Pentagon Memorial Designer Julie Beckman '91 Speaks to 8th Grade Class

Pentagon Memorial Designer Julie Beckman '91 Speaks to 8th Grade Class

Thanks to Pentagon Memorial designer and MBS alumna Julie Beckman ’91, who spoke with the MBS 8th Grade Class via Zoom on Tuesday, May 28. The 8th Graders reached out to Ms. Beckman after visiting the Pentagon Memorial as part of their trip to Washington, DC last month.

The students were able to ask Ms. Beckman questions about the design process, her inspiration, and the different elements of the memorial.

Ms. Beckman and her husband, Keith Kaseman, were living in New York City and had just finished architecture school when the terrorist attacks of 9/11 occurred.  She explained that entering the design competition was a natural way for them to give back and deal with their grief.

“We were grieving and didn’t care if we won the competition or not,” said Beckman "We never expected to be chosen as the winners, and we wished there was no reason for the memorial in the first place, but we were incredibly honored to be selected.”

Beckman’s unique design for the Pentagon Memorial was selected from more than 1,200 entries. The memorial is composed of 184 benches, each with a name of a victim and illuminated by lighted reflection pools below.

After the Q&A session with students, Ms. Beckman offered to write out complete answers to all the students’ questions. “Morristown Beard School will always have a sweet spot in my heart,” she said. “I thank all of you for your interest in my work.”

Julie Beckman and her husband later founded the architectural firm KBAS and designed the Space Shuttle Columbia Memorial in Texas. She has taught at the University of Pennsylvania and currently serves as Director of Student Development at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville. 

She received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Morristown Beard School in 2009. 


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