The Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design at the University of Arkansas recently honored the school’s first African American graduate, Wallace “Wali” Caradine Jr. The university has named the east entrance of Vol Walker Hall the Wallace Reed Caradine Memorial Entry.
Caradine, who was born in 1949 and raised in West Memphis, came to the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville to study architecture. As the fourth of seven children and the eldest boy, he was the only one in his family to attend college. He graduated in 1974 with a bachelor of architecture degree. After additional training at the Construction Management Institute in Dallas, he began his career as a designer at Pat Kelley Magruder Architects in West Memphis. He later founded Design and Construction Associates in 1978, which became one of the largest minority-owned contracting firms in Arkansas.
Caradine later formed an architectural firm. Its notable projects included two academic centers for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and the Statehouse Convention Center Expansion in Little Rock. The firm served as associate architects for the William J. Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock.
“Wali Caradine’s legacy exemplifies the value of openness, accessibility, and courage to us all, but perhaps most especially to all of our students,” said Peter MacKeith, dean of the Fay Jones School. “Architecture and design both reflect and shape our society and our culture. It is therefore necessary for architecture and design education to be open, accessible, and diverse in its participants and in its approaches, which also brings immeasurable creative benefits. To name a portal of the Fay Jones School in honor of Wali Caradine is to tangibly embody that openness, that accessibility, and that diversity so necessary for a successful design education.”
Caradine passed away July 10, 2017, in Little Rock, at age 68.