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updated: 9/13/2017 4:38 PM

Judson architecture program marks 20 years with symposium

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Judson University in Elgin will mark the 20th anniversary of its noted architecture program with a symposium Friday and Saturday.

The annual James Didier Symposium on Christ and Architecture begins with a special gallery opening of alumni architectural projects from 3 to 5 p.m. Friday in the Harm A. Weber Academic Center, 1151 N. State St.

A series of panel discussions and presentations is 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday in Judson's Herrick Chapel. The events are free and open to the public.

The symposium theme is "Looking back to look forward." Featured speakers include former Judson presidents James Didier and Jerry Cain, former Judson professor Del Rey Loven, who envisioned Judson's architecture program, previous chairs of the department of architecture, and former and current professors, advisory council members, alumni and students.

It was under Didier, Judson's fourth president and the symposium's namesake, that the architecture program was founded. The 20th anniversary will bring together the founders and alumni who serve in various capacities as architects and educators.

The celebration also is expected to draw theologians and students who will contribute to special essays and discussions about architecture and a Christian worldview.

Architecture is among the popular majors at the Christian liberal arts university -- ranked No. 75 on U.S. News & World Report's 2018 edition of Best Colleges in Regional Universities in the Midwest. Judson's architecture program ranks No. 116 -- out of 508 -- in the United States and among the top five in Illinois, according to

It takes an innovative approach offering a one year preceptorship (internship) and incorporating environmental stewardship in its design philosophy. The school is housed in the Harm A. Weber Academic Center, a state-of-the-art building with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification. Its graduates have gone on to work with international ministry organizations -- Missionary TECH teams and Engineering Ministries International -- and prominent architectural firms nationwide.

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