Craig Johnson ('64): 2015 MSU Landscape Architecture Distinguished Alumni Award

Craig Johnson graduated with a degree in landscape architecture from Michigan State University in 1964. Few landscape architects have been as honored as Craig.

Photo of Craig Johnson,

Craig graduated with a degree in landscape architecture from Michigan State University in 1964. In 1966, he earned a master’s degree in LA from the University of Illinois with a specialized focus on surface mine reclamation. He began his career in education at Utah State University that same year, and went on to obtain a master’s degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology in 1984 from South Dakota State University.

Few landscape architects have been as honored as Craig Johnson. He has achieved an incredible list of accomplishments and awards over his 42 years in the landscape architecture program at Utah State. Among them are 17 teaching awards, including the ASLA’s highest, The Jot P. Carpenter Teaching Medal. Utah State’s International Professor of the Year, USU College of Humanities Teacher of the Year, and many departmental Teacher of the Year awards were also bestowed on him over the years.

As a researcher, Craig focused on environmental planning and reclamation. He wrote numerous publications on the subject, and he received the Wildlife Society’s Outstanding Book Award for “Conservation Corridor Planting at the Landscape Level: Managing for Wildlife Habitat.”

Not satisfied just talking about or researching his subject areas, Craig has been committed to applying his knowledge. As an active practitioner in areas of environmental planning, land reclamation, and ecological studies, his numerous plans, designs, and reports received high recognition. He has more than 10 national and local planning and design awards; here again, his commitment and accomplishments were exceptional.

A frequent comment from his students and colleagues was that they had “never met another person as effective as a professor in blending his teaching, research, and practice activities.”

Today, Craig and his wife Judy have retired to the lakes area of northwestern Minnesota, enjoying their passion for the outdoors.

Craig's Philosophy

Craig’s philosophy is: “It is best to teach by example. Stay current, get out in the field, and work the profession. Bring back ideas to the classroom. Successful teaching is a combination of applied research, staying current, using solid people skills, and being passionate about your subject.”

Many students and associates would add an item to his philosophy: He was humble. Except when he was talking about fishing!

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