In last month’s VSAIA News, John Braymer shared a farewell message with everyone as he drew closer to the final days of his 28-year tenure as our Executive Vice President. This month, I find myself having taken on the role and responsibility of his former position. I considered offering you my own dreams for our statewide professional society under my just-getting-started stewardship. However, I decided that for this newsletter issue, I would instead like to reflect on John, offering my perspective of his time with us and extending our collective appreciation for his dedication to us. (Next time, I’ll gaze into the crystal ball of the future …)
On the occasion of John’s retirement, we offer our respect and gratitude to him for his service as Executive Vice President of the Virginia Society AIA, in addition to his previous roles as President of the Virginia Foundation for Architecture and Founding President of the Virginia Center for Architecture Foundation. His tenure in these various posts has been characterized by aspiration for the architecture profession and inspiration as a gifted leader.
Thanks to his devoted leadership, the architects of Virginia are the fortunate beneficiaries of an enhanced level of support and service. Thanks to his exemplary stewardship, an architectural treasure has been preserved and enhanced. Thanks to his extraordinary vision, the public has a greater understanding of the power of architecture to transform lives, as well as a deeper appreciation for the value architects bring to their communities.
Notable English architect, planner, landscape architect, and garden designer Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe once said, “Architecture is to make us know and remember who we are.” Whenever we think about the impressive programs, projects, and initiatives that are the ‘architecture’ of the Virginia Society, our reflections will take us, most often, to John as their steward. Whenever any of us visit the Virginia Center for Architecture and study its impressive edifice, our thoughts will lead us to John as its restorer. The architecture of our beloved organization – and of that special place – will not only “make us know and remember” who WE are, but will remind us of who HE is … along with what he stood for and the difference he made for our profession and in the Commonwealth.
We’re appreciative of his countless gifts to us and for his legacy, which will carry on into future decades. We hope that John will often reflect – in his own way – on his many successes, contributions, and accomplishments. Our congratulations and thanks!
Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA
Executive Vice President