Lorimer Rich

Lorimer RichLorimer Rich is an alumnus of Syracuse University, and also a military veteran. You should know his story, because it’s a Syracuse University story – one that speaks to our past, our present, and our future.

Mr. Lorimer W. Rich graduated from Syracuse University in 1914 with a degree in architecture, and then immediately went on to serve with distinction as a U.S. Army infantryman during World War I.  At the conclusion of World War I, Mr. Rich continued his academic studies in Italy. However, it wasn’t long before he returned to his native New York, to join the firm of McKim, Mead & White.

After eight years at McKim, Mead & White, Rich decided to strike out on his own, and over the next five decades, he became one of the nation’s most prolific designers of government buildings, post offices and courthouses, college dormitories, and churches. Locally, he designed the Rome Court House, Camden United Methodist Church, and State University College at Oswego. For his alma mater, Syracuse University, he designed the E.I. White College of Law, Watson, Marion and Shaw Dormitories, and the renovated Archbold Gymnasium.

One of Mr. Rich’s most famous works is the design of the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery – a commission he won through national competition early in his career.  Lorimer also designed the Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary War Soldiers, at North James and Liberty Streets in Rome, as one of his last works.

Later in his career, he became a critic in design at the School of Architecture of Columbia University, and in 1940 was awarded an honorary doctorate in fine arts from Syracuse University. He also was a critic in architectural and city planning at the Pratt Institute in New York City.

Mr. Rich retired in 1971 at the age of 80, to his native hometown of Camden N.Y.  Upon his death in 1978, President Jimmy Carter personally approved his remains to be interred in Arlington – so that he could be near the tomb he designed. Lorimer W. Rich is buried in Section 48 of Arlington National Cemetery, directly behind the Tomb of the Unknowns and the Memorial Amphitheater.

Lorimer Rich is an alumnus of Syracuse University, and a veteran of the U.S. military. You should know his story.