MEET THE HONOREES | Outstanding Mentor of the Year


Lawrence Merighi, MMPF Architects

Lawrence Merighi has been dedicated to the ACE Mentor Program of Greater Philadelphia from its beginning in 2004.  He spearheaded the formation of the ACE Cumberland Team and adopted a unique approach in both its student outreach and programming.

Rather than starting with students from one high school, the Cumberland Team sought out students from various area high schools who would represent different social, economic, and cultural backgrounds. The team holds meetings at a local community college rather than a firm’s office or high school, and for many years the students’ final projects were campus-based. These projects included the expansion of an existing academic building, a new library, and housing for visiting professors. Having the ACE team meetings on the site of their final projects, working with the campus master plan, and having access to the college staff as the ‘client’ made the students’ projects more meaningful for them.

In addition, the ACE students worked on several urban redevelopment projects in Millville, NJ, at the request of the local planning department and a community development organization. These ACE projects, including the redevelopment of a residential block for mixed-use housing and the adaptive reuse of a historic bank located in the downtown arts district, were used by the municipality to secure both public and private financing for these projects.

Experience with ACE

Mentoring over 240 students from eight area high schools over the past 19 years has been extremely rewarding for the Cumberland Team mentors who represent a cross section of ACE professions.  As ACE mentors, we always welcome student input in the development of the programs for their final design projects and truly enjoy assisting them in their personal explorations of design and construction.  Allowing the students to be a part of the decision-making process, providing opportunities for hand-on experiences, and being flexible in our ACE meeting formats has been a successful formula for the Cumberland Team.  Other highlights of the Cumberland Team are having former ACE students not only come back to present at our ACE meetings about their college experiences, but also becoming ACE mentors themselves once they graduate from college.  Our ACE mentor firms have provided both summer internships and full-time employment for many ACE students over the years. ACE works.

About Lawrence Merighi

Larry has over 40 years of experience in the conception, planning, design, and execution of architectural projects with an emphasis on the programmatic needs of clients. Areas of expertise include needs assessments, facilities planning, program development, and design direction/oversight. Mr. Merighi has been engaged in projects ranging in scale and scope from governmental facilities and commercial buildings to a wide array of educational facilities as Principal Architect. His focus in recent years has been the development of educational facilities with an emphasis on the planning, preparation, and submission of NJDOE Long Range Facilities Plans based on analysis and assessment of educational models. Mr. Merighi has been the Principal Architect on more than 75 projects for numerous school districts and private educational clients in southern New Jersey.

Melissa Raffel
Author: Melissa Raffel