Alumni memoirs

After reading the recent LandTEXTURE newsletter, I felt compelled to write and tell you about my experience at MSU and life in the 1950s.

After reading the recent LandTEXTURE newsletter, I felt compelled to write and tell you about my experience at MSU and life in the 1950s.

I started college in 1953 and finally graduated in March 1960, after being in and out of school due to a back injury playing baseball, mumps one term, marriage with two children, and working almost fulltime. I received my BS in Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, attending classes in the old Quonset hut south of the Red Cedar River. Next door was the Art Studio Quonset. Other than the old Forestry Cabin, that was all there was south of the river.

I worked several hours a week, nights and any available time during the day, in the Student Union Building as a janitor starting at 75 cents an hour. I worked there for 12 terms until graduating. I also worked with Robert O’Boyle, a classmate, for the last two years in college at Jane Smith & Associates in Lansing.

I remember my professors Carl Gerlach, Dean Glick, Donald Caven, Myles Boylan, Charles Barr, Milt Baron, Charles Lewis and Harold Lauhtner. The LA program bounced around in different departments, including Social Science, Engineering, Business and Agriculture. Upon my graduation, it was in Business and Public Service.

One of my fondest memories was in Dean Glick’s class, when we had an all-nighter and I was rendering my almost-completed design on a heavy rag paper at 3:00 a.m. when I spilled a cup of coffee on it. I quickly took a rag and spread the coffee all over the rendering, giving it a tan color. It dried and looked good enough to turn in the next morning. Dean gave me an A and everyone in class wanted to know how I had made such a beautiful rendering. I just said it was a special idea that came to me.

We carried our drafting tools around in a metal tool box that included our triangles, French curves, rapidiograph pens, chalk, etc. Our T Square was carried under our arm. My drafting table at my living quarters was a smooth, plain door that sat on two saw horses.

After graduation, I was hired by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, State Park Division. After coming up with a new method of master planning, I was soon promoted to Design Section Chief. Spending only about three years in the State Park Division, I was quickly promoted over several layers of management to the Executive Office of the whole agency. I became Deputy Director of the DNR and spent 17 of my 23 years in that capacity. My responsibility included managing 4,000 employees and a budget of $165 million.

I took an early retirement from the DNR in 1982 and started a business called Made in Michigan Gift Shoppes, Inc. with my wife. We are located in Petoskey where we still live.

I have had a long and great career and even though I only practiced LA for a few years, I kept my registration for over 25 years. MSU and the field of landscape architecture gave me the background to accomplish all that my attached resumes show. I will be 78 years old this fall and only feel tired when looking back on all the things that happened in my life.

Thank you for letting me share these memories with you.

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