California Architects

Newsletter Logo for California Architects

2018 Edition, Issue 2


A Publication of the California Architects Board ■ Public Protection Through Examination, Licensure, and Regulation

Octavius Morgan Distinguished Service Award Recipients: 2017

Named after the first president of the California Architects Board, the Octavius Morgan Distinguished Service Award recognizes individuals who have over the years significantly contributed to the Board’s mission through their volunteerism. The Board annually selects award recipients. Nominations are accepted from Board members and staff.

The Board relies on volunteers to assist in developing the California Supplemental Examination (CSE) and to serve on many of its committees. Here are the 2017 honorees:

Norman Millar

Burbank (Los Angeles)

The Board is posthumously honoring Norman R. Millar, who passed away April 14, 2016, for his commitment to its mission and the architecture profession. An Echo Park resident and a California architect for more than thirty years, Norman Millar was a prominent Los Angeles practitioner and Dean of the Woodbury University, School of Architecture (1999–2016). Millar was a graduate of the University of Washington and the University of Pennsylvania School of Design where he respectively earned Bachelor of Environmental Design and Master of Architecture degrees.

Norman Millar
Norman Millar

Prior to joining Woodbury, Millar taught at several Los Angeles institutions, including the Southern California Institute of Architecture, the University of Southern California, Art Center College of Design, and the University of California, Los Angeles. He was one of the nation’s leading architectural educators who truly loved what he did—being quoted as saying, I exited architecture school with the intention of making good buildings, and discovered that teaching expanded my passion by fostering it in students. Millar was honored by the Los Angeles chapter of The American Institute of Architects with its 2014 Educator of the Year award.

Other prestigious awards Millar received include the Architectural Record’s Record House Award, and the "40 Under 40" list of the New York Architectural League. His home, called the Ark House, was also featured in an article by the Los Angeles Times.

A passionate and optimistic proponent of improving the architectural educational system and expanding inclusivity of the profession, Millar, throughout his career at Woodbury, helped thousands of students and aspiring professionals achieve success in the field. Present Dean Ingalill Wahlroos-Ritter was quoted saying that his [Millar’s] great passion was teaching and transforming Woodbury students into what he liked to call, ‘architect citizens’.

He was described by colleagues as a strong and effective academic leader with vision both at Woodbury and nationally as president of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (2013–14). Millar’s advocacy for a streamlined path to licensure put him in the forefront of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards’ Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure initiative; promoting the integration of education, experience, and examination into a professional curriculum.

Millar participated in several other professional organizations, including the: National Architectural Accrediting Board; The American Institute of Architects, Los Angeles Chapter; California Architectural Foundation; Hollywood Design Review Advisory Board; and the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design.

A quote from Dr. David Steele, Woodbury University President, best summarizes the loss of Millar to the profession and community, A warm, caring and passionate man, he will be deeply missed—on our Los Angeles and San Diego campuses and in the architecture community worldwide.

Robert Peterson


Robert Peterson, a California-licensed architect for more than 50 years, was born in Great Falls, Montana. During his teen years, Peterson attended high school in Winslow, Arizona, where he met his wife and life-long partner, Clydine, in his senior year. They were married two years later after both were accepted to Stanford University. There, he earned first a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture (in 1955) followed by a Master of Arts in Architecture (in 1956). Decades later, Peterson would recall that his time at Stanford was among the highlights of his life that provided him with the knowledge and tools to be an architect. Directly after graduation, Peterson was drafted into the US Army and served for two years.

After returning from the Army, Peterson went to work for Victor Thompson to help with a private practice. In March 1960, Peterson submitted his application to the Board and two years later received his license to practice in April 1962, after successfully completing the California Supplemental Examination (CSE). Peterson became a de facto partner with Thompson. In 1967, he joined The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and has since remained a member.

Peterson began assisting the Board by his participation in California Architectural Licensing Examination item writing workshops during the mid to late 1980s, grading the graphic divisions for the Board and National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, and serving as a commissioner for the CSE for over 20 years; he participated in Northern California CSE administrations when it was administered in an oral format. Peterson contributed approximately 700 hours of his time and strives to enrich the diversity within the examination development workshops by encouraging female architects to become involved with the CSE development. While no longer actively working on CSE development, he continues to support CSE activities by assisting in the recruitment of new licensees for workshops. If asked by colleagues about volunteering for the Board, Peterson advises them to call.

Robert Peterson
Robert Peterson

Referring to being an architect as a calling, Peterson said, I always felt that architecture selected me. I was fascinated by construction and how materials go together. He also said, Ayn Rand’s movie, ‘The Fountainhead’ convinced me that I was to be an architect.

When asked what he likes about being an architect, Peterson responded, I was intuitively drawn to the Vitruvian elements of firmness, commodity, and delight which I could come to understand and which I have pursued throughout my career. Adding, They have enabled me to design buildings that enrich my life and the lives of my clients and the lives of everyone they touch.

Peterson conducted walking tours of architecture in Palo Alto and served on the city Architectural Review Board, including serving as the Board’s Chair. In February 2011, because of his achievements and contributions to the profession, AIA Jury of Fellows selected Peterson for elevation to the College of Fellows.

Looking toward future generations of architects, Peterson had this advice, Get to know what an architect is and what an architect does. Go to their office and go to their buildings and talk to them. Architects love to talk about architecture.