Message from the LAAAB President

Welcome to the first complete newsletter that the 2011 MSU Landscape Architecture Alumni and Advisory Board (LAAAB) has produced.

Photo of Robert Ford and Barbara Faga.
Robert Ford and Barbara Faga share a moment at The Broad Museum.

Welcome to the first complete newsletter that the 2011 MSU Landscape Architecture Alumni and Advisory Board (LAAAB) has produced. The previous newsletter was abbreviated to announce the board’s inception and to give our alumni basic updated information. This version is more in depth, providing our alumni with better insight and a greater understanding of our mission and the academic efforts underway.

I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this publication, especially Steve Troost for his sustained efforts as publisher and Chair of the Communications Committee. Troost has done an excellent job of coordinating, editing and helping package this effort.

I would also like to thank Kent Anderson and Angela Hicks of Hamilton Anderson and Associates for their creative design and layout of this publication and Robert Chipman for his help in formatting and shaping the final format.

Finally, I would like to thank the board members, as well as faculty and administration members who have all contributed their time and energy to make this publication possible by editing, creating articles and providing content; without their effort, this would not be possible.

Another goal for the LAAAB is to enhance the acknowledgement of distinguished alumni by introducing the “Distinguished Speaker Series”. The Distinguished Speaker Series continues a tradition started by the faculty many years ago. Each event in the series starts with a tour of the current exhibit within The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, followed by the distinguished alumni presentation and a reception.

Enrichment funds from the School have made piloting this series possible followed by a generous donation by Chipman to help foster not only this event but also practical “hands on” educational workshops of various types.

The LAAAB’s extensive network has been the primary contributor to the Distinguished Speaker Series. The LAAAB is always looking for future contributors to enhance this marvelous initiative, so please don’t hesitate to contact us with your ideas and suggestions.

The series started in February of 2012 against the glass and steel backdrop of MSU’s new world-renowned Broad Museum, located two buildings east of the Human Ecology Building that houses the Landscape Architecture, Construction Management, Interior Design and Urban & Regional Planning  programs.These events have created wonderful evenings consisting of a mixture of friends, colleagues, and a hallmark commemorating their remarkable achievements.

The LAAAB’s first speaker was William Wenk of Wenk Associates, Denver Colorado. The firm is recognized internationally for integration of natural systems and processes into urban settings. Their philosophy maximizes the benefit from public investment by creating artful landscapes that have meaning and solve basic human needs. His topic was “Designing the Natural City,” and it was met with a very enthusiastic audience despite the dreadful snow storm that evening.

Our second distinguished speaker was Barbara Faga, FASLA. She is celebrating her 30-year career as an urban designer, author and professor, and was recently named a Fellow with AECOM. She was a former principal with EDAW, where she chaired their board of directors. In 2007, Design Intelligence named her one of the top 15 women who are changing the world of architecture.

She received the Distinguished Alumni Award in Landscape Architecture from MSU in 2001, and currently plans to complete a dissertation for a PhD in public policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2013.We can’t express how delightful it was to experience her journey and hear the stories that made it real to students and alumni alike.

In October 24, 2013 , the LAAAB, faculty and students celebrated William Johnson’s career achievements. His topic was “Strategic Design: The Power of Framework Thinking.”

In order to sustain these efforts and the many others that the board has forecast, we need your help. Please consider making a small gift and/or providing us with your talents and expertise. Sustaining funds will allow us to continue our work and support our students by providing mentorship, programs and events.

The volunteers on the board spend a significant amount of time helping to foster these efforts, but as we all know, it takes funds to run them. We look forward to hearing from you in the near future. Please contact us at the School of Planning, Design and Construction at (517) 432-0704 or email


Executive Committee

  • Robert Ford, President.
  • Kenneth Polakowski, Vice President.
  • Donald Fox, Secretary.
  • Lori Mullins, Treasurer.


  • Dr. Scott G. Witter, School Director.

Board Members

  • Kent Anderson.
  • Pamela Blough.
  • John Campbell.
  • Robert Chipman.
  • Deborah Cooper.
  • Stephanie Crockatt.
  • Barbara Faga.
  • William Main.
  • Karen Russcher.
  • David Tobar.
  • Stephen Troost.
  • Kenneth Weikal.

Faculty Members

  • Jon Burley.
  • Pat Crawford.
  • Trisha Machemer.
  • Paul Nieratko.
  • Warren Rauhe.
  • Karen Russcher.
  • Joanne Westphal.

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