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In Remembrance: Debra Mitchell, FASLA

We were shocked and saddened at the passing of Debra Mitchell, FASLA on April 5. Deb had a distinguished 40-year professsional career, the last 26 years of which was spent at SmithGroupJJR where she served as a Senior Vice President and national design leader. Deb contributed so much to the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) in so many ways for a long, long time. She served on the LAF Board of Directors in 1989, 1992, 1997-2007, and 2010-present, with a term as President in 2000–2001.

debmitchellDeb at one of the many LAF Annual Benefits she attended over the years.

Her legacy is clear as she had a deep commitment to research in the profession and helped LAF navigate and grow through several key transition periods. Under Deb’s service and leadership, LAF became an organization separate from the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), successfully completed the Second Century Campaign that raised over $2 million, and developed the following signature programs, which have been very impactful for the landscape architecture profession and LAF’s mission to preserve, improve, and enhance the environment:

  • A Case Study Method for Landscape Architecture
  • Land and Community Design Case Study books
  • Landscape Futures Initiative
  • Olmsted Scholars Program
  • Landscape Performance Series
  • Case Study Initiative (CSI)

“Deb was an incredible person and talent. I say without a doubt that LAF would not be where we are now if not for Deb and her ideas, dedication and commitment. She will be missed very much,” said LAF Executive Director Barbara Deutsch, FASLA.

We will especially miss Deb’s keen wit and her infectious laugh. We caught both on tape during our Practice-Based Research webinar and several of our Landscape Performance videos.

To continue her commitment to advancing the landscape architecture profession through education, research and a sustainable ethos, Deb left a bequest to LAF through the JJR|Roy Fund, which supports LAF’s research initiatives.

deb-jjrroyfundThe JJR/Roy Fund was paramount in launching LAF's Landscape Performance Series.

“I want the JJR/Roy Fund to continue to be such an asset to LAF. LAF is a forward-thinking, big picture organization, and I have been a proud Board Member for many years. I have had the joy of seeing the impact that LAF is making in the profession and am confident in LAF’s ability to grow and thrive as an organization.”

Those wanting to do something in Deb’s memory can contribute to the JJR/Roy Fund (Include “Debra Mitchell” in the “In Honor/Memory of” field) or contribute to her alma mater the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

More about Deb’s life and legacy can be found at: SmithGroupJJR tribute

We're Hiring: Development Manager

mattalcideMatt in action at one of the many outreach events he coordinated during his tenure at LAF.

LAF is seeking an enthusiastic Development Manager to support its growing needs, enhance the organization’s fundraising programs, and cultivate donor relations as the organization approaches its 50-year anniversary in 2016. This full-time position in Washington, DC offers a unique opportunity to grow with the organization, demonstrate leadership skills, and implement a comprehensive development program. For more details, see the full job announcement on our Opportunities page.

LAF’s current Development Manager, Matt Alcide, is moving on to other opportunities. Matt has been with the foundation for over 3.5 years and has overseen 120% growth in LAF’s fundraising during this time. We thank him for his creativity and passion for fundraising (and for the bagels he brings back after trips to visit family on Long Island!). Matt will be Development Director at Inscape Publico, a nonprofit architecture firm in DC. He will also stay connected to the profession and industry in his new role as Managing Partner at Land8, a widely-used social network for landscape architects. We wish Matt all the best!

Welcome 2014-2015 Board of Directors

The 2014-2015 LAF Board of Directors began its term on November 21 at LAF’s Annual Board Meeting in Denver. Mark Dawson, FASLA of Sasaki Associates took the reins as President, succeeding Jacinta McCann, FAILA, FASLA of AECOM, whose international and multi-disciplinary perspective helped LAF to broaden its focus and reach. Kona Gray, ASLA of EDSA became President-Elect.

2014presidentsPresident-Elect Kona Gray, Immediate Past President Jacinta McCann, and President Mark Dawson

Director Jennifer Guthrie became an officer and Laura Solano assumed a new role, with three other officers continuing in their positions on the executive leadership team.

