2020 ASLA Honors Recipients

2020 Honor Recipients


Today, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) announces the 2020 Honors recipients. Selected by ASLA’s Board of Trustees, the honors represent the highest recognition ASLA bestows each year.

In addition, ASLA is proud to announce the induction of eight (8) honorary members. Honorary membership is among the greatest honors for non-landscape architecture professionals in recognition of notable service to the profession. Since its inception in 1899, ASLA has inducted only 237 honorary members.


The ASLA Medal


Anne Whiston Spirn, FASLA

 "Climate change and the gross disparities in economic means and access to education and employment across the world are threatening the human species. They’re equally threatening, and social upheavals can only get worse as disparities in income and opportunities continue to get wider. […]

For the past 30 years, since I wrote The Granite Garden, I’ve focused on restoring the natural environment of cities at the same time as rebuilding inner-city communities and educating and empowering young people who don’t have access to a high-quality education that will set them up for having a stake in society. Those are areas where I’ll continue to devote my efforts."

- Anne Whiston Spirn, FASLA

Anne Whiston Spirn is the Cecil and Ida Green Distinguished Professor of Landscape Architecture and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The American Planning Association named her first book, The Granite Garden: Urban Nature and Human Design (1984), as one of the 100 most important books of the 20th century and credited it with launching the ecological urbanism movement. Her other books include The Language of Landscape (1998), Daring to Look (2008), and The Eye is a Door (2014).

Since 1987, she has directed the West Philadelphia Landscape Project, an action research program whose goal is to restore nature and rebuild community through strategic design, planning, and education programs ( Spirn is the recipient of Japan’s 2001 International Cosmos Prize for “contributions to the harmonious coexistence of nature and mankind,” IFLA’s Geoffrey Jellicoe Award, and the 2018 National Design Award for “Design Mind.” Her homepage is a gateway to her work and activities:

View nominating and supporting materials.


The ASLA Design Medal


Martha Schwartz, FASLA

Martha Schwartz is a landscape architect and artist with major interests in cities, communities, and the urban landscape. As senior partner of Martha Schwartz Partners, she has over 40 years of experience as a landscape architect, urbanist, and artist on a wide variety of projects located around the world with a variety of world-renowned architects. She is the recipient of numerous awards and prizes including the Honorary Royal Designer for Industry Award from the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts; the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award; the Women in Design Award for Excellence from the Boston Society of Architects; a fellowship from the Urban Design Institute; an Honorary Fellowship from the Royal Institute of British Architects; Council of Fellows Award by the American Society of Landscape Architects and most recently a Doctor Honoris Causa from the Boston Architectural College.

Martha is a tenured Professor in Practice of Landscape Architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, advancing design for Climate Change Mitigation, a founding member of the Working Group of Sustainable Cities at Harvard University and an active member of the Landscape Architecture Foundation Climate Change Task Force. She has lectured nationally and internationally about sustainable cities and the urban landscape, and her work has been featured widely in publications and gallery exhibitions.

View nominating and supporting materials.


Community Service Award - Individual


Glen Dake, FASLA

Glen Dake is a landscape architect at DakeLuna Consultants and a leader in building Southern California community-designed landscapes. His design work includes the Keck Ocean Atmosphere Science Center at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, several stormwater collection facilities in the San Fernando Valley parks, and a commemoration for the historic Sleepy Lagoon. He helped to found the LA Community Garden Council in 1998, and he led a team to acquire land for and build a series of community gardens in Echo Park, East Hollywood, East LA, Vermont Square, and Watts.

Between 2001 and 2005, Glen served on then-Los Angeles Council Member Eric Garcetti’s staff, where he led efforts on the City of LA’s Proposition O, the Renewable Portfolio Standard, the development of thirteen new parks. He completed a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture 1987 from Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. He serves on the boards of the California League of Conservation Voters, the Miguel Contreras Foundation and the LA Community Garden Council. Between 2014 and 2019, he served on the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and chaired the Finance and Insurance Committee.

View nominating and supporting materials.


The LaGasse Medal - Landscape Architect Professional


Dan Wenk

Dan Wenk has proven himself a fearless champion for the wise management and conservation of our nation’s public landscapes. During his over 40 year career with the National Park Service (NPS) Dan's personal and professional commitment to the ''proper management of the nation 's public lands and the judicious use of the [country’s] natural (and cultural) resources," combined expertly with his deep understanding of the breadth and depth of landscape architecture, comprised the basis for all of his work. Dan completed his landscape architecture degree at Michigan State University. Soon after graduation, Dan joined NPS as a landscape architect and successfully developed innovative solutions to some of the most challenging tasks at hand for the NPS.

