A scholarship awarded annually to an area Architecture student has been a fulfilling way in recent years for Frank Dittenhafer of Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects to help advance both the field and local communities. 

What’s more, each year it brings smiles, excitement and great pride for the recipient, Dittenhafer said. 

This year’s scholarship winner, Samuel Horochowski, shakes hands with Frank Dittenhafer.

This year’s scholarship winner, Samuel Horochowski, shakes hands with Frank Dittenhafer.

“This is a way for us to reward a young, talented person we feel can make a strong contribution,” he said. “The recognition means a lot to them, too, and they’re very grateful.” 

About the award 

The Central Pennsylvania Architects Foundation Fund Architecture Scholarship has been given for the past six years to one student from a 13-county area whose career objectives and design ideas point to future success in architecture.  

The $1,000 award is presented each fall to the winner, who’s selected by the current and past presidents of the American Institute of Architects’ local chapter. 

This year’s winner, Samuel Horochowski, met those AIA Presidents and other Central PA professionals and picked up his prize at the AIA’s annual Design Awards event in Lancaster at the Cork Factory Hotel on October 20th. 

Promoting Architecture 

Dittenhafer said the idea for the award arose more than 15 years ago, with his Central PA AIA chapter looking to do something to help promote the study of Architecture - and lend a hand to local students who showed dedication and aptitude. Anyone with a mailing address within the chapter’s 13 counties studying Architecture at any level would be eligible, no matter where they went to school. 

Students are asked to write a one-page letter in which they explain their interest in the field and their career goals. Also, they’re able to submit up to four pages of their design work for careful evaluation.  

“It gives us a really good feel for what they’re passionate about and where they are in their careers,” Dittenhafer said. “The level of work we’ve seen from the applicants is just terrific.” 

Submissions rising 

The AIA presidents have also seen the number of submissions grow over time, with more than a dozen entries last year.  

That, in turn, has provided a incentive for Dittenhafer and his peers to further develop the Architecture Scholarship project, and they hope within the next few years to double their efforts, and award $2,000 in annual scholarships if they can secure the necessary donations to build their fund. 

“We’ve gotten a really good response from the Central PA design and construction community, and we want to work to see the effort grow because of that,” Dittenhafer said. 

This year’s winner 

Dittenhafer and others met with this year’s winner, Samuel Horochowski, at the recent AIA Central PA Design Awards. The native of Greencastle, Franklin County, retold a little of his story: how after high school his grades got him into all the colleges where he applied; how his family didn’t have the necessary funds for him to attend college; and how he took a few years then, saving money while working in construction and with a local architecture firm. 

Samuel eventually applied to all of those schools again— and got into every one (again). This fall, he’s in his third year at Philadelphia University studying Architecture. 

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‘Excited about the future’ 

It’s a story by no means unique in these times, save perhaps for how one young man will continue his education – with a little help from a group of local Architects. Frank Dittenhafer and the others are glad to provide that financial aid he said, but are happy, too, to shake Samuel’s hand and offer their personal support for his work—both what they’ve seen, and what’s to come.  

In fact, Samuel asked if he can bring some Philadelphia University classmates to the AIA Design Awards, explaining to Dittenhafer recently that they’d all be eager to meet the group and share ideas. The more, the merrier, Dittenhafer told him. 

“This is a young man who’s a clear thinker, a great designer and is excited about the future,” he said. “We’re excited about it, too.”