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NewSchool of Architecture and Design Faculty Member to Receive Crystal Globe Award

Lambda Alpha International San Diego chapter recognizes Michael Stepner


NewSchool of Architecture and Design Faculty Member to Receive Crystal Globe Award

Michael Stepner, faculty member of NewSchool of Architecture and Design, is receiving the Crystal Globe Award from the San Diego Chapter of Lambda Alpha International (LAI), an honorary society for the advancement of land economics. Stepner is being recognized for his more than 30 years of leading, managing and participating in comprehensive planning programs and the development of public policy in San Diego, and for his role as an educator. The award will be formally presented to Stepner at the LAI Installation Dinner and Crystal Globe Award event Feb. 7.

“Michael Stepner is considered the backbone of planning and design for the San Diego we know today,” said Paul Marra, president of the LAI-SD board. “We are pleased to be presenting him with the Crystal Globe for his contributions to San Diego as well as to the next generation of architects, designers and planners through his work at the NewSchool of Architecture and Design.”

Stepner has taught at NSAD since the mid-1980s, and he served as dean from 1998 to 2001. Now a full-time faculty member at NSAD, Stepner currently oversees an urban-focused design studio for fourth-year undergraduate architecture students. Previous student projects include developing conceptual plans for several significant San Diego sites—Qualcomm Stadium, Westfield UTC Mall, Golden Hill and the Chollas Creek area of Southeastern San Diego. During the studio process, students present their projects to representatives of the communities and areas they are studying to obtain additional feedback. In 2012, Stepner spent a term at NSAD’s sister school, the Universidad Europea de Madrid, studying and teaching urban design.

Stepner brings to the classroom an award-winning professional background and deep knowledge of the San Diego community. He served as San Diego City Architect from 1988 to 1992, and later for the San Diego Economic Development Corporation as director of planning and housing. His professional recognitions include the Thurgood Marshall Award for Community Leadership from the San Diego Urban Corps, Distinguished Leadership Award for Excellence in Government from the California Chapter of the American Planning Association, and the Community Planning Design Award from the AIA-San Diego Chapter. He is also a fellow of the American Institute of Architects and a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners.

The Crystal Globe Award recognizes regional contributions in land use, real estate, development, economics or education. Members of Lambda Alpha International represent a diverse group of professional disciplines in fields related to the ownership and use of land and buildings. Membership includes architects, engineers, real estate developers, planners, government officials, professors, bankers, attorneys, and real estate consultants. Membership is through invitation only based on professional distinction and contributions to the community. Four NSAD faculty and staff members are members, and a fifth will be inducted at the Feb. 7 event.

For additional information on the LAI Installation Dinner and Crystal Globe Award event, please contact the LAI San Diego chapter at