Landscape Architecture 50th Anniversary Celebration

Alumni and friends with Students and Faculty of the University of Minnesota College of Design

Alumni Memories and News

The notes below were shared by landscape architecture grads who completed the alumni survey. If you want to add your notes, complete the survey here.

1969

James Robin
BA 1969, BLA 1970
Landscape Architect, Cuningham Group (profile) Scandia, MN
Entrepreneurship:

James Robin, Landscape Architect 1972–2015




1970–1979

Bruce Johnson

BLA 1970 University of Minnesota
MLA 1971 University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana
Portland, OR

Entrepreneurship:

Bruce Johnson Design (BJD)—I established this planning and design firm in the 1980s and provided specialized services in the areas of urban design, light rail transit community planning, coastal resort development, natural resource analysis and environmental assessment as well as residential, commercial and institutional site planning and landscape design.

Favorite memory of your time at school:

Spending time with Herb Baldwin roaming about his property.

Most memorable student project:

There was a huge emphasis on being able to present your design ideas graphically. There was also the notion that one should strive to explore alternative concepts as one's design project evolved, and that no matter how long one had spent on a concept, should a better concept arise the night before the project was due, it was better to try develop an A concept than settle for a B project. I don't really consider any of my projects that memorable. But I do remember that my thesis project was published by Northern States Power, then the local Twin Cities power company. The project involved integrating recreational uses with a nuclear power plant that had been proposed along the Minnesota River. Fortunately the power plant was never built, and the site became a national wildlife refuge. What was important was the fact we were exposed to Ian McHarg's philosophy of environmental analysis and design. The analytical processes that formed this new approach to site and regional design have guided much of the work I undertook during my planning and design career.

Most memorable or influential people while at school:

My teachers—Roger Martin, Herb Baldwin and Jerry Fuhrman. Roger created a solid program but he left lots of flexibility in it for us to experiment. Herb because he had the ability to provoke a response from you and challenge your design ideas. Jerry convinced me to apply for a fellowship program at the University of Illinois where I got my MLA. But most of all, Chuck/Chas Wood. I worked in his office pretty much all the way through school to pay my bills. But he taught me how to be a professional designer on the boards. And for me there was another intangible factor; it was the ambiance and an attitude that pervaded the school setting itself. In 1966, the LA program was a new, uncertified program that Ralph Rapson had encouraged and embraced. Less than a handful of students myself included started the program. There were no senior students to emulate, but we shared studio space with the architectural students and over time learned about collaboration.

Share your best work:
  • Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, Bandon, Oregon, 1991-2011
  • McKee Memorial Labyrinth, Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, 2008
  • Vietnam War Memorial Garden, Vancouver VA Center, Vancouver, WA, 2002
  • Yarra Valley Metropolitan Park Study, Melbourne, Australia, 1977-1978
  • Sports Compound for the Saudi Arabian Youth Welfare Organization, 1975
  • Mt. Hood Environmental Freeway Study, 1971-1974
  • In 1984, I formed an investment group that purchased an old warehouse in what is now the Pearl District in Portland, Oregon. I was the managing partner for an adaptive reuse project that converted a four-story structure into a mixed-use building including live/work spaces for artists and photographers and office spaces for a graphic design firm and other incubator businesses.
Share your news:

After a 40-year career primarily in the fields of site planning and design, I transitioned to a second career as a writer. In 2014, I published a book titled "Beyond the Dream: Bandon Dunes"--the story of how an acclaimed golf resort that features Scottish links play was realized in a small out-of-the-way coastal town in Southern Oregon. Currently, I am at work on a second book about the history and evolution of the "Pearl District"--an urban mixed-use neighborhood in Portland, Oregon that has become a national case study focusing on the transformation of an old, inner city industrial area that blossomed into a vibrant, diverse residential neighborhood on the doorstep of the city's central business district.

Stephen Johnson

BLA 1974
Burnsville, MN

Favorite memories from your time at school:

Working on the rivers plans, giving graphic expression to ideas and concepts, learning dendrology.

