Department of Landscape Architecture Celebrates 90 Years

Tuesday, March 12, 2024
By: Kyle Niblett

More than 100 people passionate about the University of Florida Department of Landscape Architecture descended upon the UF College of Design, Construction and Planning this past Wednesday evening for an extravagant gala celebrating the 90th anniversary of the department. The event was sponsored by CHW Professional Consultants, an NV5 company.

“The 90th Anniversary GaLA was the perfect occasion to unite students, faculty, alumni, and friends in celebration of our accomplishments,” said Dr. Jules Bruck, the director of the UF School of Landscape Architecture and Planning and chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture. “Tonight offered a valuable opportunity to reflect on our achievements while also igniting enthusiasm for the future of the department and its programs.”

Serving as a poignant reminder of the extensive network of support from the department’s alumni base and industry friends, the event kicked off with DCP Dean Chimay Anumba welcoming everyone and thanking sponsor CHW, followed by Dr. Bruck previewing the plans for the next 90 years.

“It was very unique to have different generations of alumni in attendance in support of the department,” said UF LA student Jourdan Friedlander. “It was truly a privilege to be part of this event and see how connected the Gator LA family is.”

Following Bruck’s speech, LA master’s student Michael Valenti highlighted UF’s student chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, reflecting on what it meant to be a student in the department and how important the alumni network was.

“The 90th Anniversary GaLA was a fantastic opportunity to connect with alumni, faculty, and fellow students in a relaxed atmosphere, free from the pressures of career networking,” Valenti said a day after the event. “It was a chance to celebrate the rich history of landscape architecture at UF and to look forward to its promising future.”

Once Valenti wrapped up his speech, 1996 UF LA graduate and EDSA Chief Executive Officer and Principal Scott LaMont gave a toast to the audience and then a catered meal from Sonny’s was served.

Preceding the GaLA was an open house sponsored by Ervin Lovett Miller, an architecture, landscape architecture, and planning firm located in Jacksonville, Florida. For two hours, Lamont, other members of the UF LA Alumni and Professional Advisory Council and outside industry leaders had the chance to visit with current students and critique their work. For some students, it was the chance of a lifetime.

“Having industry professionals in the studio was beneficial for both parties,” said UF LA student Lily Crawford, who spent her time mostly with CHW Vice President Laurie Hall and CMA Senior Landscape Architect Tanya McCormick. “I think that they enjoyed getting to come in and see what we were working on and relive their memories in the studio, while also helping and encouraging us in our projects.”

The 90th anniversary celebration began earlier in the day with Kona Gray serving as the keynote speaker for the annual Edward D. Stone, Jr. Lecture.

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