Architecture Alumni Invest in SARUP Scholarships

April 27, 2018
(Left to right) Chad Griswold '00, '03; Dean Bob Greenstreet; Joel Lee; Matt Rinka '97; and Steve Morales '02, '04

Three alumni from UWM’s School of Architecture & Urban Planning are shaping the Milwaukee skyline. Matt Rinka ’97, principal of Rinka Chung Architecture, and his associates, Principal Chad Griswold ’00, ’03 and Associate Principal Steve Morales ’02, ’04 have put their mark on a number of Milwaukee-area landmarks, including The Moderne, Drexel Town Square in Oak Creek, and UWM’s Emile H. Mathis Gallery. Their current projects include the highly anticipated Milwaukee Bucks entertainment district, The Couture, and Lakefront Gateway Plaza.

To fill the firm’s workforce needs, Rinka Chung relies on UWM graduates, which make up a third of its team. “It is the first place we look to hire,” says Matt, a third-generation UWM alumnus. “UWM and SARUP’s work training new professionals is critical to the field of architecture.”

Their desire to prepare future professionals – for Rinka Chung and for Milwaukee in general – is one reason why these three decided to support Architecture & Urban Planning scholarships. “To help students become prepared as future professionals who can make a positive impact on our communities is one of Rinka Chung’s core objectives,” explains Matt. “By contributing to the school, we hope to help sustain the future of our profession as a whole and improve our communities through better design.”

In addition to making a gift on behalf of the firm, Matt approached Van Buren Management, a partner on multiple projects, to contribute to the scholarship as well. Van Buren President Joel Lee agreed, and the scholarship doubled. It will be awarded based on design excellence, demonstrated through a portfolio review, and academic achievement.

By supporting scholarships at the School of Architecture & Urban Planning, the two firms hope to attract and retain top students to UWM and continue the school’s outstanding reputation. It was this reputation that kept Rinka Chung’s Steve Morales at UWM for graduate school. “I met with one of the global experts of a prominent global architecture firm in Chicago who highly recommended SARUP instead of the two other prominent Midwest and East Coast graduate schools,” he recalls. “She was a firm believer that SARUP was a better option and had a broader outlook on the industry.” By supporting scholarships, Steve and his partners want to maintain this outstanding reputation that drew them to UWM.