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Welcome from the Department Head
William Sullivan, Professor and Head of Landscape Architecture 

Greetings from Illinois! We are in the midst of those heady, exhausting, exciting final days of the academic year. There is a growing intensity in the studios, a creeping sense of nostalgia among the seniors and graduating MLA students, and a general buzz in the air as we all prepare for the final push of the year.

We invite you all to join us for Sasaki Day, during which, as you'll read below, we will hear from Shannon Nichol, see the results of the Sesquicentennial Design Competition, celebrate the achievements of our students, and announce the recipient of our inaugural Alumni Award.

During Sasaki Day, our three Designers-in-Residence—Aneesha Dharwadker, Katy Kraszewska, and Brad Goetz—will host an exhibition of their work over the past year. This promises to be a highlight of the day as we will get to see the creativity, energy, and enthusiasm of these powerful designers-teachers on full display.

For all of us, Sasaki Day will also be bittersweet, because it will be the last time Carol Emmerling-DiNovo will participate as a member of the faculty - Carol is retiring from the University in August. We are planning a fall celebration of Carol's career and her incredible influence on hundreds of students, so please watch for an annoucement of the date. Please join us if you can for Carol's last official Sasaki Day.

Sasaki Day 2017
Shannon Nichol, 2017 Sasaki Day Lecturer 

Sasaki Day, our annual celebration of design, will take place on May 3, 2017. As part of the day, we anticipate a wonderful lecture by Shannon Nichol, one of the founding partners of GGN (Gustafson Guthrie Nichol). Shannon's designs, including Millennium Park’s Lurie Garden, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Campus, and Boston’s North End Parks, are widely recognized for being deeply embedded in their neighborhoods and natural contexts. Her recent and current projects include Lower Rainier Vista & Pedestrian Land Bridge at the University of Washington, India Basin Waterfront Park in San Francisco, Seattle Streetcar: City Center Connector, and Washington State’s Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture.

Please hold the date and join us on campus for Shannon’s lecture and all of the Sasaki Day festivities on May 3, 2017. For the full schedule of events, visit the Sasaki Day 2017 page on our website

The Sesquicentennial Design Competition
Professor Jessica Henson addressing participants in the University of Illinois’ Sesquicentennial Design Competition 

In celebration of the campus’s 150th anniversary, the Landscape Architecture Department has the honor of hosting a cross-disciplinary design competition.

For 150 years on our campus, a creative mix of scholars and teachers have produced innovations, made discoveries, and engaged beyond our walls in ways that have shaped the world. From the development of the first web browser, to the discovery of a third form of life, pioneering triumphs in womens’ education, and the bold move for wheelchair accessibility, we have been an engine of innovation and impact. Read more.

Design Awards
2016 Merit Award: Project N.E.S.T. by Shunyao Hu, Fei Tao, and Jaewon Wang 

We are proud to announce that MLA alum Meng Shui and MLA candidate Fei Tao have both won 2016 Design Leader awards from the Illinois Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects! Additional congratulations to Shunyao Hu, Fei Tao, Jaewon Wang, Sam Shui, Qiran Zhang, and Lin Zhu, whose design works have won 2016 Merit Awards from the Illinois Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects.

Catching Up With Alumni
Senior Project Manager, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates 
Evan Blondell, MLA 2013

In the 3.5 years I've been with Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, I've worked through a variety of scales from residential to urban design. My primary project is Waller Creek in Austin, Texas; when complete, it will be one of the largest urban creek renewal projects in the U.S. The creek meanders through a spatially complex, urban-riparian corridor and serves as the armature for a new trail system, a chain of parks, and a variety of interstitial public spaces. I began this project as an intern while it was a design competition and have helped carry it through a masterplan phase and now into the midst of design development for a stretch of creek measuring nearly a mile. Read more.

Associate Professor, College of Environment and Design, University of Georgia 
Sungkyung Lee, PhD 2009

In summer 2009, I was packing my stuff to leave Urbana-Champaign and take my first academic job at the University of Georgia. I found a congratulatory note with a copy of an article in my mailbox at school. It was from Professor Ruggles, who was the chair of the Ph.D. program at the time. The article, titled "What They Don’t Teach You in Graduate School," shared cautionary advice on building an academic career for a fresh Ph.D. I read the article word by word thinking it would help me prepare for what is coming in the near future. Read more.


Project Designer, Ratcliff Architects; Lecturer, Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning Department, University of California Berkeley 
Kelley Lemon, BLA 2002

I vividly remember watching William Whyte’s Social Life of Small Urban Spaces in LA 101 at Illinois, and it captured my fascination with the sociology and psychology behind landscape design. Landscape Architects can create beautiful, environmentally responsible landscapes that affect people! We can facilitate relationships, invite curiosity, evoke emotion, and provide comfort and healing. I’m drawn to landscapes that empower people, particularly those who have been historically and systemically marginalized due to race, age, and social and economic status. Over my career, I’ve found that communities and people are most engaged when you bring them into the conversation of design, while listening intently to their stories, instead of using a heavy design hand. Read more.

Landscape Designer, OLIN 
Liz (Barr) Kauffman, MLA 2015

A lot has changed since graduation! I got married, traveled across Europe investigating industrial landscapes, moved to Philadelphia, made a handful of new friends, became an aunt, and bought a home! I also re-entered the work force confident in what I set out to do professionally. That was something I was looking for when I decided to earn an MLA. Read more.


Landscape Designer, Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects and Planners 
Janet Broughton, MLA 2012

Post-graduation, I worked at the New York Restoration Project, a not-for-profit in New York City. My work contributed to NYRP’s missions of maintaining 52 plots of land as community gardens in perpetuity and partnership in the Million Trees NYC campaign. I worked within a small team to design and execute garden renovations and tree planting projects; in that capacity, I was involved in and often responsible for tasks from concept through construction administration. Read more.


Senior Design Staff, Hargreaves Associates, NY 
Haemee Han, BLA 2009

I graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign in 2009 with a Bachelor's degree in Landscape Architecture. Introductory landscape design studio classes opened my eyes to the field of landscape architecture, and I had a pleasure learning from great mentors and colleagues. Taking multidisciplinary classes in the art and architecture programs widened my perspectives in spatial design and collaboration in different fields of design. Read more.