Trinity Alum Building Legacy One Project at a Time

Architect Michael William Jacobs ’70, FAIA, received the Oberwarth Gold Medal, the American Institute of Architects of Kentucky’s highest individual honor, during ceremonies on Friday, September 20, 2019, in Cincinnati, OH, at the AIA Ohio Valley Regional Convention. The award recognizes and honors an individual member who has displayed a longstanding commitment to the betterment of the profession and the well-being of architects in Kentucky, and who has dedicated extraordinary time and talent to this end.

He has also been instrumental in educating the next generation of architects since 1986 through his role as an adjunct instructor at the University of Kentucky’s School of Architecture. Michael has gained recognition there including the UK 2014 College of Design Faculty Excellence Award for Service, the 2010 UK Commonwealth Collaborative Scholarship, the 2009 UK School of Architecture Teacher of the Year Certificate of Excellence, 1993 Honorary membership in Tau Sigma Delta Honor Society, 1991 Inaugural Silver Medal of Distinction for Design Excellence and Teaching from Tau Sigma Delta Honor Society, and the 1988 UK Distinguished Service Award from the College of Architecture.

For Michael Jacobs, Trinity was more than a school, it was a formative experience. “Trinity offered me the education and structure that I needed. The faculty and staff really did make a difference in my formation. Fr. Ropple, Fr. Hazelip, Fr. Caster, and Mr. Eckert all come to mind. I began to understand the true value of education taking an honors course with Fr. Ted Sans.”

“At Trinity, I remember taking a Mechanical Drawing class with Fr. Jansing where we would draw mostly machine parts, but the precision in learning these drawing techniques served me well when I applied to architecture at UK. At that time, I was more interested in making and inventing forms.”

After graduating from the University of Kentucky, Jacobs began working at Omni Architects in 1976, and currently serves as its president. Over the course of his career, he has been responsible for the design of twenty award-winning projects for higher education, worship, workplace, and other institutions throughout the Commonwealth, including publication of projects in the Louisville Guide to Architecture.

“Every project becomes special. While our projects are rather progressive in nature, our projects also vary and are responsive to their site, environmental considerations, program and our client’s aspirations. “

In 2017, Jacobs was elevated to the American Institute of Architects’ prestigious College of Fellows, an honor reserved for architects who have made significant contributions to the profession and society, and who exemplify architectural excellence. 

Michael’s outstanding achievements recognize his impassioned ability to raise expectations by introducing innovative architectural solutions that exceed the widely accepted design conditions typically found in the built environment.

The firm’s award-winning projects for our Catholic community include multiple phased church, school, and parish life centers for the parishes of St. Gabriel the Archangel and St. Albert the Great in Louisville, St. Mark Parish in Richmond, hospital renovations and additions at St. Claire Medical Center and Saints Mary and Elizabeth Hospital, renovations to historic properties and expansion projects for the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, and projects for the Ursuline Sisters of Louisville. Currently, Michael is designing an expansion of the Catholic Newman Center at the University of Kentucky, which is currently in the fund-raising phase.

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