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The John J. Nelson Sr. Legacy Scholarship Fund was created to support and nurture African American interior design and architecture students while promoting diversity and access in education. Nelson is a known champion of design education, diversity, and unfettered access to education. This scholarship was established by Nelson in partnership with the IIDA Foundation in 2019.

Up to three recipients will be eligible to receive up to $10,000 each in scholarship funds that will be formally presented at the IIDA Annual Meeting. The scholarship fund is administered through the IIDA Foundation. The IIDA Foundation values Nelson’s history of advocating to increase diversity in design and architecture by championing students of all backgrounds.

"Furthering education and broadening opportunities for students of African America Descent is an important and personal commitment of mine. I am proud to partner with the IIDA Foundation to uplift and encourage the next generation of design and architecture professinoals through this annual scholarship"
-John J. Nelson Sr., IIDA


This scholarship award is open to undergraduate students of African American descent who are currently enrolled in a U.S. not-for-profit CIDA- or NASAD-accredited interior design or NAAB-accredited architecture program.


Students must submit a 3-to-5 minute video articulating how the power of design has already impacted their life, and how they will proactively leverage their career in design to positively impact their future clients and community.

Submissions are now open

2020 John J. Nelson Sr. Legacy Scholarship Fund Recipients

Jeremiah Brown, Student IIDA, of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lawson Dyson, Student IIDA, of the University of Kentucky
Serica Weaver, Student IIDA, of Savannah College of Art and Design

Learn more about our 2020 scholarship recipients and their submission videos here.