The IIDA Foundation and John J. Nelson Sr. Announce Inaugural Scholarship Fund Recipients

IIDA Foundation 2019 Nelson Scholarship recipients (L-R): Christina Bingham, Carl’Drail Cannon, Johnston Roberts

The IIDA Foundation is pleased to announce the inaugural recipients of the John J. Nelson Sr. Legacy Scholarship Fund. This fund was established to support diversity and benefit African-American students who wish to or are currently enrolled in a design or architecture program. Three students will be the first recipients of the scholarship; each will receive $10,000 in scholarship funds and will be celebrated during the 2019 IIDA Annual Meeting at Venue SIX10 in Chicago on Sunday, June 9.

John J. Nelson Sr., IIDA, 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.

This year’s recipients are: Christina Bingham, Student IIDA, of Seminole State College; Carl’Drail Cannon of Kent State University; and Johnston Roberts of Florida State University.

“IIDA is pleased and humbled to be upholding diversity within the industry and assisting in the design journey of a deserving student through this fund,” said IIDA Executive Vice President and CEO Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA. “We wish the recipients best of luck and know each of them has a bright future ahead.”

“One of my greatest personal missions is furthering educational and professional opportunities for diverse groups of students who are committed to design as a viable career option,” said Nelson Sr. “The recipients of this inaugural scholarship fund all demonstrate a palpable desire to shape the future of design at large and within their own communities. They are all exceptionally worthy and strong candidates.”

Applicants were required to submit a three-to-five minute video articulating how the power of design has already impacted their life, and how they will proactively leverage their career in design to positively impact their future clients and community.

All applications were reviewed by the Scholarship Fund Evaluation Committee and the IIDA Foundation Board of Trustees. The distinguished evaluation committee included: Gabrielle Bullock, IIDA, FAIA, NOMA2018-2019 IIDA International Board President, senior director of global diversity, Perkins+Will; Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA, executive vice president and CEO, IIDA; John J. Nelson Sr., IIDA, founder, principal of design, NELSON; Dina Griffin, IIDA, FAIA, NOMApresident, architect, Interactive Design Architects; Jack Travis, FAIA, NOMA, president, architect, Afri Culture/Design Culture.

For more information, contact Aisha Williams, senior director of industry relations and special events, at

About The IIDA Foundation

The IIDA Foundation is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 philanthropic organization whose mission is to advance interior design through education, research, and knowledge to benefit IIDA and the interior design profession. The Foundation works in collaboration with IIDA to support the strategic plan of the Association, which includes design professionals, industry affiliates, educators, students, firms, and their clients through a network of 15,000+ members across 58 countries.