CEO of Optima Inc., David Hovey Sr. to Receive Honorary Doctor of Architecture from Illinois Institute of Technology

With his unique perspective on architecture and holistic approach to development, alumnus and former faculty member Hovey redefines industry standards through innovative design and sustainability


David Hovey Sr Honorary Doctor of Architecture awardee sitting in front of artwork

CHICAGO—May 11, 2024—Illinois Institute of Technology will award David Hovey Sr. (ARCH ’67, M.S. ’71), an esteemed alumnus and pioneering architect and developer, an Honorary Doctor of Architecture, honoris causa. Internationally known as an architect who controls all aspects of a project from financing through design and construction, Hovey’s unique model of development has led to award-winning buildings and exceptional living experiences for thousands of residents.

“As a graduate and former faculty member of Illinois Institute of Technology, receiving this Honorary Doctor of Architecture is a profound honor,” said Hovey. “My work and the architectural education at Illinois Institute of Technology are aligned on innovative design and a comprehensive understanding of how people live, and this honor affirms the importance of integrating architectural creativity with functional sustainability in our communities.”

Hovey is the founder of Optima Inc., a real estate development firm renowned for its integrated approach combining architecture, real estate, and cutting-edge design. Optima’s projects, which span more than 6,000 residential units in Chicago, Phoenix, and Scottsdale, Arizona, have garnered multiple awards for architectural excellence, planning, and green design. Recently, his Optima Chicago Center I/II received the Outstanding Property Award for Architectural Design.

“David Hovey Sr.’s visionary leadership and commitment to integrating architecture with sustainable business practices have made a profound impact on urban development,” said Illinois Institute of Technology President Raj Echambadi. “His innovations exemplify  Illinois Tech’s noble mission to advance technology and progress for a better world.”

In addition to his professional accomplishments, Hovey has significantly contributed to the university community. As a faculty member of the College of Architecture, Hovey helped develop the architecture curriculum and has mentored countless students through teaching and internships. His generous donations have supported the renovation of the iconic S. R. Crown Hall.

“David’s work transforms skylines and elevates the human spirit," said Reed Kroloff, dean of the College of Architecture. “But in addition to being a gifted designer, he is also an extraordinary teacher, influencing generations of IIT grads, and by extension, the cities where they work.”

Hovey’s degree will be conferred during Illinois Institute of Technology’s 155th Commencement ceremony on May 11, 2024 at Credit Union 1 Arena.

Photo: David Hovey Sr.

Illinois Institute of Technology

Based in the global metropolis of Chicago, Illinois Tech was born to liberate the power of collective difference to advance technology and innovation for all. It is the only tech-focused university in the city, and it stands at the crossroads of exploration and invention, advancing the future of Chicago and the world. It offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineeringcomputingarchitecturebusinessdesignscience and human sciences, and law. Illinois Tech students are guaranteed access to hands-on experiences, personalized mentorship, and job readiness through the university's one-of-a-kind Elevate program. Its graduates lead the state and much of the nation in economic prosperity. Its faculty and alumni built the Chicago skyline. And every day in the city's living lab, Illinois Tech fuels breakthroughs that change lives. Visit

College of Architecture

The College of Architecture at Illinois Institute of Technology builds on a legacy of disciplined experimentation in materials and technologies to educate and inspire the next generation of architects and landscape architects. From its landmark campus and home at S. R. Crown Hall, IIT Architecture champions an interdisciplinary approach to education and research that is simultaneously local and global in its impact. IIT Architecture students are educated to address complex, contemporary challenges of designing and constructing across all scales. Both faculty and students enjoy a longstanding relationship with professional practice in Chicago, a city with a vibrant history of innovation in architecture, design, landscape architecture, and urbanism. Visit

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Illinois Institute of Technology
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Illinois Institute of Technology
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