Lillian Kuri, BS ’93, BARC ’94
From studying architecture to pursuing a career in the nonprofit sector, Lillian Kuri, BS ’93, BARC ’94, credits her experience and education at Kent State for her foundation as a dynamic leader.
Growing up on a farm in Portage County, Lillian came to understand how a physical space could impact people. Her home became a gathering place for the community and extended family visiting from Lebanon, where both her parents were born and raised. This sparked Lillian’s interest in architecture, which she pursued as a student at Kent State. She dove into the rigorous coursework and studio culture, honing her collaborative abilities and leadership skills. Then, during a field trip to Cleveland that explored the structural disparities within communities, Lillian realized what her professional path would be - addressing problems in society through the built environment. With her degree and the strength and reputation of Kent State’s architecture school behind her, she went to Harvard and earned a master’s degree in urban design. In 2005, Lillian came to the Cleveland Foundation as a consultant, and she never left. She has touched many aspects of the foundation, from city planning to fundraising, and now she’s leading the organization with the skills and tenacity she cultivated at Kent State. Get to know Lillian in her own words.
SU: What is your idea of perfect happiness?
LK: Spending time with my kids.
KSU: What is your favorite trait in others?
KSU: What trait about yourself do you like least?
LK: I can be impatient for change.
KSU: Who has had the greatest influence on your life?
LK: My mother.
KSU: What is your favorite Kent State memory?
LK: Working in the architecture studio with my teammates on projects.
KSU: What is your favorite journey?
LK: Traveling in cities without a set plan... wandering and stopping along the way.
KSU: What is your guilty pleasure?
KSU: What do you consider your greatest achievement?
LK: The relationship I have with my kids.
KSU: If you could come back as one person, who would it be and why?
LK: I am not sure I would want to do this.
KSU: What part of your college experience most formed who you are today?
LK: Critical thinking and discipline in the architecture program.