Legacy Report


A Letter from the President

23rd March 2023

Dear Ely Chapter Members,

Black History Month has ended and Women’s History Month has started, and so, in this moment of
reflection, I am asking you to join me as we winnow and sift what it means to be a student and
practitioner in the field of land economics and its evolution therein. Our unique interdisciplinary
organization affords a rare opportunity to interrogate the relationship between policy and practice;
philosophy and profession. As the first LAI chapter, we can explore this relationship through historic,
present, and future lenses. For the past five years, the Board has put intention into using Diversity,
Equity and Inclusion (DEI) as a guiding principle for our decisions. A DEI Committee was founded in
2019. We learned, empirically, who we are with the 2021 Member Survey (summary attached). Now
we look to the future and how we can be of service to our respective professions and the region in
which we work.

I am providing a link to the Legacy Committee’s Report and encourage you to read it, give thought to its content
and deliberate with us. The intent of sharing the report is to create a shared understanding of our
chapter’s history and, specifically, Richard T. Ely’s work. What does it mean for the society, the chapter,
and for the members of the future to be in his shadow? How, through our programming and our work,
can we be good stewards of the built environment and live up to our oath to exemplify the ideals of
Lambda Alpha?

The board invites you to join us at a series of events, in different settings, to explore these topics:

  • Salon: An Equitable Path Forward, Wednesday, April 19th, 5:30 - 8:00p.m.
  • A Panel Discussion: Wednesday, July 19th, 12pm
  • A Virtual Members-only discussion forum: date and time TBD

I want to express my sincere thanks to the members of the ad hoc DEI committees, the Legacy
Committee, and my predecessors for their vision and passion, specifically Chapter Presidents Courtney
Kashima, Jennifer Tammen and Richard Wilson. Please do not hesitate to contact me. I welcome and
encourage your thoughts and feedback.

Yours sincerely,

Lynsey J. G. Sorrell, AIA, LEED AP, MLAI
Ely Chapter President 2022-2023


A Letter from the President

17th August 2023

Dear Ely Chapter Members,

Last month I had the pleasure of moderating a discussion with our very own Jewell Walton and Christine Williams. They both served on last year’s Legacy Committee; Jewell is our VP of Membership and Christine is a former Chapter President and serves as our society’s historian.

Christine set the stage with an overview of our chapter history, and a survey of Ely’s career and influence. She shared the common misconception that Ely founded our chapter, he did not, it was named after him by a group of land economics students at Northwestern University in 1930. We then discussed what equity means for us and where we should be applying our efforts. What should we be doing to keep our chapter vibrant; bring relevant programming to a wide audience; attract quality candidates; and serve our community and professions? Through a series of prompts we were able to gather live feedback.

Over the past five years, the Chapter Board has been engaged in intentional scrutiny of our practices around Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. This year we have invited the whole chapter to join us in this work through a series of events. In March, I released the Legacy Report which is posted on our website. In April, we gathered in small groups to unpack past land use policies and debate how our industry should grapple with this inheritance. The conversations were broad and expansive, but the conclusion was universal – we cannot stand idle. The luncheon last month was the third touchpoint and now we are offering those unable to attend the opportunity to join the conversation. Please use the provided Survey Link to answer the same prompts posed at the luncheon. We will meet virtually on 28th August at noon to reveal the survey results.

The board acknowledges that equity is a process, whilst we have specific outcomes we want to assert, we recognize that the work is ongoing, and this year is not an end point. The tangible step of changing the chapter name is an important one and should be taken. We are not alone in considering this, the American Economics Association which was actually founded by Ely and where he served as president, resolved to rename its distinguished Richard T Ely lecture. It is now the AEA Distinguished Lecture. What matters is what we do next, and how we continue to open doors and make connections. To that end, the Chapter Support Fund was launched this year. Through the generosity of our members, a financial resource is available to members via application on our website. This resource can be used to offset the costs of attending our events or maintaining membership.

I look forward to seeing you on 28th August when we will also vote on the 2023 slate of nominees and at the Initiation and Awards Banquet being held 18th October.

Yours sincerely,

Lynsey J. G. Sorrell, AIA, LEED AP, MLAI

Ely Chapter President 2022-2023

[email protected]


Legacy Committee

Chair- Richard Wilson

  • Brad Hunt
  • Zach Lowe
  • Lynsey Sorrell
  • Will Tippens
  • Jewell Walton
  • Christine Williams


January 2022 - Legacy Committee Ad Hoc Committee formed.
January 2023 - 12 month committee work completed, report delivered to the Board
March 2023 - President shared Legacy Committee Report with the membership via email, posted on Chapter website
June 2023 - Board voted on bylaws changes to allow for the option to change the Chapter name
July 2023 - Luncheon meeting organized to discuss the Legacy Report findings and answer questions, informal poll taken
August 2023 - Special Meeting of the Membership held via Zoom to make room for more discussion, survey conducted
August 2023 - Board voted to present new Chapter name to LAI International for consideration - LAI Chicago Region