Polished, thoughtfully structured and professional, University of Cincinnati second-year architecture student Evan Sale is exactly the kind of student UC’s University Honors Program was made for.
His clothing — a sharp collar poking from a blue sweater — complements his reputation as an impressive young man with a promising future.
“His maturity, intellectual curiosity and ability to draw connections across disciplines is excellent,” said Erin Alanson, assistant director of the University Honors Program and Sale’s honors adviser.
The University Honors Program includes students across all undergraduate colleges who represent the top seven percent of undergraduate students. These academically advanced students are challenged through seminars and unique, experiential learning.
During the holiday break, Sale and 17 other students traveled to the United Kingdom and France as part of the honors seminar “A Global History of World War II: Ideology, Culture, Politics,” led by Jeffrey Zalar, history professor at UC.
Zalar said this course was particularly challenging, even for honors students, and Sale was up to the challenge.
“Sale is one of the most gifted students I have taught,” Zalar said. “He possesses refined abilities in both spatial awareness … and analytical acuity.”
The seminar, which met weekly during Fall semester, examined World War II from a global perspective and, as Sale said, put the war into a more human context. For him, the most memorable classroom discussions focused on the impact WWII had on civilians.
“I thought that it kind of told a different story of the war than I had heard before, or that I guess Americans usually hear,” Sale said.
From Dec. 13 to 20, Sale and his classmates traveled throughout London and Normandy visiting museums and historical locations. The Holocaust exhibit at the Imperial War Museum in London was one of the more unforgettable experiences for Sale.
“It made everything more tangible,” Sale said. “It kind of took away some of the protection I guess that we sometimes get when we think that an event happened so long ago that it was totally outside of our experience, and that we’re kind of shielded by time. That exhibit was probably where I saw most of the suffering of civilians.”
Visiting Omaha Beach and the American Cemetery in Normandy, where the remains of more 9,000 Americans who died in WWII are buried, was an emotional experience for everyone and one that made an impact.
“Maybe it’s a little cliché, but I don’t take as much about my life for granted as I did before,” he said. “I guess I have a little better perspective on the enormous suffering that a lot of people who really, I mean, who really didn’t deserve any of it, were subjected to.”
With all the talk about war, it’s easy to forget that Sale is still a college student traveling the world.
On one of the free days, he and about a dozen other students went to Paris.
Sale plans on getting a minor in history — his other longtime passion, second to architecture.
From his office at HBRA Architects, an architecture firm in Chicago where Evan is interning for the semester, he talks about his passion for architecture and how it all began in a middle school tech class.
“Part of it was like shop, but then we also built a big model neighborhood and everybody had a lot that they could put a house on that we did kind of basic floor plans and drawings of,” Sale said. “So I guess that was the first time I really got into it.”
Originally from Springfield, Ill., Sale decided to enroll at UC because of the architecture program at the College of Design, Art, Architecture, and Planning. The co-op program peeked his interest in DAAP, which will require him to complete three internships before graduation.
“I enjoy it a lot. It forces you to adapt to different ways of thinking very quickly,” Sale said. “You kind of have to be a jack of all trades.”
An architectural history class taught by Gerald Larson, a professor at the School of Architecture and Interior Design, is one of Sale’s favorite and most influential experiences so far. That class, along with his studies and travels with Zalar, has shaped his architectural philosophy.
“One way that I kind of think of it is, in the buildings I hope to create one day, just doing whatever I can to affirm the value of every person that inhabits the space; to be as humane as possible, because architecture, it can be used to improve people’s lives and it can be used for oppression too,” Sale said. “[For example] the Third Reich had kind of developed its own architecture of empire to reinforce authority and kind of establish its own values. So it makes me critical about the kind of designs that we make, the buildings we build and questioning what kind of statements they make about our beliefs.”
In order to get his architecture license, Sale plans to get a master’s degree in architecture. Whether or not he’ll stay at UC for graduate school, he hasn’t decided. For now, Sale is focused on his internship at HBRA and the upcoming Summer semester. For those that know him, there is little doubt that Sale will succeed.
“He is one of those individuals capable of producing the ‘next great thing,’” Zalar said.
Maybe one day students will walk through a set of glass doors — modernistic and authoritative in design like University Pavilion — Sale’s favorite building on campus — and into his next great thing.