Most memorable student project:

To design an environmental game that I called Pollution Control. To object was to experience clean air, clean land and clean water. To work in a design team.

Most memorable or influential people while at school:

Al Robinette was influential as an example.

Share your Best Work:

I worked on the first designated Wild and Scenic River Plan—for the Kettle River.

Share your news:

I had to stop work in the late seventies because of vision and mobility loss from Multiple Sclerosis. I currently live in Burnsville MN in a group home and would welcome contact with former classmates and colleagues.

John Hellerstedt

BLA 1967-1972
St. Paul, MN

Most memorable or influential people while at school:

Herb Baldwin, Jerry Furhman

Thomas A Thorson

BLA 1975 with distinction Landscape Architect
Chicago, IL

Entrepreneurship:

Kerr-Thorson and Co. Landscape Architects, 1983-1989

Share your best work:
  • N Dept. of Transportation, Environmental Services, 1974-1987
  • I-35W Gateway Triangle Park and Plaza, Downtown Minneapolis
  • Duluth Gateway Plaza, Downtown Duluth, MN
  • Kerr-Thorson and Co., Landscape Architects, 1983-1989
  • Blake Schools Campus Masterplans, Twin Cities, MN
  • Hotel Chequamegan, Landscape Architecture, Ashland, WI
  • SRF Consulting Group, Landscape Architecture, 1989-2009
  • Hiawatha Ave. Streetscape, Bridge Designs, Minneapolis, 1995
  • Red River Downtown Riverfront Park, Main Ave. Bridge Design, Bridge Plaza Design, Fargo, ND & Moorhead, MN, 2004 (pictured in LA50 Facebook photo gallery)
Most memorable or influential people while at school:

Roger Martin, Allan Robinette, Charles Wood

Mark Elison Hoversten

BLA UMN 1976, BFA UMN 1980, University of Minnesota
MA 1982, UNM, MFA 1983, UIA
Dean, University of North Carolina

Most memorable or influential people while at school:

Roger Martin, Jim Robin, Herb Baldwin, Peter Olin

Share your best work:
  • Nevada Department of Transportation, Landscape and Aesthetics Program, Master Plan, and Corridor Plans with Design Workshop
  • The Springs conceptualization, Master Plan, Visitor Plan, research. Las Vegas, Nevada
Christine Anderson

BLA 1978
MBA Carlson School 1984
Minneapolis, MN

Most memorable or influential people while at school:

Herb Baldwin and Jim Robin

Gary Hittle

BLA 1979 reunion year / official degree year 1983
Landscape Architect
Edina, MN

Entrepreneurship:

Studio Hittle LLC—Dwellings & Landscape Architecture, 1984 to present

Steve Rankin

BLA 1977 University of Minnesota (1972-1977)
M Arch 1985 University of California, Berkeley (1982 – 1985)
Oakland, CA

Entrepreneurship:

Steve Rankin Architecture, 1988-2015
Residential Architecture

Favorite student project:

Design process

Share your news:

Happily retired and looking forward to celebrating the next chapter.




1980–1989

Bonny Hershberger (Johnson)

BLA 1983 reunion year / 1984 graduation year
Vice President, Hershberger Design
Jackson, WY

Entrepreneurship:

Hershberger Design, Inc.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Founded 2001
Site planning and design for projects in the intermountain West.

Most memorable student project:

Most memorable/important: The project where we collaborated with the architecture students. First experience in understanding what collaboration might be like. Important eye-opener since collaboration with allied professionals is one of the core elements of work in our profession. Also it was an important opportunity to educate the architects about the role/value of landscape architects. An invaluable experience for all students. Hopefully the engineers have also been added to this exercise for an even more accurate collaborative experience!

Most memorable or influential people while at school:

A woman professor in design studio around '81-'82 (I can't believe I don't remember her name!!) provided an "a-ha" moment during a desk crit that completely liberated my design thinking. Nothing was ever the same from then on (in a very good way!). Thank you, professor!!!

Share your best work:

Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserv—1st LEED Platinum project in Wyoming. ASLA Honor Award 2014.

