Pitt-Bradford will award its highest honor to the man who helped to develop a comprehensive facilities plan for the campus and designed virtually all of its construction projects over the last 20 years.
Albert Filoni, former president of MacLachlan, Cornelius & Filoni Architects, will be posthumously honored with the Presidential Medal of Distinction during a meeting of the university's Advisory Board Thursday. Filoni's son, Michael Filoni, will accept the award.
“We were all in awe of Albert's creative gift for design and architectural renderings,” said Dr. Livingston Alexander, president of Pitt-Bradford. “How fortunate we were to have this great man in our midst! We're honored and privileged to present the Presidential Medal of Distinction to Albert Filoni.”
Ken Lee, current president of the architectural firm, said, “Albert Filoni shared the same values for education and the quality of student life as the Pitt-Bradford leadership.”
Filoni became involved with Pitt-Bradford in 1994, when he was hired to create a master plan to fulfill the needs of Plan 2000, a plan written to take the university into the 21st century. Filoni designed the master plan to guide campus development for the next 20 years. The master plan programmed academic and social amenities to enrich the student experience. It identified physical locations for academic buildings, residence halls, a chapel and traffic pattern improvements, all of which he would come to design.
Filoni's signature structure on campus was the Harriett B. Wick Chapel, constructed in 2010. The building's natural materials, sweeping roofline and floor-to-ceiling windows make use of its location on the Tunungwant Creek and allow those sitting comfortably inside to feel as if they are outside.
At the time he unveiled the design for the chapel, Filoni said that he designed it to serve “a whole lot of people in a whole lot of ways. It really is not a church. It is a whole lot more than that.”
Today Wick Chapel is used for campus services, meditation, programs, concerts, weddings and other services and as the home base for the university's Office of Community Engagement.
Another Filoni-designed building that stands out on campus is Blaisdell Hall, which includes the 500-seat Bromeley Family Theater.
Filoni also designed four of the campus's suite-style residence halls - Reed-Coit, Howard L. Fesenmyer, Sarah B. Dorn, and Lester and Barbara Rice houses, along with the layout for the university's newest residence hall, Livingston Alexander House, which is now under construction.
Each project brought the campus closer to achieving its master plan and gave the grounds a unified modern but rustic look by using natural materials in such features as vaulted timber ceilings and stone pilings at entrances.
A major renovation of the Frame-Westerberg Commons featured a new dining hall and multi-use room that epitomized Filoni's look for the campus.
Filoni also had a hand in the construction of three campus icons - the clock tower in the Bromeley Quadrangle, the large stone signs at each entrance to campus, and the situating of a larger-than-life bronze panther statue created by artist David Hodges for the campus's 50th anniversary in 2013.
Filoni's final project for the university before his death last fall was of special interest to him. An ardent fan of opera, Filoni was particularly thrilled to design the renovation of Marilyn Horne Hall, which is named for the Bradford native and world-renowned mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne. The hall is home to the Marilyn Horne Museum and Exhibit Center.
Filoni is the 29th individual awarded the Presidential Medal of Distinction, which is presented to a person who has either volunteered his or her time for several years; supported the university either financially or with expertise or advice; served the university's service region through community, government or business affiliation; or has made distinctive achievements in his or her field that have affected Pitt-Bradford.
Recent medal recipients include Greg Booth, former president and chief executive officer of Zippo Manufacturing Co.; Craig Hartburg, chairman of the Advisory Board; and Chancellor Emeritus Mark V. Nordenberg.