“Visionary, generous, committed, vivacious, enthusiastic, sharp, determined, knowledgeable, warm, gracious, interested, engaged and resourceful: these are just a few of the adjectives which begin to describe Ruth Lynford-a woman extraordinarily dedicated to the individuals and professionals she befriends and organizations she serves.”

 “ She has been in the forefront in indentifying key trends, not only in architecture and design fields, but also with regard to the social, political and humanitarian issues facing the world, and has played a leadership role in bringing people together to address these issues.”

“As a Corporate and Board member of ICIS for over 30 years, Ruth has been from the start an integral member of the ICIS team, adeptly using her amazing social and networking skills to bring together leaders in various fields to address issues of public concern. For example, early in her association with ICIS during 1970’s, she used her architectural and interior design skills to help re-design a 60,000 square foot building, which was being developed by ICIS group members as a facility with comprehensive youth services to help support young people living in New York. Taking a “whole person” approach, “ the Door” (as the Center became named), provided integrated programs and services in the areas of health, mental health, education, careers, law, social services, performing and graphic arts and physical fitness. While her initial association with ICIS and “the Door” began on a tour of the facility, she became immediately interested in the goals and activities of the Center. Seeing that she could help contribute architectural and design expertise, she used her connections with the leaders of architecture and design schools in New York City to get them civically involved in the design of the new structure, while also getting furniture contributed to the new Center. As a result of her efforts and expertise, combined with the programmatic vision of the other ICIS team members, the Door became a national and international model of youth development and comprehensive youth services.

“Ruth has also taken a leadership role in ICIS Salons, a key outreach activity of ICIS, which has the purpose of bringing people together from diverse fields and perspectives for informal dialogue on a wide range of topics so as to deepen appreciations and understanding of differing human perspectives for informal dialogue on a wide range of topics so as to deepen appreciation and understanding of differing human perspectives. Over the past seven years alone, she has hosted over 40 Salons in her home, on wide- ranging topics including science and consciousness, the possibilities and limits of forgiveness, creativity as manifested through poetry, music, collage and photography, the Rwandan genocide, hope, anger, love, diversity, and the work of antebellum African American Artist. Most recently she spearheaded a three-part series on climate change, bringing together architects and professionals from the United Nations with whom she has worked, to address the issues of climate change, especially as it relates to the New York experience. The breadth of these Salon topics indicated that Ruth has a highly developed social/global consciousness and encourages the exploration of different themes.”

“Ruth is a doer and totally action-oriented. Throughout her life she has used her expertise and knowledge to advance causes which are of professional and personal concern to her. However, what makes her unique is her ability to transcend role stereotypes, combined with her vitality, kindness, grace, warmth and enthusiasm with which she approaches all her activities, She truly enjoys life, and in the process, she positively impacts so many lives by her leadership, integrity and example.”

Sarajane Brittis, Ph.D.

President, Board of Directors

International Center for Integrative Studies(ICIS)


“As you know, Ms. Lynford earned a Bachelor of Architecture Degree from Washington University, in itself a notable feat given the small number of women in the architecture profession at that time. Since then, she has actively practiced the rising and increasingly important field of interior design. But, more than a practitioner, Ms. Lynford has been a leader in the effort to galvanize recognition of interior design as a profession in the State of New York.”

“In 1984 she founded IDLNY (Interior Designers for Legislation in New York), an organization that, through her tenacity, finally obtained legislative recognition of Interior Design s the 33rd profession in New York State. She remains active today in raising the bar for the interior design profession and in pursuing additional legislative action to further the interior design profession and to ensure that the consuming public benefits from the many advances in the profession. Ms. Lynford is a formidable fighter with the patience and perseverance that most of us never wish to need.”

“Ms. Lynford never quits. In 1997 she founded another organization “New York Eleven”, which represents the twelve prestigious educational institutions in New York offering four-year (or more) degrees in interior design. These colleges and universities join together to reach legislators and the public through annual interior design exhibitions that raise a public sensitivity to the complexity and responsibilities of the interior design profession.”

“By way of background, I am the editor in chief of officeinsight, a weekly newsletter covering workplace design and furnishings. Each year, we select two-to four people who we feel have, through their long-term effort, made significant substantive contributions to our industry. In 2005, Ruth Lynford was designated Most Excellent by our publication in recognition of her ardent and continuous efforts to create public and legislative awareness of the contributions of interior designers to the health, safety and well-being of citizens in the State of New York.”

Brad Powell

Editor in Chief of officeinsight 


Dear Ruth, while I had heard rumors, the official note on your honorary              Doctorate of  Fine Arts Degree from the New York School of Interior Design struck me deeply: it’s about time! Of all the honors you have collected, I personally believe that this one strikes to your core as one of the sharpest intellectuals in the design world today; and I am in a position to know, and appreciate this. At the root, it is your mind—not only your energy and “get done” drive—which sets you aside from the crowd. It is so exciting, so deserved!

Kerwin Kettler

Former Dean of New York School of Interior Design


“Ms. Lynford is a graduate of Washington University School of Architecture. Due to the limited architectural opportunities women were afforded at that time, she shifted her career focus toward interior design. The impact she has had to the interior design profession is clearly evidenced by the distinguished list of awards she has received including Fellowship from the American Society of Interior Designers, the Leadership Award from the International Interior Design Association, Honorary Doctorate from the New York School of Interior Design and the Distinguished Alumni Award that Washington University presented to her.”

“Twenty five years ago she founded, and served as the first President of IDLNY,  the legislative coalition representing the interests of New York State’s large and diverse interior design community. Substantially through her efforts, in 1991 the State of New York officially recognized the profession of Interior Design. This recognition chiefly serves to protect the public through the establishment of minimum standards for education, experience and examination for Certified Interior Designers. She continues to tirelessly monitor legislative activities in Albany and actively lobbys New York’s elected officials on behalf of the public and interior designers.”

James D. Lothrop, Jr. AIA, ASID

President, IDLNY 


“It is difficult to find words that mirror the radiant energy and bright spirit she brings to a room, to a meeting, or to an endeavor. She loves life and she loves learning. Ruth has the ability to infuse others, regardless of background, with the same "can do" attitude that she herself possesses.”

“This spirit, however, is also backed by action. Never satisfied to take a backseat, Ruth focuses on and drives projects home. This is evidenced in her service on Washington University’s Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts National Advisory Council, and on the advisory boards for the Fashion Institute of Technology, the Pratt Institute, and the New York Institute of Technology. It is also born out in her service on the Board of Directors of the United Nations International Council of Caring Communities, the International Center for Integrative Studies, and the Association for the Study of Man/ Environment Relations.”

“She is a wonderful communicator and team member who is able to work well with all types of people. And this, combined with her generosity, both of her time and resources, keeps important organizational projects moving forward. She is also a woman of vision as was illuminated during her chairmanship of the planning symposium for what was to become Washington University’s Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts.”

“She has also distinguished herself through her lectures throughout the country on psychological and physical effects of the built environment. These presentations have helped sensitize students and professionals to this critical, though often overlooked, area.”

“As a testament to her fine work, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree from New York School of Interior Design, presented with the 2005 Distinguished Alumni Award from the Washington University School of Architecture and the Leadership Award of Excellence from the New York Chapter of the International Interior Design Association.” 

Bruce Cohen, J.D.

President, Embervision


"Ruth,I want to thank you for the life you have led as it has so positively impacted my own. Over the years of our long association, I watched and marveled at your problem-solving abilities and the determined and courageous choices you have made. You are truly an inspiration and model to all who know you."

Eunice Siegeltuch

Executive Assistant