Gertrude Lempp Kerbis
Inducted in 2023
Gertrude Lempp Kerbis earned a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies from the Illinois School of Architecture in 1948. She did graduate work at Harvard University from 1949–50 and received a Master of Architecture and Urban Planning degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1954. She worked in the Chicago offices of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and then for C.F. Murphy Associates, before establishing her own firm, Lempp Kerbis, in 1967. Notable built projects include Mitchell Hall at the U.S. Air Force Academy and the Rotunda Building at O’Hare International Airport. During her years of practice, Gertrude was a lecturer at the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle, lecturer-at-large at Ball State University and the Art Institute of Chicago, lecturer-in-the-field for Washington University in St. Louis, and an associate professor at William Rainey Harper College. Gertrude was a pioneer in working for equal status for women in the field of architecture. In 1970, she was the 11th woman elected to American Institute of Architects College of Fellows. She founded Chicago Women in Architecture (CWA) in 1974 and was the first female president of the Chicago Cliff Dwellers Club. She served as director of the Chicago chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) from 1970–74, and became the first female president of Chicago AIA in 1980. In 2008, she was honored with Chicago AIA’s lifetime achievement award. The Gertrude Lempp Kerbis Endowed Chair and an endowed student scholarship were established through generous gifts that she made to the Illinois School of Architecture.