York and AIA Seattle, and the Whitney M. Young Jr. Award from AIA National. She is a distinguished professor of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture and an inductee into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame. Currently, Sutton is professor emerita of architecture, urban design, and social work at the University of Washington and visiting professor at Parsons School of Design in New York City.