Elisabeth “Lisa” Millspaugh Schroeder ’78, P’11, president and chief executive officer of Riverlife, has been named AIA Pittsburgh’s 2012 Gold Medal awardee. Riverlife is a not-for-profit organization established to create a vision and master plan for the city’s riverfronts. The Gold Medal is presented by architecture and design professionals to recognize a community leader who has “made a significant contribution to the profession,” according to a press release announcing Schroeder’s selection. Recipients are selected for their role in generating policy, raising public awareness, and/or leading a specific effort regarding quality architectural design in the Pittsburgh region.
“The Gold Medal is not presented annually, but only when an outstanding candidate is identified,” Mark Dietrick, AIA, president, AIA Pittsburgh, is quoted in the release.
The release also quotes Schroeder: “The design community in Pittsburgh is so deep, so talented, and has been so imaginative in looking at what can be improved that I am thrilled to be recognized as a leader for quality. I simply cannot imagine a greater honor than to be recognized by architectural professionals who are distinguished, not only by their work, but also by their civic energy and generosity. To be in the company of the former recipients, all of whom are passionate community builders and great diplomats, is amazing, humbling and deeply inspiring. We have worked to set the table for inspired architecture, landscapes and public art that will reflect the best that Pittsburgh has to offer.”
Among Schroeder’s most notable work is her leadership of “A Vision Plan for Pittsburgh’s Riverfronts,” for which she earned the 2002 AIA Honor Award in Urban Planning and Design and the 2002 Merit Award in Planning from the International Downtown Association.
Prior to joining Riverfront, Schroeder coordinated restoration planning for a $40 million revitalization of the Erie-Lackawanna Ferry terminal for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Her extensive and diverse experience in planning and preservation includes serving as director of the Harlem Research and Survey Project for the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission; historic preservation planning consultant in the New York region; a Trustee of Maine Preservation; education director for Greater Portland Landmarks and chair of “The Challenge of Sprawl” 1998 statewide conference.
Schroeder earned a B.A. in studio art cum laude and with Honors from William Smith and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. She went on to earn a M.S. degree from Columbia University School of Architecture, where she was awarded a William Kinne Fellows fellowship for her work in teaching children about architecture.
In 2011, she was recognized as an outstanding woman in business by the Pittsburgh Business Times and in 2009 was named one of Pittsburgh’s “Top Environmental Heroes” by Group Against Smog and Pollution.
The Gold Medal Award will be presented at the 2012 Design Pittsburgh Gala and Awards Ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 11, at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s Education Center.