You rarely hear of a design major deciding to enroll in law school after graduation. Yet, that seemingly unconventional move illustrates the diverse career of David Karem (DAAP ’66), who has since practiced law alongside his father, mother and brother, enjoyed a successful career in state politics, and most recently directed a dramatic redevelopment of Louisville’s riverfront district.
“Nearly all of the others in my family are lawyers,” David says, “so it was sort of an expectation that I would do the same thing. But I was more interested in design, and I gained a great education pursing my degree. This background certainly helped later in my career when I became President of the Waterfront Development Corporation.”
Standing in the middle of Louisville’s Waterfront Park, it would be nearly impossible to guess what had previously occupied the space. Beautiful greenspace, footpaths, and a water play area for children are just some of the attractions of the 85 acres that sit next to the Ohio River.
There’s also a unique spiraling pedestrian bridge (formerly part of a railroad trestle) that connects the park to the State of Indiana, as well as a larger-than-life statue of Abraham Lincoln, who wrote some of his first works on abolition after seeing a boat full of slaves being loaded at the waterfront. The statue was designed so that visitors could interact with Lincoln, and it’s not uncommon to see children sitting in his lap as they learn more about Lincoln’s historical impact.