At Philly U, Building Amber Long’s Legacy

January 19, 2015 | by Nathaniel Popkin


Amber Long discussing her thesis project | Photo: Philadelphia University

Amber Long discussing her thesis project | Photo: Philadelphia University

One of Amber Long’s goals, says her thesis advisor at the College of Architecture and the Built Environment at Philadelphia University, Susan Frosten, “was to become a LEED certified, registered architect in Philadelphia, the city that she adored.” Amber, who graduated with a B.S. in Architecture in 2011, didn’t get there. She was murdered on January 19, 2014, one year ago, while walking in the Northern Liberties with her mother.

Now, university officials have announced they’ve completed the first phase of fundraising for the Amber Long ’11 Endowed Scholarship for architecture students. An initial $25,000 has been raised; you can contribute to the fund, which will endow the College’s first scholarship HERE.

Amber was particularly interested in sustainability. In 2009, she was a member of the Philadelphia University team of students who won the grand prize for overall excellence at the Delaware Valley Green Building Council student design competition. Her thesis looked at sustainability, the economics of real estate development, and consumer interests related to speculatively-built housing, says Frosten.

Sketch by Amber Long | Image: Philadelphia University

Sketch by Amber Long | Image: Philadelphia University

Philadelphia University’s five year undergraduate architecture program, which I had the good pleasure to work with as the university’s writer-in-residence during Amber’s time on campus, is unique in its simultaneous immersion in theory, sustainability, and urbanism.

“In addition to her focus on her own studies,” says Frosten, “Amber was engaged and genuinely interested in her classmates’ work and well-being. She was talented, passionate, generous of spirit and viewed architecture as a way to make a positive impact on the world.” That spirit carries on through this scholarship program.

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To make a gift to the Amber Long ’11 Endowed Scholarship fund, readers can visit, call the Office of Development and Alumni Relations at 215-951-5353, or mail a check payable to Philadelphia University to the Office of Development and Alumni Relations, c/o Philadelphia University, 4201 Henry Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19144.


About the Author

Nathaniel Popkin Hidden City Daily co-founder Nathaniel Popkin’s latest book is To Reach the Spring: From Complicity to Consciousness in the Age of Eco-Crisis.

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