Kimberly Nicole Dowdell ’06

Kimberly Nicole Dowdell

Cornell degree: BArch ’06 (AAP)

“Cornell University’s Board of Trustees is currently called upon to successfully navigate an evolving pandemic, while further positioning Cornell for a strong future as an institution distinguished by academic excellence, public impact, environmental stewardship, alumni engagement, and a sense of belonging where any person can study while truly feeling welcome.”

Professional experience:

  • HOK, Principal, 2008–2011; 2019–present
  • University of Michigan, lecturer, 2016–2019
  • Detroit Real Estate Development Venture, 2016–2019
  • City of Detroit, Executive Manager of Public/Private Partnerships, 2015–2016
  • Levien & Company, Real Estate Project Manager, 2011–2014
  • Ayers Saint Gross Architects, intern architect, 2006–2008
  • U.S. General Services Administration, intern, 2005–2006
  • McKissack & McKissack, intern, 2004

Alumni service:

  • Cornell University Council, member, 2014–2018, 2020–present
  • President’s Council of Cornell Women (PCCW), member, 2019–present; panelist, What does it mean to be a powerful Black working woman in America today?, 2021; speaker, PCCW Symposium, 2021
  • Cornell Alumni Admissions Ambassador Network, member, 2012–present
  • College of Architecture, Art, and Planning (AAP) Committee on Diversity, member, 2015–2021
  • Committee on Alumni Trustee Nominations, member, 2015–2019
  • Moderator, Lifelong Engagement with Cornell, Cornell Alumni Leadership Conference, 2018
  • AAP Advisory Council, member, 2010–2017
  • Cornell Black Alumni Association (CBAA), lifetime member
  • Cornell Future Architect Award (CFAA), Co-founder

Community/public service/philanthropic priorities:

  • Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (AKA)
  • American Institute of Architects (AIA)
  • Architect’s Foundation
  • Association of Real Estate Women, former board member
  • Chief Chicago, founding member
  • Chicago Architecture Biennial
  • Chicago Central Area Committee
  • Children’s Hospital of Michigan
  • Cranbrook Kingswood Alumni Association, lifetime member
  • Harvard Kennedy School Center for Public Leadership Alumni Council
  • HOK Impact, Co-founder
  • Ingenuity Chicago
  • Madame Architect National Council
  • National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA)
  • Social Economic Environmental Design (SEED), Co-founder
  • Trinity United Church of Christ Chicago

Other education:

  • Master of Public Administration, Urban Policy and Real Estate Development, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government, 2015

Student involvements/activities:

  • Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Mu Upsilon Chapter President
  • Dragon Day 2002
  • Multicultural Greek Letter Council
  • Minority Organization of Architecture, Art and Planning
  • Order of Omega
  • Sphinx Head Senior Honor Society

Additional information:

Kimberly Dowdell is an architect and frequent speaker on sustainability, diversity, and the future of cities. As the 2019–2020 national president of NOMA, she increased opportunities for women and people of color in architecture, and more than doubled the organization’s membership. Kimberly’s career aspirations are rooted in her Detroit upbringing, where she was inspired to utilize architecture as a tool for revitalization. Her professional experience spans from architecture to government and teaching to real estate development. Kimberly is a principal in the Chicago studio of HOK, a leading global design firm. Kimberly’s overarching mission is to improve people’s lives, by design.