  • Vice President of Finance:
    Jennifer Guthrie, FASLA, Gustafson Guthrie Nichol
  • Vice President of Communication:
    Laura Solano, ASLA, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates
  • Vice President of Education:
    Kristina Hill, PhD, Aff. ASLA, University of Virginia
  • Vice President of Research:
    Forster Ndubisi, PhD, FASLA, Texas A&M University
  • Vice President of Leadership:
    Lucinda Sanders, FASLA, OLIN

Bill Main, Hon. ASLA of Landscape Forms retired off the Board after six years of service, including a term as President in 2012-2013 and a year as Vice President of Communications. Nate Cormier of SvR Design Company left the Board after four years, two of which he was Vice President of Communications.

Director and Past President Chip Crawford, FASLA of Forum Studio left the Board after ten years of extended service, but will transition to head the LAF Board Emeritus group. Ginger Murphy, ASLA of the United States Department of Agriculture finished her four-year term as a Director. David Malda of Gustafson Guthrie Nichol rotated off after serving a two-year term as past Olmsted Scholar representative, and Thomas Tavella, FASLA rotated off after serving for a year in an Ex Officio capacity as an ASLA Representative.

Seven new Directors joined the LAF Board, bringing experience and insights from landscape architecture practice, the development sector, industry, and academia. Kate Tooke, LAF’s 2011 National Olmsted Scholar, was selected for the open Director position for past Olmsted Scholars. ASLA Immediate Past President Mark Focht, FASLA will serve as the ASLA Representative. Welcome to the new Board members:

  • Gayle Berens, Urban Land Institute
  • Susannah Drake, ASLA, AIA, dlandstudio
  • Mark Focht, FASLA, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation
  • Richard Heriford, Landscape Forms
  • Peg Staeheli, FASLA, SvR Design Company
  • Kate Tooke, ASLA, Sasaki Associates
  • Richard Weller, University of Pennsylvania

The vision, passion, and thought leadership of this group was evident in the three days of lively meetings and events held in Denver. We look forward to their active participation to help LAF increase impact and prepare for the foundation’s 50th anniversary in 2016. Thank you for your service!

2014boardLAF Board members — current, outgoing, Emeritus, and maybe a few others — at the LAF Annual Benefit

In Remembrance: Joseph J. Lalli, FASLA

We were deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Joe Lalli on October 25, 2014. Joe was a great friend and supporter of the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) and was a key force in building the organization and developing what have come to be signature programs for us.

joelalliImage courtesy of EDSA

Joe served on the LAF Board of Directors from 2004-2009. During that time, he was Vice President of Development for 4 years, creating the annual Sustainable Destination Sweepstakes and raising over $145,000 for LAF with an EDSA match to its employees to build the EDSA Minority Scholarship. Through his Board service and ongoing leadership with EDSA as a Founding Sponsor, Joe helped to develop and enhance LAF’s renowned Olmsted Scholars Program.

“Joe is a very special person who has touched my life and LAF in a very meaningful and extraordinary way. He had such a giving and gentle but powerful way about him and a sensitivity that manifests in his work and the EDSA culture. Joe led and sustained a culture of philanthropy and giving back that is the heart and soul of EDSA. LAF wouldn’t be who we are or have accomplished what we have for the betterment of all without him,” said LAF Executive Director Barbara Deutsch, FASLA.

More about Joe’s life and legacy can be found at:

New LAF Program Manager

arianna-katharinePassing the Program Manager torch: Arianna and Katharine

Katharine Burgess, AICP, is entering her final week as Program Manager with LAF. Katharine has received a prestigious Bosch Fellowship and will soon depart for Berlin, Germany. She is one of just 15 young professionals selected to participate in this distinguished transatlantic initiative, which recently recognized built environment policy as an area of interest. Bosch Fellows are placed as consultants at leading public or private institutions in Germany and participate in professional seminars, where they meet and exchange ideas with key figures across Germany and Europe. We’re excited for Katharine and this opportunity and hope that she will continue to promote high-performance landscapes wherever this next stage of her career takes her. Viel Glück!

We are pleased to announce that Arianna Koudounas has joined LAF to take the Program Manager reins. Arianna comes to us from Partners for Livable Communities and brings five years of experience in program development and management, stakeholder facilitation, technical writing, fundraising, and outreach. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and Philosophy and is currently pursuing a professional Masters of Science in Urban and Regional Planning at Georgetown University. Welcome, Arianna!