History of Landscape Architecture at Illinois

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was among the first institutions in the nation to offer an educational program in landscape architecture, with a degree program in place by 1907. Today, the Department of Landscape Architecture sponsors one of the leading graduate-level academic and research programs in the country. It has produced some of the best known practitioners in the U.S. and its students and faculty have gone on to direct programs at over half a dozen other universities. The following is a brief outline of the department's long and distinguished history.

In addition you may wish to view a library listing of Master's theses or departmental and student publications and project papers.

Historical Achievements
Year Landmark Event
1868 A course in Landscape Gardening was first offered at the University of Illinois, and in 1871, a course in Garden Architecture was added.
1896 Joseph Cullen Blair came to the University from Cornell. Though his primary interest was in Horticulture, it was through his interest in LA that professional courses in Landscape Architecture, and later City Planning, were initiated.
1907 The curriculum required for the degree of Landscape Gardening was initiated.
1912 The Division of Landscape Architecture was created under Ralph Rodney Root, and the library was established. The era immediately preceding the first World War was the high point in interest in professional careers for women.
1920's A long tenure faculty developed in the 20's included Mary McAdams, Irving Peterson, Otto Schaffer, Harland Bartholomew, Stanley White, Florence Bell Robinson, and Karl Lohmann.
1929 Illinois was one of the first eight schools selected as qualifying to meet the standards of the American Society of Landscape Architects for accreditation.
1931 The Division of Landscape Architecture was reorganized as a department in the newly formed College of Fine and Applied Arts.
1945 The graduate program in Landscape Architecture was established.
1950 The Ryerson Traveling Fellowship was established.
1951 The first landscape architecture advanced degree was awarded.
1954 The Department was renamed the Department of City Planning and Landscape Architecture. The Bureau of Community Planning (established in 1934) was incorporated into the new departmental structure.
1955 Louis Wetmore was named Head and the Department was organized into two divisions: Landscape Architecture and City Planning.
1958 The last BS in Landscape Operations was awarded.
1965 The Division of Landscape Architecture was given separate departmental status, with William Carnes as Chairman of Landscape Architecture.
1968 The undergraduate degree designation of BFA in LA was changed to BLA.
1970 Department administration was changed to a Headship and Robert Riley became Head.
1971 The graduate program was expanded, and directed toward two areas of emphasis: regional design work, and design-behavior interactions.
1975 An evaluation of the undergraduate curriculum resulted in restructuring and re-sequencing of several courses, maintaining the 4 year/128 credit-hour structure.
1982 Hideo Sasaki, Class of '46, received an Honorary Doctorate from University of Illinois.
1982-84 The Department invested much of its energy and resources in computer-based design education, both at the graduate and undergraduate levels, becoming one of the leading schools in this field in the country.
1983 The first Sasaki Lecture was delivered.
1984 Department received an equipment grant from IBM and developed a plan for integrating computers into design education.
1985 Vincent J. Bellafiore became Head and expanded the program to include significant opportunities for study abroad.
1986 The Imaging Systems Laboratory was developed.
1987 80th anniversary of the department was celebrated with the creation of an annual lecture series and department charrette.

The Ecology Laboratory (later known as the Land Resources Laboratory) was developed.

1989 First Alumni Undergraduate Scholarship of Merit was awarded.
1990 First Kluesing Prize was awarded to a student for achievement in the integration of art and landscape.

Geographic Modeling Systems Laboratory was developed in cooperation with Urban and Regional Planning, Geography and Anthropology.

The first Karl B. Lohmann Lecture was delivered.

1991 The first Alumni Lecture was delivered.
1992 A practitioner endowment fund was initiated under the leadership of Scott Byron and Dick Brickman to provide resources for a practitioner to serve as a visiting instructor.

Deb Mitchell endowed a professorial chair.

1995 The Department moved to Temple Hoyne Buell Hall with the School of Architecture and the Department of Urban & Regional Planning.

Electronic studios were established.

Stu Dawson provided an endowment to support educational activities of the junior class. Room 327 Buell Hall was established as the Dawson Studio.

1997 The first Visiting Practitioner taught in the program. (Fund initiated in 1992.)
1998 Research facilities including the Geographic Modeling Systems Lab, the Land Resources Lab, and the East St. Louis Action Research Project moved to Noble Hall
1999 The Natalie B. Alpert Prize was established.

The Kluesing Fellowship was established.

The Wadsworth Endowment was established.

The Floyd C. Tobrocke Endowment was established.

A jointly administered Ph.D. program in Architecture and Landscape Architecture received final approval.

2000 Gary Kesler was appointed Interim Department Head
2001 First Landscape Architecture Ph.D. students were admitted.

The first SmithGroup/JJR Lecture was delivered.

2002 Dr. James L. Wescoat was appointed Department Head.

The Dan Ryan Prize was established.

The Chalet Nursery Prize was established.

The Bruce Borland Scholarship was established.

2004 The Allerton Landscape Scholars program was established for student interns at Allerton Park.
2005 The George and Dorothy Fiel Fellowship for student travel in the United States was established.

MLA concentrations were organized to include History, Culture, and Heritage Design; Ecological Design; and Community-Based Urban Design.

2006 The undergraduate Business Specialization option and the Wadsworth Business of Landscape Architecture Scholarship were established.

The Landscape Studies Minor was approved.

The Ph.D. concentration in Environment and Technology was established.

The first JJR/Deb Mitchell Lecture was delivered.

2007 The required professional internship was approved.

The first Internship Fair was held in Chicago.

2008 The Cultural Heritage Minor was approved.

Peter Walker was selected to receive an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts Degree from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

The first Ph.D. in Landscape Architecture was granted.

Gary Kesler was appointed Interim Department Head from June through October.

Dr. M. Elen Deming was appointed Head of the Landscape Architecture Department in October.

The Department celebrated its 100th anniversary in Fall 2008.

2012 Nan Goggin was appointed Interim Head of the Landscape Architecture Department in August.
2013 Daniel Schneider was appointed Interim Head of the Landscape Architecture Department in August.