John S. Chase Jr.

CFA Service: 1980–1985

John Saunders Chase Jr., FAIA, was the first African American graduate student at the University of Texas, that state’s first African American registered architect, and the first African American member of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts.  In 1950 Chase completed a bachelor of science in architectural engineering from Hampton Institute and enrolled in the master of architecture program at the University of Texas at Austin shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the state university system to desegregate its graduate and professional programs.  Chase completed his master’s degree in 1952 and soon after opened his own practice in Houston, which he led until retiring in 2006.  His work includes numerous churches, residences, schools, banks, major public buildings such as the George E. Brown Convention Center, and several buildings at Texas Southern University, where he also taught.  Chase was active in civic and cultural organizations and received many honors for his achievements including the University of Texas Distinguished Alumnus Award and the American Institute of Architects Whitney M. Young Citation.