Acuity Brands places great importance on supporting lighting education in our company, our industry, and in the academic community. For decades, Acuity Brands and our agencies have supported education scholarships in university lighting programs through the Besal Lighting Education Fund, a non-profit endowed fund established in 1983 to honor the leadership of the late Robert J. Besal who served as a Vice President for Lithonia Lighting, now a part of Acuity Brands Lighting and Controls.
Another education tradition that has continued for over ten years is Acuity Brands’ sponsorship of Academic Awards for the outstanding performance of 5th year Architectural Engineering students at Penn State University. Every spring, these awards are presented at the annual Architectural Engineering Banquet that celebrates the completion of 5th year students’ thesis capstone projects. For the first time in three years, this event was held in person and Dave Ranieri, Vice President Architectural Brand Marketing for Acuity Brands Lighting and Controls, presented these awards.
The first award was presented to Abby Turkowski for the 2022 Outstanding 5-Year Performance in Lighting/Electrical – Sponsored by Peerless Lighting (now a part of Acuity Brands Lighting and Controls).
This award celebrates the history of Peerless Lighting’s collaboration with the Penn State Architectural Engineering team on research dating back to the 1980s that examined the perceptual effects of suspended linear lighting systems in work environments. Known as “The Penn State Study,” this work was widely acclaimed in the lighting industry and impacted the design of suspended linear lighting for decades to come.
The second award was presented to Kyra Flood for the 2022 1st Place Lighting/Electrical Thesis – Sponsored by Acuity Brands Lighting and Controls in Memory of Mickey Woods.
Additionally, Flood received the top award for the top overall thesis for her graduating class. The sponsored award commemorates Acuity Brands longstanding commitment to lighting education and is named in memory of Mickey Woods, an executive at Lithonia Lighting known for his energy, enthusiasm, and intellectual curiosity of all aspects of lighting. Among his many contributions, Woods was instrumental in the formation of the Besal Lighting Education Fund and started the Acuity Brands Leadership Program that has trained so many future company leaders and agency principals. He was a mentor, leader, and visionary who significantly impacted not only Acuity Brands, but the entire lighting industry.
Both Turkowski and Flood have accepted positions with design firms and will be future specifiers of lighting and controls products. Acuity Brands has a long history and exceptional reputation of supporting lighting education that will carry on for decades to come.
**Photo Credit: Kelby Hochreither, Penn State College of Engineering