News & Press: ACSP Annual Conference News

A Closer Look with Award Winner June Thomas

Monday, January 9, 2017  
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ACSP Jay Chatterjee Distinguished Service Award

June M. Thomas, University of Michigan

The winner selected by the 2016 Committee is June Manning Thomas. She is a Ph.D., FAICP, and Centennial Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. She was named the Mary Frances Berry Distinguished University Professor, effective September 1, 2016.

In 2003 she was inducted as a Fellow in the American Institute of Certified Planners. She was President of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (2013-15), and now serves as Immediate Past President (2015-16).

Just one of the nomination letters submitted on June's behalf declares, "She has an impeccable reputation as a thoughtful researcher and an authority on urban revitalization of distressed cities both within the academy and in the urban planning profession at large. June cares fiercely about matters of social justice and the rights of the underrepresented classes in everything she does." This nomination continues and addresses in great detail June's journey with ACSP.

June's Impact on ACSP
June has been an integral player at ACSP for over three decades. A founding member of the Faculty Women Interest Group (FWIG), and the Planners of Color Interest Group (POCIG), June has been a champion for women across academic ranks and a mentor for junior faculty and people of color. She is truly respected and loved by her peers. She has served on Planning Accreditation Board (PAB) site visits and guided many member schools in their accreditation processes. She has participated with numerous awards committees and special interest groups. Her consistent work with ACSP resulted in her nomination to be President of the organization.

In 2013, June Thomas was appointed President of ACSP. True to her life’s passion, her overarching vision for the organization was Connections!

  1. Connections among planning schools and faculty.
  2. Connections with diverse people, particularly historic racial and ethnic minorities, but also women, in the community, profession, and academy.
  3. Connections among the planning academy, the profession, and the public.

The organization, under June’s leadership made progress on all fronts. Of significant note are:

  • Continued support for pre-doctoral workshop for underrepresented minorities, and a summer workshop in support of junior faculty of color.
  • Support leadership and programming of FWIG, POCIG and GPEIG.
  • Leadership of the ACSP Committee on Diversity
  • Initiatives with APA as collaborator that includes data sharing, preparing for the job market planning, and marketing.

Closing remarks of one of June's nomination letters include, "June Thomas is a warm, compassionate and caring person. She is greatly respected by faculty and colleagues for her commitment to change and creating a better environment for all people. Promoting diversity and social justice are not just occasional endeavors for June, they are her passion and life-long dedication. She has touched so many lives, been a mentor for so many young academics and professionals, moved the organization forward on tough issues and continues to keep the spotlight on inclusion and diversity for ACSP. She is truly deserving of the Jay Chaterjee Award."

ACSP recently connected with June to find out more about this accomplishment.

How did you feel when you won the award?
I felt very humbled as I looked at the list of previous winners and realized how special it was to be included in the list. One particularly special person, first award winner Carl Goldschmidt, hired me in my first planning faculty job, and played an important part in the early years of ACSP.

Who do you want to thank, if any?
I'd like to thank all my collegues, especially those at University of Michigan and my former home at Michigan State University, as well as the series of colleagues who have struggled mightily to form and maintain POCIG. Among ACSP leadership, nothing would have been possible without the support of immediate predecessor and fellow officers and staff. Specifically, past president Chuck Connerly offered an invitation to serve that I could not refuse, and then mentored and supported me throughout several years.

What inspired you about this project?
Inspiration came from the desire to help create an association characterized by increased diversity and connectivity.

What's next?
It's been wonderful to get back to some writing projects after years of service, although I continue to serve ACSP in more modest ways!

June's Bio
June Manning Thomas, Ph.D., FAICP, is Mary Frances Berry Distinguished University Professor of Urban and Regional Planning, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, at the University of Michigan, US. Her research interests include planning history and social equity in redevelopment. Her several books include Redevelopment and Race: Planning a Finer City in Postwar Detroit (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997, second edition Wayne State University Press, 2013), and the co-edited Mapping Detroit: Evolving Land Use Patterns and Connections (Wayne State University Press, 2015). Read More

About ACSP Awards
Each year ACSP is proud to honor faculty and students who have distinguished themselves or made major contributions to the academy or to the profession via outreach efforts, public service or for service to ACSP, the Academy, or the profession. A complete listing and history for all awards can be found at

This award is presented in even numbered years and recognizes an individual faculty whose exceptional service, actions and leadership have had a lasting and positive impact on ACSP and its member schools.


The Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning promotes education, research, service and outreach in the United States and throughout the world by seeking to:

  • recognize diverse needs and interests in planning;
  • improve and enhance the accreditation process, and;
  • strengthen the role of planning education in colleges and universities through publications, conferences, and community engagement;
  • extend planning beyond the classroom into the world of practice.