Giving to the Department of Urban and Regional Planning

Students and faculty mingle at Depot Park in Gainesville, FL.

February 16, 2023

The Department of Urban and Regional Planning thrives only through its ability to provide for its students, faculty, and community. One way to support the department’s mission is through gifts. Your gift will go directly toward enhancing our mission through: increasing student scholarships and travel, upgrading facilities for collaboration and teaching, providing opportunities for alumni and students to connect, and more. Want to know more about exactly where your gifts are going? Read the stories below to see the ways your gifts come to life:

Supporting Our Students

Networking and engaging with the planning profession is one of many ways students in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning gain an edge in the job market. With funds from Giving Day, the department is able to assist students in travel for professional development, including attending conferences. The department regularly pays for registration for all students to attend the Florida American Planning Association (FL APA) conference as well as the National Planning Conference. Student registration coverage is provided from the URP General Department Fund.

Students take the PeopleMover in downtown Miami during the 2021 Florida APA conference.
“[Funding from URP] helped to ease the burden of attending the recent Florida American Planning Association conference. This opportunity allowed me to learn more about cutting edge partnerships and the work being conducted at multiple levels to combat and mitigate the effects of climate related disasters. We were able to network with a range of professionals including consulates, federal sector employees, nonprofit leaders, private sector professionals, and international planners from a range of Caribbean countries.”
– Camisha Alexis, URP Student and President of the Student Planning Association (SPA)

Gift funding can provide our planning students with the financial resources necessary to take advantage of studying abroad opportunities. By covering expenses such as travel, tuition, and living costs, donation funding can make studying abroad more accessible and affordable for students who may not have the financial means to do so otherwise. By gaining international experience and exposure to planning practices in other countries, students can enhance their professional and personal development, broaden their perspectives, and build important connections in the global planning community.

“URP faculty have created inspirational and academically uplifting opportunities for students to experience firsthand planning and urban challenges in various areas of the world.  Collaborations with top universities in Indonesia, the UK, Germany, Austria, Hungary, China and India enable URP students to enhance their professional and academic growth.  Scholarships to help with the costs to engage is a way to enable  students to take advantage of these unique opportunities.”
– Dr. Christopher Silver, FAICP, URP Faculty Emeritus

Annual Bartley Lecture

The Ernest R. Bartley Memorial Lecture is held on campus every fall semester. Dr. Bartley, who helped found the Urban and Regional Planning Department in 1975, is honored through the yearly event. Previous speakers include:

You can support this event in memory of Dr. Bartley through gifts to the Bartley Fund.

Pegeen Hanrahan, former Gainesville mayor, speaks at the 2021 Bartley Lecture.

Dr. Kathryn Frank and Dr. Ivy Hu present Tony Garcia with an honorary plaque as guest speaker at the 2022 Bartley Lecture.

Department Events

The Urban and Regional Planning Department hosts various events throughout the year to foster community and professional development. Each fall, the department welcomes new and returning students with a picnic at Lake Wauburg, where students can connect and relax outdoors. The department also holds annual awards and student celebrations at Cypress & Grove brewery to recognize outstanding academic achievement and student contributions. The department also invites guest speakers from the planning field to share their expertise and insights with students. Additionally, the School of Landscape Architecture and Planning hosts research seminars that allow students to learn about cutting-edge research in the field. These events provide valuable opportunities for students to network, learn, and engage with their peers and professionals in the planning community.

Students and faculty gather at Lake Wauburg to kick off the academic year.

Students and faculty gather at Lake Wauburg to kick off the academic year.

Upgrading our Spaces

After receiving a generous donation from Howard and Gayle Nelson, the Urban and Regional Planning Department was able to make significant improvements to our studio and adjacent seminar space, located in FAC 202 and 208. The donation provided funding for a number of important upgrades, including the installation of new technology to enable high-quality virtual connections, as well as other improvements to enhance the functionality and usability of the spaces. These upgrades have had a significant impact on the ability of the department to effectively communicate with others in the field and to facilitate a wide range of important activities, including hosting virtual meetings, presentations, and site visits for the Planning Accreditation Board (PAB) program. Thanks to the Nelsons’ generosity, the Urban and Regional Planning Department has been able to significantly improve its facilities and better support the needs of its students and faculty.

