Pasadena ISD Honors Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Calvin Powitzky, Jr.
Posted on 04/14/2014
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Hundreds of family, friends and local dignitaries took a stroll down memory lane Thursday night as the Pasadena ISD Board of Trustees officially honored Calvin Powitzky, Jr., the founder of PBK Architects, Co-Founder of Bay-IBI Group Architects and Pasadena High School 1964 graduate, as the district’s 2014 Distinguished Alumnus.

“I’ve known Calvin for about 50 years,” said Frank Braden, a former member of the Pasadena ISD Board of Trustees. “Calvin was in the ninth grade when I started teaching in Pasadena. I wasn’t a football coach at the time but the school was trying to make me into one at San Jacinto Junior High. Some of the coaches took me over to Jackson, where Calvin was working out and I remember how outstanding he was. Calvin is still that wonderful fellow he was 50 years ago.”

Powitzky attended Kruse Elementary and Jackson Junior High before enrolling at Pasadena High School. He graduated in the top three percent of his class and was named senior class president, Mr. PHS and he was an All-District choir member. He dominated the gridiron with the Mighty Eagles earning him special recognition as an All-State football star and the District’s Most Valuable Player.

He continued his education at Rice University, where he played college football. Before his 26th birthday, Powitzky earned two degrees from Rice and captured an internship at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in San Francisco. He was also awarded Fifth Place in a Global Design Competition for the United Nations Center in Vienna, Austria.

“This is very humbling and much appreciated,” Powitzky said. “This is like walking down a path and seeing a turtle on the post. The first thing you think of is how it got there and he didn’t get there by himself. I want to thank you all for helping me get to where I am today.”

Powitzky was accompanied by his family, including his high school sweetheart and wife of 48 years, Patricia.

“He’s such a good man and he genuinely loves Pasadena,” she said. “He’s the best man I’ve ever known and he’s always been my role model,” their son, Eric added.  

Powitzky’s name is synonymous with humanitarian efforts and globally award-winning architectural designs of nearly 50 building projects throughout Pasadena ISD and over 600 educational, commercial and religious facilities throughout Texas and Louisiana.

Throughout his career, he has worked with district leaders and community members to build 18 new campuses including Dobie, Pasadena Memorial and the new Career and Technical High School. He and his design firm were also involved in the renovation of 28 campuses including his own alma mater Pasadena High.

“Calvin could have chosen anywhere to be an architect and he chose to return home and do it here,” Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Kirk Lewis said. “To come back to your hometown and do the kind of work that is needed to take care of the community and kids throughout the course of a lifetime says a lot about the character of a man.”

Powitzky is one of the founding donors of the Pasadena ISD Education Foundation, where he helps students and teachers achieve success through the Annual Prize Parade.

He has served as Director and member of the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, Salvation Army, Bridge Over Troubled Waters, Pasadena Rotary and South Main Baptist Church where he serves as a Deacon.

A bronze commemorative plaque, to be placed on permanent display outside the district's Administration Building, will go up this summer in his honor.

“In all my years of knowing Calvin, he has been a loyal servant to our community and our schools,” Pasadena ISD Board of Trustees president, Jack Bailey said. “We are delighted to have the privilege of honoring him as our distinguished alumnus.”

PREVIOUS DISTINGUISHED ALUMNUS AWARD RECIPIENTS
  2013 -- Dr. John Morgan, Pasadena High, 1959
  2012 -- Frank Young, Pasadena High, 1958
  2011 -- Dr. Mike McKinney, Sam Rayburn, 1969
  2010 -- Rick Schriever, Sam Rayburn, 1973                  
  2009 -- Dr. Byron Tapley, Pasadena High, 1951
  2008 -- James R. Smith, South Houston, 1960                                                            
  2007 -- Dr. Carlton Horbelt, Pasadena High, 1973
  2006 -- Dr. Mary Campbell-Fox, Dobie, 1976
  2005 -- J. Michael Solar, Sam Rayburn, 1971
  2004 -- Dr. Paul Zanowiak, South Houston, 1965
  2003 -- Martin Cominsky, Pasadena High, 1976
  2002 -- Dr. Bill Allen, Pasadena High, 1951
  2001 -- Bill Shock, Pasadena High, 1954
  2000 -- Ben Meador, Pasadena High, 1957
  1999 -- Bill McMillin, Pasadena High, 1958
  1998 -- Robert Smith, Pasadena High, 1971
  1997 -- Larry Forehand, Pasadena High, 1962
  1996 -- Jonah Boyd, Pasadena High, 1955