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William Sullivan 
Welcome from Department Head William Sullivan

Greetings from campus! We are off to an outstanding start to the new academic year. Two new faculty members and three Designers-in-Residence have joined our department this year. ASLA just announced that a group of our graduate students will accept the Honor Award for Student Collaboration at its annual meeting in New Orleans next month. College Factual has again rated our BLA program as the #3 program in the country behind Cornell and Berkeley.


In response to the comments we’ve received from last year’s newsletters, we’ve decided to write four newsletters this year. We’ll provide short stories and pictures of all sorts of interesting things that are going on in the department.

Finally, we invite you to come to campus on May 3, 2017, for our annual Sasaki Day celebration. We are treating Sasaki Day as our homecoming and look forward to welcoming as many alumni back to town as possible. More details will be provided in the next newsletter. Please hold the date!

Below are pictures from the first day of classes:

First Day of Classes
1) Prof. Mary Pat McGuire with students in MLA Studios I and II. 2) New students from the College of Fine and Applied Arts gather in Temple Buell Hall for an orientation and a bit of fun on the Friday before classes began. 3) Assistant Professor Conor O’Shea works with Hao Zeng in Designing the Operational Landscape studio. 4) Prof. Stephen Sears introducing sophomore BLA candidates to the Foundation Design Studio in Mumford Hall. 
ASLA Tailgate and Reception Invitation

We hope to see many of you at the ASLA annual meeting in October. In celebration of our Graduate Students receiving the 2016 ASLA Honor Award for Student Collaboration, we’ll be hosting a table at the Tailgate and a reception afterwards.

We would appreciate seeing you and catching up, so please join us for the EXPO reception/tailgate at the ASLA 2016 Annual Meeting on Oct. 22 at 4:30pm and/or our private reception from 6:30pm – 8:30pm at Drago’s Seafood Restaurant (at Hilton New Orleans Riverside) 2 Poydras Street, New Orleans, LA 70130. Your engagement with our department and our students plays such an integral role in our success, we truly hope you can come and celebrate in this accomplishment. 

The ASLA Annual Meeting is taking place at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, 900 Convention Center Blvd. New Orleans, LA 70130.

If you have any questions and/or plan on attending, please email Jamie Smith at

College Factual Ranking 
BLA Program Ranked #3 in Nation!

For the second year in a row, has rated our Bachelor of Landscape Architecture program #3 in the nation. Cornell holds the top spot, followed by UC Berkeley. The ranking is a wonderful recognition of the hard work of our faculty, the outstanding students we attract, and the success of our alumni.

From Left: Dongying Li, Rose Schmillen, Mamata Guragain, Fatemeh Saedi-Rizi, Xiangrong Jiang, Carlos Flores, Tum Suppakittpaisarn 
2016 ASLA Student Awards

Congratulations to Carlos Flores, Mamata Guragain, Xiangrong Jiang, Dongying Li, Fatemeh Saedi-Rizi, Rose Schmillen, and Tum Suppakittpaisarn who have won the 2016 Honor Award for Student Collaboration from the American Society of Landscape Architects! Their project, called “Seeding Sideyards,” focuses on landscape and well-being in the Belmont-Mantua neighborhood near downtown Philadelphia. Read more.

Alan Cong during his travels 
Charles Harris Travel Scholarship

BLA candidate Alan Cong has been visiting Zen gardens and other important landscapes in Japan with support from the Charles Harris Travel Scholarship. Charles Harris, a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects, earned a BS in Landscape Operations (1951) in our department and an MLA from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He went on to teach at Harvard for many decades and also served as Chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture there for many years. The Charles Harris Travel Scholarship was established by his classmates in honor of his distinguished career.

Jason Vevang 
Dan Ryan Prize

Established in memory of Dan Ryan, a member of the BLA Class of 2002, this fund provides a cash prize to a student in the sophomore class who exhibits outstanding graphic skills and a strong willingness to assist other students. Nominated by his peers, the 2016 recipient of the Dan Ryan Prize is Jason Vevang.

Healing Spaces, Modern Architecture, and the Body 
Ph.D Candidate Essay Published

An essay by Ph.D. candidate Jennifer L. Thomas, "Bodies at Work and Leisure: Therapeutic Landscapes of Early Nineteenth-Century New York State Insane Asylums," is featured in the new book Healing Spaces, Modern Architecture, and the Body, edited by Sarah Schrank and Didem Ekici and published by Routledge. Read more.

