At 100, architect Madison looks back

Chapter Q of P.E.O. International will present “An afternoon with Robert Madison and Leon Bibb” on Saturday, Nov. 11 (Veterans Day), 2 p.m., at Forest Hill Presbyterian Church. The program is free.

Madison and Bibb, who are veterans, authors and friends, will discuss Designing Victory, A Memoir, written by Madison, a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, with Carlo Wolff.

The memoir captures a century of Madison’s personal stories, revealing American culture and his struggles to overcome racism while developing iconic structures in Cleveland and around the world. Madison recently celebrated his 100th birthday.

Born in Cleveland in 1923, Madison studied architecture at Howard University before serving in World War II. When he returned to civilian life in 1946, Madison earned a B.A. in architecture from Western Reserve University, an M.A. in architecture from Harvard University, and completed additional studies as a Fulbright Scholar at L’Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. Madison went on to open the first African American architectural firm in Ohio, in 1954.

 “I am honored and tickled to spend the afternoon with P.E.O.,” stated Madison, “and I know just how important a woman’s education is in the lives of others. My mother graduated from Morris Brown College in Atlanta—an extraordinary accomplishment for a Black woman, or any woman, born in the late 19th century. She was a tremendous influence in my life.”

Bibb, a Vietnam Veteran, Emmy Award-winning journalist, and narrator of the audiobook version of Designing Victory, is the author of short stories and poems. Bibb will read one of his selections before diving into an intimate conversation with his friend. 

The program will begin with musical guests Jason Fuh, baritone, and Judith Ryder, pianist, performing two opera selections by Verdi as a gift to Madison, who loves opera.

A reception will follow. Guests will have an opportunity to purchase books from Appletree Books at the event and have their book signed by Madison.

Registration is required for the event, and a livestream will be available. To learn more and register, go to and enter Robert Madison. Forest Hill Church is located at 3031 Monticello Blvd. in Cleveland Heights.

Donations are welcome. They will help support women’s education through P.E.O.’s educational projects.

P.E.O. International, organized in 1869, is a nonprofit philanthropic educational organization where women celebrate, educate, and motivate other women to achieve their highest aspirations. P.E.O. maintains six educational projects in the form of grants, scholarships, awards, loans, and stewardship of Cottey College. P.E.O. has helped more than 122,000 women pursue educational goals by providing more than $416 million in educational assistance. Learn more at

Carol Skoglund

Carol Skoglund, president of Cleveland Heights' Chapter Q of P.E.O. International, has been a resident of Cleveland Heights since 2000.

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Volume 16, Issue 11, Posted 11:34 AM, 10.30.2023