Scholarly Impact: MAF Board Member Tim Casai is Dedicated to Helping Grow the Impact of MAF’s Educational Programs

For architect Tim Casai, FAIA, becoming involved with the Michigan Architectural Foundation (MAF) ten years ago was a natural extension of his long-time commitment to the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Michigan.

“While AIA Michigan is very focused on the profession of architecture, I was very impressed with MAF’s programs that connect and engage people with architecture and support architectural education,” said Tim.

Since then, Tim has been part of MAF’s K5 educational committee, which has developed a free, architecture-based curriculum for young students; and led MAF’s scholarship committee, which awards merit- and need-based scholarships to Michigan architecture students. “MAF attracts the brightest and most gifted architecture students to the scholarship program,” said Tim. “And I’m proud that our profession, through the MAF, understands the importance of fostering the next generation of architectural talent and supporting students as they advance through their degree programs.”

MAF started the program in 2005 with one scholarship; this year, nine scholarships were granted, with a total dollar award of $20,600. Tim continues, “MAF could not have grown the scholarship program without the generous contributions from our donors, architecture firms, and other benefactors.”

As a University of Michigan architecture student, Tim received scholarship support – which he notes as a motivating factor for him being directly involved with MAF’s scholarship committee, and in assisting today’s architecture students in obtaining financial support towards their degrees.

Tim earned both his Bachelor of Science and Master of Architecture (with high distinction) degrees from the University of Michigan and is currently a Senior Vice President with TMP Architecture. With 40 years in the profession, Tim firmly believes architecture is capable of enhancing learning, human performance, and quality of life.

“The students who are submitting applications for MAF scholarships demonstrate passion for the profession, as well as a commitment to leadership and community,” said Tim. “As a jury, we are pleased with the submitting students and the overall quality of their work, and as always, will work to include as many students as possible in the process.”

He continued, “This year’s group of scholarship winners is more diverse than ever, which is huge for the future of the profession. Combined with their talent, dedication, and aspirations, they are certain to move the profession forward.” Tim is one of three MAF board members who comprise the MAF Scholarship Committee (along with fellow architects Les Tincknell, FAIA, and Gene Hopkins, FAIA).

Tim also notes the impact MAF is creating through the programming it supports, and its increased efforts to engage with stakeholders through social media and communications outreach. “In addition to MAF’s educational initiatives, we award grants that help preserve important architectural and community assets and created architecture book collections that can be borrowed through the Michigan Library Network.”

MAF also makes public awareness grants for programming that creatively connects people with architecture, including camps for minority architecture students, after school programs for kids, design competitions, and projects such as films on the late Michigan-based architect Eero Saarinen, and the unique ‘mushroom houses’ in Charlevoix.

“In the fifty years since MAF was established, it has had a profound impact on future architects, and in creating awareness of the important role architecture plays in our lives,” said Tim. “Much of that has been due to the support and dedication of MAF’s donors and board members, and the momentum they have created. Just imagine what can be accomplished in the next fifty years and beyond.”