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Olmsted Scholar Events in Chicago

On Nov 5-6, LAF held a series of events in Chicago to honor the 2015 Olmsted Scholars, landscape architecture students who were nominated by their faculty for demonstrating exceptional leadership potential. Thirty-four of this year’s 72 Olmsted Scholars traveled from across the U.S. and Canada to participate.


The Olmsted Scholars Luncheon gave the scholars the opportunity to meet each other, the LAF Board of Directors, staff, and program sponsors. Short presentations from the two National Olmsted Scholars showcased the incredible people and projects that the program supports. Maria Muñoz, winner of the $15,000 undergraduate prize, presented an overview of her research on Puerto Rico’s network of local vendors, their sources of home-grown agricultural products, and how this network may offer a more environmentally sustainable and resilient type of agricultural system. Grant Fahlgren, winner of the $25,000 graduate prize, discussed traditional ecological knowledge and how it applies to landscape architecture, using the Fraser River watershed in the Cascadia Bioregion as an example.

maria-markNational Olmsted Scholar Maria Muñoz with outgoing LAF President Mark Dawson

Following the luncheon, the scholars participated in a facilitated Leadership Conversation with members of the LAF Board and Board Emeriti, discussing how to continue to pursue their passions, stay accountable, and keep motivated as they transition from school to the workforce. They also shared their thoughts on how to enhance the Olmsted Scholars Program and the community of scholars, who now number 391 as the program enters its ninth year.

The events culminated with the LAF Annual Benefit at Chicago’s Adler Planetarium. The sold-out crowd of over 500 guests honored the 2015 Olmsted Scholars during a special certificate ceremony. “What an honor and treat it was to meet this impressive group,” said outgoing LAF Board President Mark Dawson, FASLA. “The future of our profession is in good hands.”

Thank you to the generous Olmsted Scholars Program sponsors whose support makes the financial awards and events like these possible. Photos from the Annual Benefit and other Olmsted Scholar events can be found on LAF’s Flickr Photostream.

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