“Howard and Gayle Nelson generously funded a studio and adjacent seminar space with state of the art technology, integrating design and planning in new ways via high definition visualization of geospatial information that fosters unique forms of collaboration among students, faculty, and community stakeholders.  The capacity to virtually engage nationally and internationally recognized experts allows us to be at the forefront of studio instruction. With a formal ribbon-cutting on October 5, 2018, these spaces received their first test whenit accommodated a hybrid reaccreditation review of our graduate planning degree in January 2019 with online faculty, students, and alumni joining virtually in the on-campus site visit.  Since that time, the room has been used for a variety of daily and periodic activities – the Bartley lecture, meetings of the Advisory Council, faculty meetings and retreats, classes, studio presentations – that support the educational mission of the department.”
– Dr. Kristin Larsen, URP Professor and former Department Chair

Howard Nelson, URP alumnus, celebrates the opening of the new URP studio and seminar rooms. Nelson was the key donor for both rooms.

Dr. Laura Dedenbach presents to new MURP students at a new student orientation.

Dr. Laura Dedenbach and Dr. Kathryn Frank welcome new students in the URP studio room.

Scholarships and Assistantships

With increased support the department has been able to create two new assistantships, one for minority students and another for first-generation students. These assistantships support students by providing full tuition coverage and mentorship from faculty on research throughout their time in the program. Additionally, the department has created multiple need- and merit-based scholarships to applicants and students. These scholarships and assistantships are supported through gifts to the general department fund.

We are proud to have offered more than $21,000 in support to students in the last academic year alone:

  • $12,500 in scholarships;
  • $4,750 in student awards;
  • $4,275 in student travel support.

General Department Fund

Supports the greatest needs of the department.

Bartley Fund

Supports the annual Bartley Lecture speaker series.

Starnes Fund

Supports department scholarships or the greatest needs of the department.

Zwick Fund

Supports a graduate student that has best integrated innovative use of technology into their solution for urban and regional planning problems or research.

Student Awards

The department determines annual student awards as an important way to recognize and celebrate the achievements of outstanding students in the program. These awards are nomination-based and are given to students in their final year of the program. The bulk of the funding for these awards is designated to ensure that the department can offer a wide range of awards to students. Most of the awards are named in honor of individuals who have made significant contributions to the department, the planning profession, or both. These awards not only acknowledge and reward student excellence but also serve to inspire and motivate current and future students to strive for academic and professional success. By investing in urban and regional planning student awards, the department is able to recognize and support its top-performing students, helping to foster a culture of excellence and innovation in the field.

“Over the years, dozens of URP alums have contributed to several funds to recognize faculty, staff, students and friends of the program – the Earl M. Starnes Fund, James C. Nicholas Fund, Paul and Malea Graduate Student Award, Ernest R. Bartley Memorial Lecture Series Fund, Margaret E. Raynal,  Peter A. Kanavos, the WRS Infrastructure & Environment Inc. in Memoriam of Mario Ripol, Jim Beeler Public Service Award, and the Carl Feiss Urban and Environmental Design Award.  We define our community through the events where we recognize the contributions of our students and faculty to the planning profession and the broader community.  Each fall, we gather at the Bartley lecture to hear from national experts about the latest innovations in planning – tactical urbanism, public participation, crime prevention through environmental design and many other contemporary issues.  Each spring we gather as a community to recognize current and graduating students who have excelled in the program in a variety of ways.  These events remind us of our history while simultaneously recognizing the accomplishments of our students and the contribution of our faculty to the training of the next generation of planners.” 
– Dr. Ruth Steiner, URP Professor and Director of the Center for Health and the Built Environment

Dr. Ruth Steiner presents the Jim Beeler Award for Public Service to student Samantha Brisolara.

Crystal Goodison presents the Mario Ripol Award to student Tyler Tornese.

Student Planning Association (SPA)

Gift funding utilized by the Student Planning Association can be instrumental when bringing in unique and diverse speakers in the planning field. Guest speakers can bring new and innovative perspectives to the classroom and provide students with valuable insights into planning practices and policies in different contexts. These sessions expose students to a wide range of viewpoints and experiences, ultimately enriching their education and preparing them to be thoughtful and engaged planners.

“Giving enables the Student Planning Association to host talks with esteemed guests like Jane West of 1000 Friends of Florida, who came to talk with the student body about the Bert Harris Act last Fall. Time donated to interaction with students is especially enriching for our professional networking and development. Last fall, over 20 students from every point of progress in the Urban and Regional Planning Program attended a Q and A session with Advisory Council members before the Bartley Lecture. Giving both expands our community’s horizons and strengthens the power it has to empower our program and its students.”
– Sam Braverman, URP student and former President of the Student Planning Association (SPA)

Students gather with SPA at Cypress and Grove.

SPA hosts a bowling night on campus.

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