Scott Holmgren

BLA 1985 University of Minnesota
MS 2004 Urban Design, University of Michigan, AA 1979, Normandale College
Founding Principal - Planner - Designer in Residence, ILD Associates
Lansing, MI

Entrepreneurship:

I presently am a planning and design principal of firm I founded in 1986 (ILD Associates). For lots of details - please see my web site: www.innovativelanddesign.com

Favorite memory of your time at school:

Faces of grads - recent activity and instructors (profs) of yrs ago - North Hall used and demolished

Most memorable or influential people while at school:

Peter Olin, Roger Martin, Van Cline, Robert Sykes, Gus Hard, Lance Lavine. Roger Clemence, Herb Balwin, Bob Mullin, Scott Bradley, Jon Tietz, Duncan Mallack, Peggy Sands, Joan Nassuauer

Favorite student projects:

Hamberg Fire Dept Building and Augsburg Park (Mpls, MN) as a student and Red Wing Riverfront and Minnesota River Corridor as a new professional.

Share your news:

Moved to Michigan – 1990
Married to Theresa – 1993
Moved to Lansing from Detroit area – 2001
Process of relocating back to Minnesota – Current

Catherine Cagle

BLA 1985 University of Minnesota
MBA 2001 Simmons College
Planning Director, City of Waltham Waltham, MA

Tom Beach

BLA 1983
Saint Paul, MN

Share your news:

Retired in April 2016 after 30 years with City of St Paul. (City Planner)

Augustine Wong

BED & BLA 1988 (reunion year - 1987)
MUP/Urban Design, 1996 University of Washington
Principal, CMW Design Strategies Tega Cay, SC

Entrepreneurship:

Firm: CMW Design Strategies
Focus: Landscape Architecture, Urban Design, Land Planning
Founded: 2010
Location: Charlotte, North Carolina

Favorite memory of your time at school:

Organizing the first winter snow sled design for the program and testing the groups sled at Como Park. lots of fun.

Favorite student project:

2nd year LA studio (Fall): Students got "terrible" crits from the jury which made few students in tears (including me) and 2 students took their tools, etc. never to be seen again in the LA Program. what I learned while in the LA Program was Perseverance which became the foundation in the early days of my professional career.

Most memorable or influential people while at school:

Prof. Lance Neckar: helped develop my interest in sustainable landscape urbanism.

Share your best work:
  • Mamut Copper Mine Resort Master Plan, Malaysia – Rehabilitation and redevelopment of a 5000 hectares former copper mine.
  • Dharmala Mixed-used Development, Indonesia
  • Comox Urban Design Guidelines, BC, Canada
  • Catawba Ridge Development, South Carolina – a 4400-acre lakefront planned development with two championship golf courses, mixed density residential, mixed-use commercial and recreational facilities.
  • Mill Ruins Park Master Plan, Minneapolis, MN
  • Riverview Corridor (Urban Design), St. Paul, MN
  • Minnesota Design Team (several communities)
Share your news:
  • Lived/worked in Singapore; Seattle, WA; Wauwatosa, WI; Twin Cities, MN.
  • Taught at University of Washington, University of Minnesota and University of North Carolina, Charlotte
  • Presented at state and national conferences, and at several universities in Malaysia.
  • Published an article “Turning Points in Stormwater Management” for a Malaysian newspaper.
  • In addition to current practice, working with Malaysian government and private investors to work with biotech companies in the USA on sustainable research/application of tropical plants and marine life.
  • Past President of North Carolina American Society of Landscape Architects



1990–1999

Nils Nelson

1995 BED
1998 MLA
Lean Manufacturing Engineer, Daktronics, Inc. Brookings, SD

Favorite memory of your time at school:

Our studio was in the old church near the dinky dome. It was our home away from home.

Favorite student project:

Capstone Project - "Redevelopment of 7 Corners" This was the neighborhood I worked in throughout college. It was the best work I did in my time at the U.

Most memorable or influential people while at school:

Dave Pitt - Employed me as a Grad Assistant which led to mutual friendship
Lance Neckar - The stories.

