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Samuel Mockbee
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photo In 1993, architect and professor Samuel Mockbee created "Rural Studio," a program to help rehabilitate West Alabama's Hale County, one of the poorest counties in the nation. "What I've discovered," said Mockbee, "is that I can take my students and actually move out to Hale County and build a house specifically for one of those poor families each academic year. I really believe architecture can make a difference." Not only does the project help restore a neglected community, it provides invaluable experience for the students. "It's great to talk about it in the classroom, it's wonderful, and that is part of their education -- and it has to be. But, ultimately, you've gotta come out here to the school of hard knocks."

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