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Don A. Swofford

At a Glance

Class Year: 1969

Award Year: 2018

Degree: Bachelor of Architecture

Profession: Architect


Don Swofford, who earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1970, is a widely acknowledged national leader in historic preservation and restoration. As the head of a firm that bears his name, Swofford restored three Virginia courthouses designed by Thomas Jefferson, the home of president James Monroe, and many additional structures of historic significance. “No one has done more to preserve the heritage left behind by the founding fathers of the U.S.,” said Ronald Skaggs ‘65, Chairman Emeritus of HKS Architects and a Outstanding Alumnus of the College of Architecture. After earning his degree at Texas A&M, Swofford quickly became a historic preservation pioneer. As a young member of the city of Dallas’ Urban Design Division, Swofford authored a historic landmark program and oversaw the establishment of Swiss Avenue, an east Dallas neighborhood founded in the early 20th century, as one of the nation’s premier historic districts. He also compelled policymakers to preserve The Texas School Book Depository, which a federal commission identified as the structure from which Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated president John F. Kennedy. Swofford then performed restorations of National Historic Landmark structures throughout Virginia as an architect in a firm led by Milton L. Grigg, a member of the prestigious American Institute of Architects’ College of Fellows. Later, as the head of his own firm, Swofford continued to preserve major, historic buildings such as the home of statesman and soldier Gen. George C. Marshall, and the Virginia location where Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant to end the Civil War. He also designs new courthouses and residences that reference classic U.S. building styles. A member of the American Institute of Architects, he was elevated to its prestigious College of Fellows in 2000. Swofford also advances sound practice in historic preservation and interpretation of the nation’s rich cultural heritage as a founding and sustaining professional fellow at Texas A&M’s Center for Heritage Conservation.