Living wall classroom in Center for Design Research

$100,000 gift honors 100th year of KU architecture

Howard Nearing
Howard Nearing

This weekend, as the University of Kansas School of Architecture, Design and Planning marks its centennial anniversary, the school is also celebrating a gift to honor the occasion. The Prairie Village architectural firm of Nearing Staats Prelogar & Jones (NSPJ) has made a $100,000 gift for a student prize within the school.

The Howard Nearing Prize honors the firm’s founding partner, Howard Nearing, and the 50th anniversary of the architectural firm. Nearing earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture from KU in 1951. 

“We are pleased to commemorate our 50-plus years of success and to honor Howard Nearing with this gift,” said Bill Prelogar Jr., the firm’s co-president. “The income generated by this gift will fund an annual award of excellence for a residential-based design project completed during a fourth-year design studio.”

Preloger said an offer of a summer internship at the firm will accompany the award each year.

“We’ve always been grateful for Howard’s 50-year support of the school and its students,” said John Gaunt, Dean of the School. “The receipt of this gift is remarkable, generous way to remind us that great businesses and institutions alike can positively influence young people for generations.” 

More than 300 of the school’s alumni will be visiting campus this weekend to participate in the school’s centennial events. 

Howard Nearing founded NSPJ in 1961. The firm’s early work focused primarily on designing large custom homes. Since then, the firm has received commissions for more than 5,000 projects. Prior to founding NSPJ, Nearing worked with Edward Tanner and Associates. While there, he was involved in numerous projects in Kansas City, Mo., and Johnson County, Kan., including in Mission Hills and Prairie Village. 

The gift counts toward Far Above: The Campaign for Kansas, the university’s $1.2 billion comprehensive fundraising campaign. Far Above seeks support to educate future leaders, advance medicine, accelerate discovery and drive economic growth to seize the opportunities of the future.

The campaign is managed by KU Endowment, the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.

Michelle Keller

Assistant Vice President, Communications and Donor Relations 785-832-7336

Michelle Strickland

Media Relations 785-832-7363