Craig Anderson

MLA—1996
Managing Director, Jetland Properties/Promersberger
West Fargo, ND

Paul Landwehr

BLA 1991
Operating Engineer, Park Construction
St. Paul, MN

Favorite memory of your time at school:

Our class "field trip" to southwestern Minnesota to Jackson County to present design ideas to area farmers about reducing polluting runoff.

Favorite student project:

I would have to say that the first year of design was memorable just in that it provided a foundation for the subsequent years...we lost a lot of people that first year due to the stressful atmosphere. It did, however, teach me to utilize my resources; anything can be accomplished if you keep trying.

Most memorable or influential people while at school:

Pat Condon was by far the best educator I met in my time at the U. His sense of humor, candor, and talent made him a pleasure to work with. Also, Lance Neckar, who suggested maybe finding an alternative career path, which I did.




2000–2009

Tyler Zickert
BED 2002
MLA 2004
Founder / Operations, Strata Landscape
Austin, TX

Entrepreneurship:

Strata Landscape - Site preparation, landscape construction, planting, dirt work, water features, concrete, masonry, stone work, structures, steel, lighting and fire features. In business since late 2012.

Favorite memory of your time at school:

Our 'Landscape Analysis' Workshop and class trip up to the Northwoods / Itasca State Park (headwaters of the Mississippi) was a great time and provided a multitude of fond memories.

Favorite student project:

My capstone project was probably the most important work I did. Not that it was particularly amazing, it was pretty pedestrian actually but working through the process and putting in the time (researching, rendering, writing, etc.) help me become a more well rounded student of landscape architecture. Then and now. . .

Most memorable or influential people while at school:

David Pitt. He's a hard worker, was passionate about what he taught and put in more time with students than just about anyone else I can remember.

Share your news:

Strata Landscape is growing in lockstep with the City of Austin and excited to be working in the Lone Star State.

Carrie Christensen (Fathman)

MLA 2008
Owner, WHR
St. Paul, MN

Entrepreneurship:

WHR: an ecological design, planing, and installation firm. We work at the intersection of equity and the environment and bring ecological thinking to natural and community systems.

Favorite memory of your time at school:

The amazing community based research assistantships I had through CURA. I made connections that 10 years later are some of the reasons that I stay in the Twin Cities.

Favorite student projects:

I learned about the importance of balancing visual, written and oral communication. And I learned to recognize, use and teach the creative process.

Most memorable or influential people while at school:

I met my husband,my lifelong partner in work and love!

Share your news:

My husband and I were both grads of the MLA program and founded our business together. We will send along some projects soon.

Craig Wilson

MLA 2006
MURP 2006
Principal, Sustology
1768 Fremont Ave S

Entrepreneurship:

Sustology Sustainability Advisory Firm, 2005-Present

Favorite memory of your time at school:

"Not buying it" Fall 2003
Everything about Europe 2004

Favorite student project:

Most important thing I learned from the program--bits and pieces of trial and error added up to an ability to read and reimagine the world for the better.

Most memorable or influential people while at school:

In addition to many faculty, I really appreciate John Koepke's support over the years. He always went out of his way to support me as a "diverse" student (gay/native).




2010-present

Aaron Kraemer

MLA 2011
Landscape Designer, CBA Landscape Architects LLC
Malden, MA

Sarah Evenson (Ash)

BED 2010
MLA 2012
Landscape Architect, Hoisington Koegler Group, Inc.
Columbia Heights, MN

Favorite memory of your time at school:

Communing with Jens Jensen at the Clearing via a late night group beat box session

Most memorable student project:

Rebecca Krinke's first seminar on Design Inspiration was formative for all of us who took it. Learning to find (and cultivate) inspiration in the world around us is essential to the work that we do.

Share your best work:
  • Nokomis-Hiawatha Regional Park Master Plan (Minneapolis, MN
  • Barn Bluff Regional Park Master Plan (Red Wing, MN)
  • Cross City Regional Trail Master Plan (Duluth, MN)
  • Through master planning, I get to work with others to cultivate a shared vision for beloved places, and provide amenities that add value to our communities.