President's Annual Report 2006
Making a Difference at Home

Making a Difference at Home

After completing a successful internship with a cutting-edge firm in Santa Monica, California, 2006 Ball State architecture graduate Zachary Benedict earned a job offer that would inspire many students to wave goodbye to Indiana and catch that silver bird for the coast. But Benedict, who grew up near Fort Wayne, is firmly grounded in Indiana.

His participation in a number of community-based projects—a national award-winning initiative led by the College of Architecture and Planning—strengthened his bond with the state.

One memorable project, in which Benedict conducted diagnostic tests on a building prototype for Goshen College, connected him with the Fort Wayne architectural firm that would eventually woo him away from the position in California. "What swayed my decision was that I wanted my work to have impact," says Benedict. "If I can make a difference in my home state, in a somewhat more challenging environment, the rewards will be much greater."

Today, Benedict thoroughly enjoys working for Morrison Kattman Menze, Inc. His true passion is advocating the community-based project lifestyle. With fellow Ball State graduate Andrew Mitchell, Benedict launched the Web site, www.ab417.org. The site, whose moniker comes from the architecture classroom where he spent countless hours studying, has spurred essential critical public input for many Fort Wayne projects.

"When people share meaningful dialogue regarding the future of their city, that's when you have a true community," Benedict says. One memorable project, in which Benedict conducted diagnostic tests on a building prototype for Goshen College, connected him with the Fort Wayne architectural firm that would eventually woo him away from the position in California. "What swayed my decision was that I wanted my work to have impact," says Benedict. "If I can make a difference in my home state, in a somewhat more challenging environment, the rewards will be much greater."