Ieoh Ming Pei was born in Canton, China in 1917. He left China when he was eighteen to study architecture at MIT and Harvard. Between 1942 and 1945, he worked as a concrete designer for Stone and Webster, and in 1946 he began work in the office of Hugh Asher Stubbins, in Boston. Pei worked as an instructor and then as an assistant professor at Harvard before he joined Webb & Knapp Inc. in New York in 1948. Pei worked as the head of the architectural division of Webb and Knapp, Inc. until 1960. In 1958, he formed the partnership of I. M. Pei & Associates, which become I.M. Pei & Partners in 1966, and which became Pei, Cobb, Free & Partners in 1979.
In 1983 he was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize. As a student, he was awarded the MIT Traveling Fellowship, and the Wheelwright Traveling Fellowship at Harvard. His subsequent honors’ include the following: the Brunner Award,the Medal of Honor of the New York Chapter of the AIA, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Medal for Architecture, the Gold Medal for Architecture of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Alpha Rho Chi Gold Medal, la Grande Medaille d’Or of l’Academie d’Architecture (France), and The Gold Medal of The American Institute of Architects.