Dan served as superintendent of Mount Rushmore National Memorial, where he oversaw natural and cultural resource management programs to ensure the long-term preservation of the sculpture and the natural area of the surrounding forest. He later served as director of the NPS Denver Service Center, where he managed more than half a billion dollars in active construction projects. He was later appointed superintendent of Yellowstone National Park. Dan’s extensive portfolio of work has earned him numerous national awards, including the Department of the Interior Secretary’s Executive leadership Award and the Meritorious Service Award.



The LaGasse Medal - Non-Landscape Architect Professional


Tom O'Rourke

Educating professionals in the Parks and Recreation field has always been a significant part of Tom’s work. Tom previously served as the Executive Director of The Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission from 2001-2019, leading the agency through the largest capital project, budget, and attendance growth in the agency’s history. During Tom’s tenure at CCPRC, the agency grew from 5,000 acres of parkland to over 12,000 acres of protected parkland. CCPRC has been nationally recognized for operating an ever-expanding park system with little reliance on tax subsidies for growth.

Tom O’Rourke is currently an educator, a parks and recreation consultant, a city council member, a high school track and field coach, and a speaker. As a consultant, Tom’s expertise lies in operational, programmatic, and financial planning for park and recreation agencies and nonprofits. Tom is in his fifth year as a Professor of Practice in the PRTM Department at Clemson University. His responsibilities include teaching at the graduate and undergraduate levels and working with other faculty to assist communities, agencies, and practitioners in various capacities. He was elected Council Member for the Town of Mt. Pleasant in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina.

View nominating and supporting materials.


The Jot D. Carpenter Teaching Medal


Stephanie Rolley, FASLA

Visualizing possibilities, in communities and organizations, shapes Stephanie Rolley’s contributions to landscape architecture. She works across scales and boundaries to connect people and ideas, shaping places and possibilities. Earning a BLA from Kansas State and MCP from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she practiced professionally before dedicating her career to teaching. As head of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional & Community Planning at Kansas State University, she is leading the implementation of the first accredited non-baccalaureate MLA degree.

Named a Most Admired Educators by DesignIntelligence in three consecutive years, Stephanie is committed to improving planning and design education through service and leadership. She served as President of the Landscape Architecture Foundation and led the ASLA Council on Education and Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board. A Fellow of ASLA and the Council of Educators of Landscape Architecture (CELA), Stephanie has been honored with university and CELA awards for her academic leadership and received the national ASLA Outstanding Service Award.

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The Landscape Architecture Firm Award


James Corner Field Operations

Founded in 1999, James Corner Field Operations is a leading-edge landscape architecture and urban design practice based in New York City, with offices in San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Shenzhen. Field Operations is renowned for strong contemporary design across a variety of project types and scales, from large urban districts, master plans and complex planning sites, to small well-crafted, detailed design projects. Regardless of scale, there is a special commitment to the design of a vibrant and dynamic public realm, informed by the ecology of both people and nature, rooted in place and context.

Project types range from entire sectors of cities to urban development districts, institutional campuses, urban waterfronts, large public parks, urban squares, public places, roof terraces, and small intimate gardens. This range of project types exemplifies our capacity to think creatively in terms of ecology, economics, development and programming, and experientially in terms of physical design, spatial experience, and the poetics of place. Field Operations’ work has been recognized by both peer groups and those outside the field of landscape architecture. The firm’s work has also been published and exhibited internationally.

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The Medal of Excellence


Paul Busse

After graduating from The Ohio State University in 1972 with a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture, Paul G. Busse formed his own company specializing in creative outdoor living spaces. By 1984, he officially added garden railroads to his company’s repertoire, and in 1991 he formed Applied Imagination. A synthesis of Paul’s artistic abilities, this new company combined his life-long passion for model trains, landscaping, and distinctive use of plant material to develop the unique concept of “botanical architecture.”

Paul’s vision has helped transform institutions across the United States, significantly boosting attendance and appreciation for the natural world with each installation. From Paul: "I think I’ve always loved the challenge. I’ve been asked which is my favorite job, my answer is always ‘the next one.’ I’m so blessed that I’ve found a job where the bottom line is to make people happy. I’m selling happy art. It can’t be better than that."

