Bob Kain, AIA, a leader in architectural practice, was a model alumnus

Bob Kain ('73, architecture) was an ardent supporter of ENV's architecture program (Image by Tom Zasadzinski)
Bob Kain ('73, architecture) was an ardent supporter of ENV's architecture program (Image by Tom Zasadzinski)

Bob Kain, AIA, ACHA, one of the most active and visible alumni of the College of Environmental Design and a longtime supporter of the architecture program, died Dec. 10 at the age of 69.

“He was very proud of the education he received from Cal Poly Pomona,” said Jenkins Shannon, ENV senior director of development. “The education served him very well, and gave him a good career. He wanted to help students so they would have the same opportunities he had.”

Kain is remembered as a leader in architectural practice, particularly healthcare facility development. He was a principal and healthcare market leader of HMC Architects, where he held top leadership roles – president and CEO (1995-2000) and chairman of the board (2000-2004). He hired and mentored new leaders, and expanded the practice into an international firm. Kain was active in the state and Inland California chapters of the American Institute of Architects, serving as AIA-IC president in 1999 and again in 2019, leading its Health Care Practice Group. In 2009 the AIA-IC conferred to him the Lifetime Achievement Award. He was also a prominent figure in the California Architectural Foundation, where he served as president (2008); through his efforts the organization established a multi-year collaboration with Woodbury University’s Arid Lands Institute.

“Bob utilized his professional network to connect students with internships and to raise funds for student design-team projects,” said George Proctor, chair of the Department of Architecture. “His commitment to architectural education is best evidenced through his generous support of the Cal Poly Architecture program, and his facilitation of numerous scholarship programs with AIA-IC. Thank you, Bob, for all you have done.”

A forward-looking supporter of the Department of Architecture, he was instrumental in establishing its Healthcare Architecture Initiative, the first of its kind in the West Coast. Kain was also responsible for the architecture department’s revived participation on the Design Village Competition, a statewide event  hosted by Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He served on the ENV Dean’s Advisory Board as well as the Cal Poly Pomona University Educational Trust, and in 2004 was recipient of the ENV Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Contributions can be made in his memory to the Department of Architecture under the designation “Design Excellence” at