Skip to main content

Marleen Davis Marleen Kay Davis and Thomas K. (T.K.) Davis, professors in the College of Architecture and Design, have been named co-recipients of the Samuel Morgan Lifetime Service Award for Contribution to Architecture in the Public Realm by the American Institute of Architects Tennessee. The announcement was made August 25 at the AIA Tennessee annual meeting in Chattanooga.

The award is one of the highest honors that AIA Tennessee bestows. It is conferred in recognition of architects who, by their skill, professionalism, dedication, ability, and commitment, have consistently fostered quality in the public built environment.

Normally reserved for an individual, the award was given this year to the husband-and-wife team, who together have almost eighty years of experience in practicing architecture and teaching students. Both are AIA Fellows, the highest honor within the profession.

In nominating the Davises, UT alumnus Kem Hinton (’77), principal of Tuck-Hinton Architects, said, “They have been jointly and separately consumed with the betterment of our profession and the advancement of their students. Their unselfish service serves as an example to other professionals and educators.”

TK DavisAlumnus Gary Gaston (’99), executive director of the Nashville Civic Design Center, said in his nomination, “They impact the lives of students each and every day. Through Marleen’s role in creating the Plan of Nashville and T.K.’s job as design director, they both have literally changed the face of Nashville.”

The Davises joined the College of Architecture and Design in 1994. Marleen has taught Introduction to Architecture for more than 20 years and served the college as dean from 1994 to 2003. In 2012, she was named an Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture Distinguished Professor. She served as president and board member of the AIA student organization from 2007 to 2014 and president of the ACSA from 2008 to 2009. She earned a Master of Architecture with distinction from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University.

T.K. teaches graduate-level Theory of Urban Design. In 2011, he founded the college’s Nashville Urban Design Summer Program and teaches the studio in collaboration with Vanderbilt University. T.K. served as design director of the Nashville Civic Design Center from 2004 to 2008 and now serves as a member of the board of directors for the visionary organization. In 2013, he received the national C. Peter McGrath University Community Outreach Exemplary Program award for his design leadership in Nashville. A former Fulbright Scholar, T.K. has served as president of the Tennessee Foundation for Architecture and on the AIA Tennessee board of directors. He earned a Master of Architecture and Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University.

“The leadership and professional outreach of Marleen and Tom in the university and the community have helped create paths for assuring that design principles are at the forefront of building, master planning, development, sustainability, preservation, and revitalization,” said alumnus Doug McCarty (’73), president and CEO of McCarty Holsaple McCarty Inc., in nominating the Davises.

The Samuel Morgan Lifetime Service Award was established in 2012 in honor of Samuel Morgan (1798–1880), an American business leader, architect, builder, and manufacturer, who led the effort to build a new state capitol in Tennessee.


Amanda F. Johnson (865-974-6401,

Tyra Haag (865-974-5460,