After serving in many roles for 21 years at Judson University, Rev. Dr. Curtis J. Sartor Jr. retired at the end of the 2020-21 academic year.

Dr. Sartor has taught as an architectural professor for nearly 30 years, been a practicing architect with architectural firms in San Francisco and Atlanta, and been involved with several national organizations for architecture, leadership and diversity. He obtained his master’s degree in Architecture from Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Ala., and his Ph.D. in Environmental Design from The Union Institute and University in Cincinnati, Ohio, specializing in Cultural Anthropology and Multi-Cultural Studies.

At Judson University, Dr. Sartor was appointed by the president to a cabinet-level role of Associate Vice President for Diversity and Spiritual Development because of his expertise in multi-cultural and race relations and the importance diversity plays on Judson’s campus. He also served as Interim Architecture Department Chair and is a tenured full Professor of architecture.

In his role as Associate Vice President for Diversity and Spiritual Development, Dr. Sartor created a university-wide focus on racism and diversity by creating two Diversity Committees: one serving issues just related to the campus while the other included community leaders to inform and be informed about diversity issues in the Elgin community. His office developed a faith statement on diversity, which provides a foundation for the university’s approach to diversity on campus.

At Judson, Dr. Sartor also sponsored and mentored the Black Student Union, a student-led group that provides Judson minority students a community, identity and opportunities to educate and advocate among their peers and the campus. He also was instrumental in starting the Latino Student Union in 2021. Additionally, Dr. Sartor spoke in Chapel, led town hall meetings and used popular movies to have dialogue on diversity issues and explore the experience of being black today. He spearheaded awareness training for Judson faculty and staff to better understand implicit racial bias and microaggression in the community and in the classroom.

“We are thrilled for Dr. Sartor and his family to honor him for his years of faithful service to his profession and to the Judson community,” said Judson President Gene Crume. “Dr. Sartor has led by example through his own professional accomplishments as a practicing architect and pastor. Judson has been blessed by his work as an educator and mentor to our students, inspiring and encouraging them to become leaders in their careers and communities.”

To mark the occasion of Dr. Sartor’s retirement, Judson’s Black Student Union organized a special dinner in his honor on April 23. Dr. Sartor receiving a special citation from the mayor for his work on the Elgin Cultural Arts Commission. Prior to Commencement on May 8, Dr. Sartor was honored as faculty emeritus by Provost Dr. Gillian Stewart-Wells.

“The academic side of the house has been blessed by Dr. Sartor’s service since arriving at Judson in 2005. He has contributed to the life of the Department of Architecture and Interior Design as a loved professor, department chair, and dean,” said Dr. Stewart-Wells. “He has also been instrumental in preparing for our 2022 NAAB Accreditation renewal. The University is stronger because of his example.”

In December 2020, Dr. Sartor received the Nathan Clifford Ricker Award from the American Institute of Architects for Illinois. Dr. Sartor was recognized by the City of Elgin with the 2020 Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award during the City of Elgin’s 35th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast. The award recognized Dr. Sartor’s passion for following the leadership practices of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to advocate and give voice to minority populations within his professional and personal life.

Within his profession, Dr. Sartor has served on several diversity committees for national organizations where he has advocated for minority populations and professionals within the field of architecture. He was appointed to the Commission on Diversity & Inclusion by the President of the Council of Christian Colleges & Universities and served from 2016 to 2019; served on the National Board of Diversity and Inclusion Council for the American Institute of Architects from 2011 to 2013; and has been a member of the National Organization of Minority Architects since 2008. He was nominated for the prestigious National AIA Whitney M. Young Award by the AIA National Diversity & Inclusion Council in 2016.

Within the Elgin community, his roles at Judson University and Come As You Are Church, a multi-cultural ministry located in Elgin where he serves as pastor and youth pastor, have illustrated what it means to be part of a multicultural community. Through Come As You Are, he has served community nonprofits PADS and Wayside Ministry. He also represented his diversity focus when he served as commissioner for the Elgin Cultural Arts Commission from 2005 to 2008.

Dr. Sartor has published articles on diversity and architecture. He also wrote the book 20 on 20/20 Vision, Perspectives on Diversity and Design, published by American Institute of Architects Diversity Committee, the Boston Society of Architects and the Boston Architectural Center.

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