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The Olmsted Medal


The Garden Conservancy

The Garden Conservancy's mission is to preserve, share, and celebrate America's gardens and diverse gardening traditions for the education and inspiration of the public. It champions the vital role gardens play in American history, culture, and quality of life. The Conservancy partners with gardeners, community organizations, horticulturists and garden professionals, designers, and historians across America to preserve outstanding gardens. The organization works with both emerging public gardens as well as with longstanding icons, including many National Historic Landmarks and sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Since 1995, the Conservancy's signature Open Days program has allowed more than a million visitors to experience the bounteous peace and beauty of some 3,000 private gardens across the country. The organization's garden-study tours and public education programs offer further opportunities for people to explore and be inspired by unusual and exciting design ideas, horticultural skills, cultural insights, and environmental issues. 

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Emerging Professional Medal


Diana Fernandez Bibeau, ASLA

Diana is a proven thinker, collaborator, and leader who teams effortlessly with architects, planners, urban designers, ecologists, and civil engineers to design equitable and sustainable places. Her experience spans a broad range of projects, from planning to built work. She provides critical thought and design leadership for our landscape and planning practice in the Urban Studio. She brings to each project - as well as myriad corporate initiatives - strong critical thinking, a willingness to engage in thoughtful debate, and a commitment to quality. She leads and champions better equity and inclusion in our planning and built design practices from a landscape perspective.

Prior to joining Sasaki, Diana worked as a landscape architect and project designer in Philadelphia, where she worked on urban and campus projects in the metro area. She writes and lectures in the discourses of landscape architecture, urban design, and equity.

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Honorary Membership


Vida Germano

Vida Germano is committed to preserving our shared heritage through the stewardship of cultural landscapes. Currently serving as manager of the National Park Service's Regional Cultural Landscape Program encompassing the West Coast and the Pacific Islands, Vida works with interdisciplinary teams to shape dynamic cultural landscape projects. 

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Nancy Goldenberg

Throughout her decades-long career, Nancy Goldenberg has worked tirelessly in support of parks and historic public spaces, transforming them from desolation to rejuvenation. She now serves as President & CEO of Laurel Hill Cemetery and West Laurel Hill Cemetery & West Laurel Hill Funeral Home, bringing her depth of leadership experience in support of community improvement, horticulture, and urban parks to bear.  

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Briana Hensold

Brie Hensold is an urban planner, co-founder and principal of Agency Landscape + Planning, and design critic in the Department of Urban Planning and Design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Her projects are informed by deep engagement and the belief that planning and design are tools for the community to shape their future. 

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Zachary Chrisco

As Sasaki’s lead Civil Engineer, Zach works with built design leaders and interdisciplinary teams to execute, strengthen, and innovate resilient engineering solutions. Zach continues to refine a vision for further cultivating Sasaki’s civil engineering practice, encouraging a collaborative built work practice, and better integrating resilience and ecology into the firm’s work.

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U.S. Senator Chris Murphy

As the junior U.S. Senator from Connecticut, Sen. Chris Murphy has been tireless in advancing legislation to protect Connecticut's natural resources and improve public access to recreational landscapes. Key legislation he’s ushered through the U.S. Senate includes the Living Shorelines Act, permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water conservation Fund (LWCF), and extending funding for the Highlands Conservation Act.

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Judith Nitsch

Judy is a leading civic voice in Boston and beyond; a national champion of allied design professions; mentor to several generations of younger design firm leaders, especially rising women leaders; a tireless supporter of students, and educational access and excellence. She has been an extraordinary collaborator, practice leader, and technical civil engineering expert, especially in issues of stormwater design, resilience, and environmental concerns for an enormous array of projects for the past forty years.

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Anne Hawley

As Director of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum for 26 years, Anne expanded on Mrs. Gardner’s objective to join art, gardens, and landscape into a single museum experience. She is an effective and inspiring advocate for landscape architects and landscape architecture who has immeasurably enhanced the visibility and accessibility of the field for countless numbers of Museum visitors, civic leaders, patrons, and supporters. 

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State Representative Kirkman Finlay, III (SC)

Throughout his service in the South Carolina House of Representatives, State Rep. Kirkman Finlay III has been paramount in resolving misconceptions about landscape architecture and advocating for the acknowledgment of state licensure to regulatory agencies such as the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT). His dedication ultimately resulted in the issued memo of clarification by SCDOT, acknowledging and accepting the qualifications of landscape architects. 

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