University of Arkansas alumni, Fort Smith architect dies of COVID-19

River Valley News

FORT SMITH, (KNWA/KFTA) — A University of Arkansas alumni and Fort Smith architect whose recent work involves contributions to the university and the cities of Fort Smith and Van Buren has died of COVID-19.

According to a news letter from the University of Arkansas’ Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design. Michael Lejong, a member of the university’s class of 1996, died July 19. He was 49.

The newsletter said Lejong was with the Fort Smith-based practice, MAHG Architecture, where he ascended to the roles of principal-in-charge of construction and chief financial officer.

The newsletter says Lejong’s recent work with the architecture firm includes the Windgate Studio and Design Center at the University of Arkansas, renovations for Fort Smith’s Northside High School, The Future School of Fort Smith, and the Van Buren Center of Arts Education expansion in downtown Van Buren.

Lejong graduated from Greenwood High School in 1990, and soon entered the university’s Fay Jones School, according to the newsletter. He was among the first students to participate in the work of the University of Arkansas Community Design Center.

According to the newsletter Lejong was chosen to speak at the American Institute of Architects Committee on the Environment as well as host an open forum for the AIA Small Firm Exchange.

Lejong was also chosen to join the AIA National Leadership Academy, according to the newsletter.

The newsletter says Lejong was honored with the Dick Savage Memorial Award by the Arkansas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Lejong was also elected president of the Arkansas State Board of Architects, Landscape Architects and Interior Designers.

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