University of Oklahoma Faculty Named 2024 American Institute of Architects Fellow


NORMAN, OKLA. – Ronald H. Frantz, Jr., FAIA, University of Oklahoma Christopher C. Gibbs College of Architecture associate professor and director of the environmental design program, has been elevated to the American Institute of Architects’ College of Fellows, a distinction only 3% of AIA members have been awarded.

Each year, following a rigorous review process, the AIA elevates select member architects to its College of Fellows, a fellowship program developed to honor architects who have achieved a standard of excellence in the profession and made a significant contribution to architecture and society nationally.

Frantz was elevated in the AIA College of Fellows category of Public Service, which suits him perfectly as he has dedicated his career to revitalizing important historic communities and ensuring history is preserved by equipping others with these skills.

“I have spent more than 25 years admiring Mr. Frantz’s tireless work partnering with community members to transform and preserve historic built environments, serving the AIA and other community organizations, and educating and mentoring students and professionals with an empathetic and learner-centered approach,” says Hans Butzer, FAIA, LEED AP, dean of the College of Architecture and also a member of the AIA College of Fellows.

Much of Frantz’s professional career has been dedicated to working with Main Street America, “a movement committed to strengthening communities through preservation-based economic development in older and historic downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts,” according to their website. He developed collaborative relationships with more than 100 Oklahoma towns, districts and neighborhoods. He has been asked to share his expertise at the national level through work with the Main Street America Design Manual, and his façade work has been featured in more than 20 national publications. Six of the towns Frantz partnered with have been designated Great American Main Street Award winners by Main Street America.

Frantz has given much back to the history of Oklahoma cities and towns. He oversaw the preservation of main street facades in dozens of towns, including Pawhuska, Ponca City, Okmulgee and Miami. He contributed to the preservation of key historic sites in Guthrie, Oklahoma’s territorial capital; Automobile Alley in Oklahoma City after the Murrah Federal Building bombing; and an important Oklahoma City historic neighborhood, The Paseo.

Frantz has spent his career educating others about the importance of historic architectural preservation, as well as teaching the techniques and methods. In 2011, he joined the University of Oklahoma Architecture faculty to dedicate his time to training the next generation of architects and preservationists. All this hard work for preservation culminated in the Lifetime Achievement Award from AIA Oklahoma, the organization’s highest honor, in 2023.

“Mr. Frantz is a vocal and productive ambassador, advocate and community-engagement liaison who understands that our future is stronger when it’s built upon the shared lessons of our past,” says Butzer.