Dr. Douglas WIlliams spoke about the first African American Landscape Architect at Howard University 
Ph.D Alumni Lecture at Howard University

Ph.D. alumnus Douglas Williams recently delivered a lecture at Howard University entitled "David A. Williston: The First African American Landscape Architect among His Contemporaries.” An account of the lecture has been published on The Dirt: Uniting the Built and Natural Environments, a blog of the American Society of Landscape Architects. Read more.

Deal (top), O'Shea (bottom) 
New Faculty

The Department is pleased to welcome two new faculty members: Associate Prof. Brian Deal and Assistant Prof. Conor O'Shea.

Deal's work involves the study of planning from an energy conservation perspective, urban land use transformation and modeling, design for climate change, and approaches that enable communities to make better (more sustainable) decisions. He is the Director of the Illinois Smart Energy Design Assistance Center (SEDAC) and Director of the Landuse Evolution and impact Assessment Model (LEAM) laboratory. Read more about Deal.

O’Shea is founding principal of Hinterlands Urbanism and Landscape. He holds post-professional Masters in Landscape Architecture (2012) and Master in Design Studies: Urbanism, Landscape, and Ecology (2014) degrees from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design and a BLA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2007). Read more about O'Shea.

Goetz (top), Dharwadker (center), Kraszewska (bottom) 

The Department is pleased to welcome three Designers-in-Residence for the academic year 2016-2017: Brad Goetz, Aneesha Dharwadker, and Katherine Kraszewska.

Goetz earned dual Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) and Master of City Planning (MCP) degrees, with a Certificate in Urban Design, from the University of Pennsylvania. He regards landscape as a medium through which to think, see, and make change for social and environmental justice. By pairing metrics with modeling, his teachings aim to further our understanding of resilience as it relates to adaptation and the design process—in an attempt to address larger concerns for bidirectional convergence between design, the humanities, and sciences. Read more about Goetz.   

Dharwadker holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University and a Master in Design Studies from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Her areas of study include urbanization in South Asia, colonial and postcolonial planning practices, and the spatial implications and potentials of 20th-century literature in English. Read more about Dharwadker. 

Kraszewska earned a Ph.D. in Sustainable Bio-Products from the College of Forestry, Mississippi State University, and is the founder and principal designer of Kraszewska Landscape Design Consulting. Her research explores innovative, low impact development practices and policy as a means towards sustainable stormwater management. Read more about Kraszewska.

An image from Professor Mary Pat McGuire’s urban soils research 
Urban Soils Research

In collaboration with the Illinois State Geological Survey, Professor Mary Pat McGuire examined urban soils research this summer, investigating test plot sites for depaving and stormwater infiltration projects in Chicago. McGuire was assisted in her research by two Landscape Architecture students: Qiran David Zhang (MLA 2017) and Zheng Alan Cong (BLA 2016-Dec). Read more.


Image by Jessica Henson of the LA River planning team, including OLIN partners Richard Roark and Laurie Olin © OLIN 
Revitalizing the Los Angeles River

Assistant Clinical Professor Jessica Henson, who is also an Associate at OLIN, is currently at work on one of the most significant landscape projects of this moment: the revitalization of the Los Angeles River. The LA River Index, a publicly accessible, online compendium of research and data to which Henson has contributed, has just been launched. Read more.

The Alhambra 
Evolution of the Alhambra

Professor D. Fairchild Ruggles delivered a public lecture entitled “The Alhambra and Its Gardens: Reflections of the Past” at the Aga Khan Museum of Art in Toronto, Canada this summer. Ruggles reimagined the Alhambra’s dramatic evolution from an abandoned site to a place of elegantly ornamented buildings and graceful courtyard gardens. Ruggles is the author of the books Islamic Gardens and Landscapes (2008) and Gardens, Landscape, and Vision in the Palaces of Islamic Spain (2000). Read more.

Professor Sullivan speaking with students after lecturing at Tongji University in China 
Lectures in China

This summer, Professor Sullivan delivered lectures at a number of universities in China. He gave the same lecture at each institution: Design-Research: Landscape Architecture at Illinois and spoke at Tongji University, Peking University, Harbin Institute of Technology, Beijing Forestry University, Tsinghua University, and Southern China University of Technology. He also delivered this lecture at National Taiwan University. There is incredible interest in Landscape Architecture at Illinois in the very best universities in China. In this year’s incoming MLA class, we have more than 20 students from China. Sullivan has been invited back to Tsinghua University in Beijing, to teach a week-long course on design-research. 

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