IIDA Foundation Announces 2020 John J. Nelson Sr. Legacy Scholarship Recipients

The IIDA Foundation and John J. Nelson Sr. are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2020 John J. Nelson Sr. Legacy Scholarship. This scholarship fund was established to support diversity and further the study of interior design and architecture for students of African American descent.

Scholarship winners are: Jeremiah Brown, Student IIDA, of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Lawson Dyson, Student IIDA, of the University of Kentucky; and Serica Weaver, Student IIDA, of Savannah College of Art and Design. Each student will receive $10,000 in scholarship funds. Watch their winning video submissions here.

Jeremiah Brown
Lawson Dyson
Serica Weaver

“At IIDA, we proudly support missions that enhance the value of design and promote it’s rapidly diversifying leadership,” said IIDA Executive Vice President and CEO Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA. “This scholarship helps ensure the future of the design industry is equitable and that everyone, with any background, is included.”

John J. Nelson Sr., founder and principal of design for NELSON, is a known supporter of design education, diversity, and unfettered access to education. The Foundation values Nelson’s history of advocating to increase diversity in design and architecture by championing students of all backgrounds.

“Recognizing the need to further diversity within the design profession and to highlight design as a viable, rewarding career option, I was honored to initiate this scholarship fund,” said Nelson Sr. “With IIDA, I am excited to celebrate these three remarkable students. I look forward to seeing them launch their careers, further develop their design talents, and make a difference in the world.”

All applications were reviewed by the Scholarship Fund Evaluation Committee and the IIDA Foundation Board of Trustees. The distinguished evaluation committee included Ronnie Belizaire, IIDA, corporate real estate manager, Americas, Daimler North America Corporation; Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA, executive vice president and CEO, IIDA; Mike Johnson II, IIDA, AIA, senior associate, Perkins and Will; Shawn McLean-Bergel, IIDA, principal and founder, McLean Bergel Design; and John J. Nelson Sr.

For questions or more information, please contact John Czarnecki, Hon. IIDA, Assoc. AIA, deputy director and senior vice president of IIDA, at jczarnecki@iida.org.


IIDA is the commercial interior design association with a global reach. We support design professionals, industry affiliates, educators, students, firms, and their clients through our network of 15,000+ members across 58 countries. We advocate for advancements in education, design excellence, legislation, leadership, accreditation, and community outreach to increase the value and understanding of interior design as a profession that enhances business value and positively impacts the health and well-being of people’s lives every day. www.iida.org